AndyO Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A passage to Phoenix: likes and dislikes

Yesterday, we flew down to Phoenix to visit my mother-in-law and significant other, Gar. Traveling can always be a little stressful -- especially with kids. Here's my view of the trip yesterday in terms of people or events that either a) Increased my stress (dislike) or b) decreased my stress (like):

 

Dislike: The TSA agent in SeaTac airport: "Sir, you need to stay with your bags and make sure they go through the scanner! We don't have anyone to push them through!"

What I thought at the time: I haven't heard the "that's not my job" excuse in a while. It's good to know this practice is alive and well in the government sector. It was a little weird to see a TSA agent act like an asshole, as every other agent I've met has been professional and courteous. (I have to think of that quote, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Still.)

 

Like: My kids, who behaved the entire flight down to Phoenix.

What I thought at the time: We've come a long way from the days of fighting and kicking the seat in front of us. But it did help that I set up the boys with a movie on Brenda's Kindle Fire (Kung-Fu Panda 2). Even better was the short, two-hour flight. (For the first time, I never heard, "Are we there yet?)

Drew on the plane

Dislike: The woman who booked a flight down to Phoenix at the last minute and split up her entire family (including a 4-year old).

What I thought at the time: I didn't care, as I wasn't sitting next to her. But Brenda was. I'm always impressed with the grace of people who try to help -- like the man who switched seats so the woman could sit next to her daughter. Or Brenda offering to entertain the girl with our DVD player.

 

Dislike: The Alaska Airlines pilot who bounced our 737-900 off the runway upon touchdown.

What I thought at the time: Well, there was a brief moment of terror as the plane bounced up (hello, Zero-G!), and I wondered if we were going to come down OK. Cameron thought it was fun.

What I thought later: The more I thought about this landing, the stranger it seemed: Usually you glide in and hover over the runway (ground effect) before touching down. But this time, the plane seemed to drop -- almost as if the wind changed at the last second, and we lost our lift. My hat's off to the pilots who can handle this kind of stuff, as scary as it seems from the cabin.

 

Dislike: The lady in front of me on the plane who stood up as soon as the plane stopped, and then complained about how slow everyone was exiting. She also kept leaning into me from the aisle.

What I thought at the time: Here's a tip to those with claustrophobia or agoraphobia: Don't stand up as soon as the plane lands, because then you'll be standing in the crowded aisle, which will only compound your problems.

 

Like: The Alaska Airlines baggage claim. The bags were there when arrived (a first for me).

What I thought at the time: Wow!

What I thought later: Oh, yeah, it took 20 minutes to exit the plane and 10 minutes to walk to the baggage claim.

 

Like: The guy at the Hertz rental counter and the great, open design of the rental car center.

What I thought at the time: Architectural design can lower one's stress level.

 

Dislike: Getting pulled over by the police as soon as I arrived in Avondale. (I made a mistake by thinking the turning lane was for both left and right turns.)

What I thought at the time: I hate making mistakes like this. Fortunately, the officer was nice and cut us some slack because we were from out of town.

 

Like: Carol and Gar meeting us in a parking lot (after we got pulled over by Avondale's finest) and guiding us to their house. We felt very welcome!

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