Saturday, September 25, 2004

Flight of the Crazytigerrabbitman (Part I)

Airports, and airline travel in general, are as about as natural to our basic human behavior as Diane Fossey being mounted by a giant Silverback Mountain Gorilla. And just guess who’s getting the short end of that stick?

Buffalo Niagara Airport; Gate 21 ~ Buffalo, NY


I survived the dreaded airport security with only little incident. Apparently, my steel toe shoes may be the new preferred weapons of choice used by the world’s top leading terrorists *, and I had to put them through for inspection separately. Pausing only briefly to wave that metal detector wand over my crotch and having it go off like a droid having an orgasm (which in hindsight, was the most flattering thing to happen to me in 6 whole months, even if it did make me feel momentarily like a marked threat to society), my carry-on bag and shoes were returned to me. Shit, I’d sure hate to be the low-man on the airport security guard’s Union roster that inevitably had to search the insides of my funky shoes. No doubt he had to use a gas mask to do so. Why would I even attempt to smuggle drugs when all I have to do is take a quick whiff of my insoles and achieve a buzz that would have any street junkie immediately checking into the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment. “Hey, don’t bogart that shoe, dood.”


I think that there is some sort of International Law of Travel that governs that at least ¾ of all passengers, travelers, and occupants of any reputable airport must be Oriental or Asian in decent. If any self-respecting International airport should fail to meet these established requirements then I suspect that they are subject to be shutdown immediately. You’d think I was in downtown Hong Kong instead of the lobby at Gate 21 of the Buffalo Niagara Airport. I suddenly crave Dim Sum and Bubble Tea. By the time we board and Flight 1125 takes off, I expect I will be fluent in about a dozen Eastern languages. “Ticket and boarding pass please? Ay! Yoo gimme-a yo tickee!”

Also, I think that I am the only one here that is not wearing some sort of metallic-lined, translucent, designer space-age sporting travel wear. They look so streamlined that I swear I could throw any one of these chinks out the Terminal window and they would glide all the way to Detroit on their own.


Now that I closely look at my day’s flight itinerary, I am realizing that you need to have a Masters PhD in Quantum Physics and specializing in Chaos Theory in order to completely understand it. If I am deciphering it correctly, the flight from Buffalo to Detroit will last only 1 hour and 15 minutes. Just enough time to find your seat and get comfortable before it will be time to deplane again **. Basically, if you were to launch a fart immediately after take off, by the time the ominous stench were to reach the cockpit and threaten to overcome the controlled consciousnesses of the pilots, we would be landing again (much to the relief of the other passengers I’m sure). I wonder if for such a short flight, whether there will even be any seats and we’ll all stand up and hold onto handrails from the ceiling for support like we were riding on a city bus instead? Certainly there will be no time to serve a meal or show an onboard movie. They will probably just throw out some packets of soup crackers and perform a brief ‘Punch n’ Judy’ show with sock puppets.

The DC-9 airplane itself looks like something that would be manufactured by Fisher Price and I can scarcely believe that this whole lobby will fit on this particular flight. I’m sure all the Oriental people are quite accustomed to traveling in such confined conditions and they could probably make the whole trip to Detroit securely stowed away in the overhead compartment, but for somebody who occupies the kind of spatial girth that I do, it’s like being crammed into a large Tylenol capsule with wings. My ass barely wedges into the seat ***. I’d probably feel more comfortable riding on a lawn dart.

The seats are situated so close together that I will probably become engaged to the lady sitting beside me by the time we land and hour and fifteen minutes later. So I guess we should get better acquainted now.

Me: “So, how do you react to loud noises?”
Her: (smile drops into a suspicious stare) “Why?”
Me: “Because I’ll probably be screaming bloody fucking murder in your ears during take-off.”

Swing and a miss!

(12:49PM ~ Runway)

The stewardess’ pre-flight introduction did little to settle my nerves before take-off as she whipped through the planes safety and emergency procedures over the cabin intercom as if she were trying to get off the phone with a telemarketer. Her companion at the front of cabin was furiously miming out her instructions for our visual benefit but did not reveal any other insights as it instead seemed like she was trying to direct traffic with her hands. I didn’t know whether to toss loose change at her feet and hope for a lap dance, or try to parallel-park into the seat behind me.

Also, what the fuck does “In case your floatation device fails to inflate…” mean anyway? For $300 fucking dollars on a plane seat, I want a mutherfuckin’ guarantee that my floatation device will not only inflate instantly, but will transmit an S.O.S. signal automatically to the nearest Emergency Response Unit in the vicinity…“Avec Haste!”

