"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Monday, August 15, 2011

Unidentified Flying Anecdotes

Arranged chronologically as they transpired, from the author's perspective, as he traveled from Chicago O'Hare to St Louis.

At a security checkpoint. A wisened TSA agent addresses the crowd as they queue for ID check
"When you get over here, please look for the shortest line and go to it. Don't all go stand in the longest line. People in Soviet Russia used to be forced to stand in line for bread and milk. Well, here in America Madison avenue has trained you to do it for a phone upgrade that you could get in ten days with no line at all!"
And, later,
"I'm sorry about the short lines. I promise it will never happen again."

Arriving at the moment of truth, where the author typically discovers which article of metallic or forbidden material he has forgotten to remove from his person, he, as usual, discovers he lacks the courage to opt-out of the microwave scanner. Plus, scanners are cool. In the long run, the TSA wastes more time on him than if he'd gone straight for the groping, since they go to the trouble of scanning him, asking him for the second time if he's left anything in his pockets, and then groping him anyway.
"So much for the short line," comments the gentleman following the author, but in a friendly manner.

Later, on the plane. The author is reading his book and secretly paying a lot of attention to the off-duty pilot seated next to him. Perhaps a conversation opening will lead to a chance to share the Gospel.
In the back, two attendants are preparing the beverage cart. Another arrives from the front, but addresses the pilot next to the author.
"Can I borrow you for a second?" she asks.
"Sure," he replies.
"Do you know how to fly this plane at all?" she inquires mildly.
"No."
As they begin to proceed up the aisle she points vaguely left, towards one of the engines.
"Can you hear that?"
The author notices that the plane has been banking left for a while now, or would listing be a better word? The author hopes that either an engine has gone out, thus, Adventure! or that the flight attendant just wanted to chat and thought it would be fun to scare some passengers, thus, Humor!
The author grins from ear to ear at both possibilities.
Shortly thereafter the pilot mentions that the seatbelt sign has been turned off. "Feel free to use the restrooms, but you really don't want to use the one at the front. It seems we've developed a little squeal in the door. The cabin's good; the pressure's good, it's just really loud..."

"Squeaky door?" the author asks the off-duty pilot when he returns from his quest to the front of the cabin.

As it turns out, the rubber seal sometimes gets pinched or folded in the space between door and fuselage, and vibrates at high frequency, sounding something like an alarm.

The author later disembarks, and tiredly heads towards the exit. Re-routed through the terminal in the name of renovation, the author notices music he likes playing overhead and smiles to himself. A harried gentleman with a viola case and a foreign accent asks which way to baggage. Seeing a sign with that word on it, the author helpfully points it out and sends the gentleman upstairs. Too late to call him back the author notices that the sign is for baggage check-in. So much for American helpfulness, or, at least, American directions.

Later, in the economy parking lot. Having been deposited without mishap next to Manvan, the author speaks soothing words to his neglected beast of burden and guides it to the gates. There he discovers a self-service credit card lane. The instructions instruct him to insert his parking slip into the slot. He does so. The instructions instruct him to insert his credit card. He balks. The ticket, after all, hasn't come back. Plus, what slot can talk to both slips and cards? Wearied into obedience, he inserts his card, which is rather perkily consumed by the multi-tasking slot. After a brief moment of terror, his card is returned to him unharmed. Willing to hope all things, he hits the receipt button, and is not disappointed. The slot returns his slip, upon which is now imprinted the receipt of payment! The author, overwhelmed by this tri-purpose feat of technology, is glad that in a few short minutes he will be home.

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