Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fuckin' United

In the past month I have flown to New Zealand, to San Antonio, and to Washington DC. I also passed through airports in Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Chicago. I have been in taxis, subways, hotel shuttles and inter-city buses. Shit, I have been seriously busy. Wait a minute, I didn't travel by camel at all! Well, maybe my next trip will be to Egypt or Arizona or wherever it is that camels live.

All my travels went very smoothly. This confused me. I flew Fuckin' United Airlines quite a bit over the last month and -- this is the really bewildering part -- all the planes took off and landed more or less on time. (I am so used to being filled with rage at United that I refer to that airline as Fuckin' United just as a matter of course now.) If an airline known for being chronically late somehow manages to land its planes more or less on time, isn't that a sign that something's gone terribly, terribly wrong?

Another thing that confused me happened as I waited in the security line to fly back from Washington DC. A TSA employee came forward to swab my hand and explained that he was looking for traces of explosives. He asked if I had been around toxic waste at all (??) and when I said I hadn't, he asked if perhaps I had been up on Capitol Hill.

Let's unpack this statement.
  • First of all, was the TSA guy trying to make a joke by comparing Congress (which has many of its facilities on Capitol Hill) to toxic waste? I thought we were not supposed to make jokes in the security lines! DO NOT MAKE JOKES IN SECURITY LINES, dude. You will be duty-bound to arrest yourself, after first patting yourself down in a lecherous manner.
  • Second, TSA officers are federal employees, yes? They are part of the federal government. And Congress controls the nation's purse strings. By likening Congress to toxic waste, this TSA employee was mocking the very organization that controls the funding that supports his own job. It's a little bit like calling your dad a dweeb behind his back but then asking him for your allowance. Bad idea.
Washington, DC was gorgeous. At least it I hear it was. Me, I barely went outside, since I spent almost all my time there at a training. But all that time inside was worth it, because I learned how to make beautiful maps like this one. The heck with cherry blossoms...there are charts to be made!

Being in DC meant I was able to get together with my friend David, who writes a blog at araspberry.blogspot.com, where he has interesting things to say about life and uses words like "verisimilitude." Here's a picture of him holding the beer menu at the bar where we had a drink. Can you see how much of the menu has been crossed off? What's up with that? The menu looks like it's been redacted for national security purposes. If Dick Cheney had a beer menu, this is what it would look like.


I love to travel, but I have been thoroughly discombobulated by all this coming and going. I keep waking up in the middle of the night not knowing where I am. And I still have New Zealand currency in my wallet. I'm looking forward to staying put for the foreseeable future, enjoying a slower pace of life, and catching up with the laundry. And then I'm going to ask my father for my allowance.

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