(1:07PM ~ Somewhere over Upsate New York)

Why is it that people are not allowed to use electronic equipment during flight? Cell phones, Personal Computers, mini-televisions, and other transmitting devices I can understand as I suspect that the captain would not want his communications with the control tower to be interrupted by the opening credits and theme to ‘I Love Lucy’, or Xieng Moo Chow calling her neighbor on her Verizon cell phone to check and see if she remembered to turn off the kitchen faucet. But what about old-fashioned, non-transmitting, battery driven devices like Walkmans or Nintendo Gameboys? Hey, if the control and communication systems on this craft that we’re currently traveling on is so fucking delicate that it could be interfered with by some dude playing Tetris in the rear cabin crapper so easily, then maybe we shouldn’t be on this fucking flying death trap in the first place! “Tower Control, this is Northwest Flight 1125 preparing for landing. Oh my fucking God! There’s a huge trapezoid coming straight at us, and there’s nowhere to slot him into! Mayday! Repeat, MAYDAY!

(1:35PM ~ Somewhere over Lake Ontario, north of Pennsylvania)

On a good note, the packets of ‘Spinzels’ (braided pretzel bits, as opposed to bended pretzels) were delightfully delicious and satisfying. And according to the “Nutritional Facts” on the back of the packet, Spinzels contain only 1 gram of saturated fat. Why would you ever want to know what the nutritional value is of your packet of complimentary snack food? Who is that health conscious?

Stewardess: “Complimentary snack, sir?”
Healthzoid: “Well, that depends. How many milligrams of sodium and cholesterol are in them?”

It is also interesting to note that any further health concerns on Spinzels and Spinzel-related snacks can be answered online at or emailed directly to

Detroit Metro Airport; Arrivals Runway ~ Detroit, MI


Why do people clap upon landing? Are they just so thrilled that they arrived alive in one piece. “Hurray! We live to travel again!” Man, if everyone is this elated after he or she has landed, one can only assume then that they were nervous or doubtful while in the air all along. So why do they always say: “flying is the safest way to travel” and then still be so secretly frightened? Does anybody clap and cheer when you successfully pull off the Interstate in your car? These are inevitably the same people who answer out “…and AFTER!” each time B4 is called out at a Bingo Hall. It’s just an automated reaction to the events around them, like a canary instantly being lulled to sleep when you drape a blanket over the cage.


I am also perplexed about the “Motion Discomfort” bag provided for me in my seat. That’s quite a real fancy and politically correct way to say: “Barfbag”, if you ask me. If I was suddenly struck with “Motion Sickness” and was about to hurl my brains out in a stream of total wickedness, I’m not so sure I would have the understood recognizance to know what the “Motion Discomfort” bag was for exactly, as opposed to say, “In case of yuckiness, Barf HERE! “Motions Discomfort” sounds like something you would suffer from by sitting in these fucking tiny-ass seats!

Detroit Metro Airport; Gate A3


Detroit Metro airport is like the boarding area in the Schwartzenegger blockbuster ‘Total Recall’, complete with indoor monorail between terminals, laser-operated hand towel dispensers in the Men’s room (isn’t that something that I could be doing myself or am I suddenly unfit to determine how much paper towel is required to adequately dry my hands after I finish taking a leak?), and an ominous automated announcement system forever reminding me to not leave my bag unattended, or to “report anybody who may request (me) to carry any foreign objects” to Airport Security Heaven help me if I should ever decide to piggyback one of these Oriental passengers down to Gate A3 instead of riding the monorail like the other passengers! It would be absolute anarchy I’m certain, and I would end up with my very own automatic character profile on the Interpol database.

I will say this about the Detroit Metro Airport; the leather lobby seats at the Terminal Gates are incredibly comfortable. All I need is a whiskey on the rocks and a sexy stewardess to perform lap dances for me and I could spend the rest of my vacation right here! I wonder what my chances are of getting Wilco to perform here in the airport lobby for me are? I can survive on just the $3.49 Peanut-butter and Jelly sandwiches from ‘Hungry Howie’s Pizza’ for the week; no problem. What a great way to spend a layover.

What else is there to do in Detroit until my next flight departs? Maybe I could light a tire fire or start a race riot or something. I wonder what The Four tops are doing right now?

