Saturday, April 13, 2013

Of Airports and Airplanes II

Yesterday we ate and drank.  Today we're going to study two airports - LAX and JFK.

Since LAX was our debarkation point, we'll start there.  We arrived and after checking our roll-ons at the curb - which took forever as "the system's down."  The baggage guy had to take the suitcase, run it inside the terminal to be x-rayed, print out the baggage tag(s) and/or run the credit card used to pay and then bring out the receipt for a signature and then on to the next person in line. 

Eventually, we got to Security and dutifully peeled off shoes, jackets, hats, belts and stood patiently like cows waiting to go through the body scanner which is now used exclusively at LAX.  Thoughtfully, someone painted a pair of shoe soles to show dullards where to put our feet.  After that, one raises the hands above the head and, like a giant windshild wiper, a visible line crosses the screen in front of you.

For some reason, Security had the wind up about carrying a piece of paper through this scan.  They were yelling, "Remember! No paper!"  My turn and I stepped confidently into the shoe soles and raised my arms.  

When I stepped away, I was apprehended by a female officer who frisked me with her gloved hands and then said, "I'm going to have to run the backs of my hands across your buttocks" and proceeded to do so.  And then that's when it hit me -  what had set them off.  Due to a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (caused by nerves; apparently my innards are more sensitive to emotion than all of the rest of me put together) I'd pulled on an Adult Depends.  And I said so.  Undeterred she wiped my palms with a liquid, used a treated square to wipe them off and then pushed the square in front of a sniffer machine.  

So, at JFK to come home, I quietly advised the Security lady about it and she really wasn't interested; didn't pat me down or even seemed to hear what I'd said.  A real difference in airports, no?  Maybe JFK's attitude is:  We survived 911; you can't hurt us.

Anyhow, we're at JFK and ready to go home on the noon flight.  Which was sold out.  The people milling around the gate agent reminded me (unpleasantly) of The Last Helicopter Out of Saigon.

We then ambled down to the gate for the 1:45 p.m. flight.  Time passed and people began boarding.  The gate agent was a peppy little blonde who may have been a Drill Instructor in a previous life.  "C'mon, People - let's get a move on!"  

As most of the others boarded, she yelled "Murphy! I've got one seat left!" and we shook our heads, "No."  We stick together.  

At the very last moment before the jet bridge is pulled away from the plane, she screams "Murphy!  I've got one seat left in First and the other's in Coach - here!" and thrust the tickets into Richie's hands.  Then she's running ahead of us down the jet bridge to the open door.  Richie fumbles the tickets, pulls out the one for First and jams it into my hand.

"I'll split it with you!" I called to him, meaning that 2 1/2 hours into the 5 hour flight, I'd switch seats with him.  He flapped his hand backward at me and said, "Never mind!  Just sit down!"  So I did.  

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