This is why you read this stuff

Beep Beep Beep.

It’s Monday, let’s go to NJ.
I got out of the house with little fanfare and was on the road before 5:30. I rolled up to RDU and observed that the parking deck was less full than usual. Applying logical thinking, I figured this trip would be easier than last week’s.


5:55 AM:
I got up the escalator and saw that the security queue was about half full. It was going to add 10 minutes to the adventure, but I was OK. I walked past the usually-teeming US Air counter. Delta was also packed. This piqued my interest. Delta’s never crowded like this. I kept walking and saw the mass of humanity that was Continental. Oh boy. Looking at my watch, I figured that even if things went crappily, I’d still have time.

I was wrong. Checking in (and blocking the whole situation) were 4 families. 2 of them white folk, 1 set of Koreans and 1 set of Chinese people. Among all of them; 14 words of English and Zero time spent in airports. They had the whole thing screwed up. One family of 4 had to have 12 bags. I could not understand. The 2 women behind me started arguing about the line and where they should or shouldn’t be. After a few minutes of this, I turned around and showed them my boarding pass.

“Do you have these printed?”
(Looking at me like I’m a alien) No.
OK…it’s easy. When you get to the kiosk, just type in your confirmation number and it does all the rest.
Can we go there (pointing at the large Blue Rug emblazoned with “Elite Access” and the sign that says “Elite Access/First Class Only”)
Not unless you’re in First Class. Are you?

They kept arguing about the big blue rug and why they should or should not be allowed to use it. Finally, one wandered off to seek help.

I finally checked in and headed back to security. The line was moving, so it wasn’t horrible…at first.

I got to the check in and grabbed my 2 gray plastic bins that hold your laptops and shoes and loose items while they go through X-ray. Now, the bins are known to kinda stick together. They stack tightly, so I think a little suction forms that you have to break to separate them. So, when you grab them, you have to give them a few seconds to loosen or else you’ll end up dragging a 4-foot tall stack of bins. I grab my 2 and wait a beat for them to loosen. A hand reaches out from behind me and grabs the bins and starts wrestling them away from me. I spin around and this weird looking dude is there. He barks at me “One or two?” I tell him I need 2 and kinda pull them back, and clutch them close to my body; they’re my bins after all. I kick off my shoes, put them in one bin and put the laptop in the other. While I’m doing this, he keeps like pelvic thrusting against me. It made me feel icky.

I get through the screen and hurry to the gate. As I arrive, half the plane is already boarded. I walk on the plane and start yet another chapter in this adventure.

I had my favorite seat; 14F. This is the one that has no seat in front of it because it’s in an exit row. I sit down and plop my bag at my feet. I grab my magazines and mp3 player and am ready to push it forward to the seat in front of me (In row 11 (there is no 13) (There’s a gap in front of me of about 4 feet))

At this moment a guy sits in 12E (middle seat of the row in front mf me (He’s got no seat to his right). He plops his bag down and slides it under 11F (In front of him and to his right).

“I’m sorry sir; I need to put my bag in there”
(blank stare)
“I’m sorry…but my bag needs to go there (pointing at the space under 11F)
(Blank stare)
(Irritation rising in my voice) “My bag (points)…That seat (making a sliding motion)”
“You mean you need to put it there or you want to put it there?”
“Excuse me?”
“You want to put it there or you need to put it there?”
(Oh yea…it’s go time, my friend)”Well, it is where I am supposed to put my bag”
“Well, you can’t”
“Excuse me?”
“You know…what it is going to take to make you happy”
“Sir, on this the finest of Mondays, whatever makes you happy will make me happy”
“Well with that tone, I’m not letting you put your bag anywhere”

All the while the Mewardess (Male Stewardness) is looking on in mild horror. I just look him dead in the eye and start reading SI. The guy in front of me spends the next 5 minutes muttering to himself.

“You think you can put your bag there. I’m in an exit row; I can put my bag wherever I want. I’m gonna show you where my bag goes” And so on.

I was fully prepared to be scolded by the flight crew. I had my answer all planned. “His bag is under the seat where mine goes. Please have him move his bag and everything will be fine”

Finally, he gave up the fight and moved his bag.

Now, I love my backpack. It took me years to find it. One of the great things about it is that it has a lot of back padding; it makes it a very sturdy bag. As an added bonus, it slides very well. Since I sit in 14F a lot, I know exactly how hard to kick it to get it to perfectly slide into place under 11F.

He no sooner moved his feet when the bag shot through the open spot on the floor and nestled under the seat. He recoiled in chock at the sight of the bag whizzing by.

Does stuff like that happen to other people or is it only me? I mean, come on. This all was happening at 6:45AM. That’s too damn early for anything.

We took off and all was well. I even dozed a little bit.

We got to EWR and my luggage too forever to come. I got it and caught the monorail to National.

I walked down the aisle, looking for a car with XM. I couldn’t find one. I grabbed the next car I saw and loaded my crap. I sat down, got ready and tried the key. Nothing. The car was dead.

I unpacked and found another car. Same thing.

I got a 3rd car, left the lot and checked out.

No sooner than I pulled out and got up to about 20MPH, the car made a horrible sound. It was like a body was being dragged under it. I gave it a few more yards and determined I had to go back. Hanging an incredibly illegal U-Turn, I went back to return the car.

“Hi…I just rented this car literally 1 minute ago and it’s making a bad sound”
(Blank stare)
The car’s not working right
Did you rent it?
Yes…and I just hung a U-Turn to come back
Did you leave the lot?
Yes…and now I’m back.
We can’t help you. You have to go inside


I unload the car and walk to the desk. Now, it’s a good walk to get back to the office. I go inside and tell my story.

“Well, do you have new keys?”
Why would I have new keys? The guy outside sent me here.
Oh…you need new keys?
As in select a new car?
Yes…did he not tell you that?
Well, I don’t have the keys to the new car with me, do I?


I walked off with my stuff and grabbed the fist car I could find.

I got back to the office in time to wait behind a family from Japan who was trying to rent a car…with a Japanese driver’s license. Having rented them a car, the lady helped me again. I got my paperwork done and went back to my new car…and walked past a line of XM-equipped cars.


I drove up here and today, apparently, was “Follow the Speed Limit Day in NJ”. It was unnerving.

But I’m here and I can’t wait to see what happens to me next.

Again, it’s my life. You get to watch it.

8 thoughts on “This is why you read this stuff

  1. That shit doesn’t happen to me because I’m a 6’2″ 300 lb angry guy with a great sneer. One look and usually I get free stuff and 0 attitude.

  2. Doesn’t happen to me either cause I’m a cute blonde. All I have to do is smile pretty and act dumb and I get away with everything.

  3. FABULOUS. You need to write an etiquette book about business travel. Thanks for the chortle/chuckle/snort — I needed that today. As YOU know!

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