(3:02PM ~ Onboard Flight 697)

It’s fun to pass through the first class passengers when boarding on my way back to the very ass of the plane. Most of them are busy conversing with the air around them on little super-technological, state-of-the-art cellular phones that fit into their very ear canals. They look like something James Bond would use to contact his other Secret Services operatives at MI6 on. “Hello, Moneypenny? Are my reservations at the Dallas Hilton squared away? Good. Also, send my rocket cufflinks to Q-Branch for repair like a good girl, will you please, dear? Cheers.”

What is the point exactly of boarding families with small children and disabled passengers first? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to board the cranky and the irritable first? And THEN let the slow, the sick, and the weak clamor aboard last for whatever space is still available in the cabin. Let those of us who are able-bodied and impatient get to our seats and get comfortable first before letting the insufferably slow on as to not cause any unnecessary crowding or waiting. In the wild, we would be leaving them behind to be picked off by predators anyways. Why should airplanes be any different? The ‘Law of the Jungle’ applies here in the world of domestic charter aviation as well, doesn’t it? Try explaining “Courtesy Boarding” to a herd of caribou roaming the Arctic tundra, or a similar herd of gazelle wandering the African plains. Only the strong will survive and press on with the journey. Its Darwinism in it’s most simplistic of modern forms. “Outta my way, Tiny Tim. I have to get me some more complimentary Spinzels”. I say families and the disabled should only be able to board with us, providing they can keep up and not hold up the show, otherwise they get left behind!

(3:23PM ~ Somewhere over Indiana)

I like the moment after take-off, when the overhead seatbelt lights snap off and everyone takes a collective breathe of relief as they accept that we are not going to suddenly plunge to our deaths in a ball of flames, and begin to settle themselves more comfortably in their seats in preparation for the remainder of the flight. It’s in this moment of easiness that I’d love to shout out: “Look! Osama bin Laden is out on the wing!” After all, there is a small sign labeled “LATCH BIN CLOSED” above my head. Who’s that? Osama’s half brother or something? What a daunting premonition to be greeted at your airplane seat upon boarding.

While we’re on the topic of premonitions, what good are seatbelts on an airplane anyways? Are they really going to do any actual good when our plane slams into the earth at 300 mph from an altitude of 30,000 feet? I wonder how many former plane crash survivors there are out there saying: “Thank God I was wearing my seatbelt. It could have turned out much worse!” Personally, in the event of an airline tragedy, I would like to feel unencumbered so that I can remain free to run up and down the aisles in a panic screaming: “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” like the Harbinger of Death himself. Stewardesses will be chasing me down after the mere slightest bit of turbulence: “Fuck off! Who are you, Elmer the Safety Elephant? Seatbelts aren’t going to save me now!”


Most people on board are reading books about George W. Bush, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, the Iraqi War, Desert Storm, the California Recall, the upcoming election, etc. Just about everybody is working their way through a Bible-thick sized book with such seriously fascinating light reading titles as ‘Unfit for Command’ or ‘Plan of Attack’. Suddenly, I’m feeling a little self-conscious about the copy of ‘Relix’ magazine that I am leafing through. I can just hear the stifled accusations course throughout the cabin: “Oh, look honey! There’s a subversive hippie sitting across from me. I wonder if he’s a mule in our ongoing War on Drugs?”

Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport; Dallas, TX


After landing, it instantly sounds like we’re teleporting into a video arcade as everyone powers up their dormant cellular phones, and the mechanical boops, beeps, bells, whistles, and 70’s sitcom intro’s echo throughout the planes cabin while everyone checks their precious voicemail.


And here is where the first stage of my journey ends. If I manage to survive the next seven days here in the Lone Star State, I’m sure I will be sitting somewhere on this very same tarmac recording my impressions on the Great state of Texas. Either that, or I will be hightailing it across the runway on foot at light-speed trying to elude an organized lynching party from publicly executing me as a Right Wing Liberal Communist.

(To be continued...)

* In fact, recent studies now show that 2 out of 6 leading professional Terrorists actually prefer and recommend steel toe shoes or boots over crocheting hooks.

** In fact, the people in the back of the planes cabin never received their complimentary onboard cocktails due to time constraints. The incident almost sparked off an entire onboard mutiny of the cheap seat passengers

*** They should really issue complimentary packets of Vaseline instead of salted nuts, or at least best utilize space and efficiently by letting me tie around me the two teeny Oriental women sitting in front of me as a seatbelt.


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