That Ain't Wright
by Rob Cottignies
During the 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci spent much time dissecting birds to figure out how they flew. Based on this information, he came up with and sketched an idea commonly referred to as a flying machine. The design would never have worked as-drawn but it laid the groundwork for what would arguably be mankind's greatest invention. Then he drew a small portrait of a homely woman and everybody freaked out so that's what he's best-known for. Kinda sad.
Skip ahead a few hundred years to a pair of brothers named Orville and Wilbur (nice names…… not) tinkering around with this very idea in North Carolina. The chaps performed the first controlled human flight. It's debated if the Wrights actually invented the prototype for modern airplanes but they will forever be remembered as the men who led us in that direction.
Since then, aviation has had a grand history via names such as Charles Lindbergh, Samuel L. Jackson and Amelia Earhart, the latter being famous for disappearing, though Harry Houdini had nothing to do with it. Or did he??? No, because he died a decade before she went missing. Or did he fake his death so he wouldn't be suspected of bringing down Ms. Earhart??? Probably not, but apparently there's some reality-show star named Harry Amelia so you can figure that out on your own.
Anyway, think about flying for a second. You can get to California from New York (almost 3,000 miles) in under six hours. It would take over 40 hours of non-stop speed limit driving to make the same journey. According to Google, it would take 911 hours to walk there. Put your abaci away- it's almost 38 days. And who knows how long it would take someone on in-line skates being pulled by an ATV to get there so please someone do this and find out though you will almost certainly bleed and catch fire in the process.
But flight is still king. I can sit in a cushioned seat in the sky and calmly read, eat, sleep, or roll my eyes each time a baby cries. With such a rich history and amazing capabilities, why does flying make me so miserable?
The simple answer can be found in bold below:
People who bring weapons onto planes to hijack or otherwise cause terror. Whoever took me to the airport used to be able to wait at the gate with me until take-off. Now they'd pay $25 to park for ten minutes and couldn't hang with me anyway because of security. Safety is great but when I get stopped and searched and questioned about a nail clipper, there's a problem. Plus everyone has to get nude to go through the x-ray machine and face a barrage of violent stares from agents who could easily ruin someone's day.
People who decided to charge for taking bags on planes. If I'm going away for two weeks, I will need a bag for my stuff. This is simple. But no, enough people who only travel for a day or two threw fits about having to pay the same amount as real people with real bags. Doing this has also led to people overpacking carry-ons, resulting in…
People who take an insanely long time to board. I've read about scientists who've devised different ways to board planes involving front-to-back, alternating rows, random but controlled entry, and other methods. These techniques have been tested and the results were positive- they generally cut boarding time by at least half. So why haven't these faster ways been adopted? It's simple to teach an individual a new behavior but almost impossible to teach the same to a group. People en masse are too idiotic to follow easy plans that would relieve a problem everyone has with flying. So thanks for that.
People who bring babies onto planes. They must know before they leave the house that hundreds of strangers will soon hate them. 'But Nana wants to see her little Timmy Woomboo.' While I'm all for throwing technology out the window, this is the age of it so Granny should only get pictures of the kid until she gets off her old carcass and goes herself. I don't blame the babies in these situations because they have no idea what's going on. 'Alright, I'm on Mom's lap. Now there's some loud noise. Now my head is imploding. What!?!?!?' There should be an age minimum for flying. I don't know what that limit should be but it would surely be swell if it rhymed with blineteen.
People who get up ten times on a flight. I usually reserve a window seat so nobody will bother me like this but sometimes the aisle can't be avoided. And each time, I have to pause whatever awesome thing I'm doing to stand up and wait for some dope to awkwardly flop out of the row. Then I sit back down to continue whatever awesome thing I'm doing only to pause it again a few minutes later to let the fool back in the row. Sometimes I'll be next to a couple and they'll go at the same time. Considerate, one might say. I say not. The guy always comes back first so I have to stand to let him in then stand again when she comes back because women take ten times longer to pee for some mysterious reason.
People who work for the airline. The captain who always has to greet everyone, especially the Super Sky Airplane Gold Flying Plus members. (Do those people really care about this special greeting?) The co-pilot who has to tell us what altitude we'll be flying at because exactly zero people are interested. The flight attendants whose patience level I can't imagine but always take up the aisle and do an unhealthy amount of smiling. (I'd like to try whatever drugs they do pre-flight.) The one gay male flight attendant who is on almost every flight and wants everyone to know that he's gay and male and a flight attendant. (His jokes fail every time.) The drink lady who asks if I want ice cubes in my orange juice. (I'd rather be thrown out of the plane. Do people really do this???)
People who try to talk to me when I'm trapped in a seat next to them. 'So why are you traveling- work or family?' Like those are the only options. Morons. I despise small talk (and, really, any other kind of talk) and would much rather sit in silence. But no. Mr. Neck-Pillow-And-Safe-Haircut who is wearing a full suit on a plane for some ungodly reason is so lonely and pathetic that he insists on knowing what I "do for a living". To avoid this, I usually put headphones on before boarding even if they're not attached to anything. And that certainly doesn't always work.
People who are young hippies and therefore aren't actually people. One time, I was seated when this smelly dread-locked couple sat next to me, but not before introducing me to their [horrible small dogs] that were in crates. Jerry and Marley. Seriously. Thankfully the little jerks were sedated and silent the entire flight but their bigger smelly jerk owners were anything but.
People who give me full box of tissues to vomit in because there are no bags on the plane. This happened once so I felt it was necessary to mention it.
To close- When asked how a flight was, I respond with 'The plane took off and landed, which was great. Everything in between was horrible.' Thanks a lot, people.