SO YOU WANT TO USE AIR TRAVEL?

Congratulations on your decision to utilize air travel in the United States! Please be aware of our security measures to enhance the safety of all our passengers.

PRIOR TO DEPARTURE

All checked baggage must be dropped off at the airport security station two days prior to departure. These bags will be subject to a thorough inspection by our highly trained, minimum wage workers. You will be issued a claim ticket for your final destination, where your bags may then be retrieved.

There will be a fee for this service.

DAY OF DEPARTURE

On your departure date, please report to the security station three hours prior to departure. The security station is located five miles from the terminals. A courtesy shuttle bus will transport passengers to the Departure Lounge, located three miles away from the actual terminal.

Be advised that carry-on luggage is NOT allowed.

Upon arrival at the lounge, your identification will be checked and verified for authenticity, flight confirmed and boarding passes issued. Boarding passes and all identification will be placed in a clear, plastic pouch which is to be worn around the neck at all times. Any luggage claim receipts will also be placed in this pouch.

Passengers will then have the opportunity to purchase any magazines, books, gum, etc for their flight.

Once commerce is complete, passengers will be issued a mid-sized plastic bin and escorted to a private room. Under the gaze of two security employees (“Departure Hosts”) passengers will disrobe, placing all clothing and personal items in the bin.

Passengers will then be thoroughly searched for concealed items.

Upon completion a one-piece jumpsuit and slippers will be issued (rental and cleaning fees will be applied to your credit card). Recently purchased items will be returned along with a claim ticket for the bin. The ticket will be placed in the clear neck pouch and your carry-on items in a clear, plastic bag.

Departure Hosts will then ensure all credentials are accurate and placed securely in the pouch. Passengers will then be escorted to a waiting area. Once in waiting area, passengers will be assigned a seat in accordance with their flight and boarding position.

One hour prior to departure, a team of armed agents (“Transportation Guides”) will escort passengers to a bus, where they will board according to seat arrangement (back of the plane first, first class last).

Passengers will then be driven to the actual terminal. Passengers will disembark and be led to their departure gate, where credentials are once again verified.

Upon boarding, passengers will be escorted to their seat by in-flight personnel, who will ensure the Safety Harness* is properly positioned, comfortable and locked into place.

Should you require the use of the lavatory during the flight, in-flight personnel will unlock the harness and escort the passenger to the appropriate station.

Upon arrival**, this process will be reversed.

Thank you for flying!

* Think of a roller-coaster safety bar.

** In the event of a connecting flight, passengers will be required to pass through another security checkpoint.

This has to have been done. The idea can’t be original.

I forget where I read it or who said it about books (I want to credit Kelly Sue DeConnick but can’t find the actual link), but I’d really like to see a movie remade with the genders of the main characters swapped. The only script change would be pronouns. And I think the best film to do this with would be STAR WARS.

Think about it; it’s an iconic film that damn near every person on Earth at least has heard the name STAR WARS. It’s an ensemble, so not just one lead gets changed. We know the characters, their personalities, foibles, quirks, etc. It’s incredibly quotable. It’s old enough to have a direct impact on several generations. And imagine what it could do to help point out the inherent sexism inherent in American (and others, but I can only speak for where I live) society.

Han solo is now a roguish lady. Swagger, arrogance, and not a single line is changed. She shoots Greedo first.  She drives the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy and her sidekick is a Wookiee. Prince Luke is the brave, stubborn leader of the Rebel Alliance.  Leia Skywalker is raised on a moisture farm on planet somewhere between the ass-boil and buttcrack of the universe. You get the idea.

Here’s the thing – it’s the SAME MOVIE. Only the gender of the lead characters is different.

This can’t be an original idea, but I’d still like to see it and see what kind of discussion on sexism it creates.

Well this is new

My apartment may be haunted. When I first moved in, I hung a Great Divide Brewery sign by the front door, and a couple days later found the sign behind the place, but the nail was still in the wall. Never figured out how it got over there other than “weird wind gust” but that didn’t sit right.

Last night, the doorbell kept ringing, despite nobody being in the yard or near the place. This went on until about 1am.

So my haunting isn’t blood dripping walls or ominous threats of horrible demise, but more of a dead, drunk frat boy pranking me and high-fiving other spirits with a “YEAH, BRO, I got that pansy!”

So there’s that.

Oh, sure, wind, electrical short, science, logic. Nope. Drunk frat guy ghost. You can be jealous, it’s okay.

Listening to me is usually a bad idea, but still.

Lots of people give advice. Lots of people are full of crap. However, for what it’s worth, here are three things that have stuck with me. The first two are from my cousin, and the last is popularly attributed to Daniel Keys Moran, but there is an argument it’s from German Landsknechts from the 14th & 15th centuries.

So here they are, three things I try to remember and apply in daily.

It takes two seconds to be nice to people.
Despite my sense of humor and various anger-laced tirades, this is key. Be polite. Hold doors for people. Everybody has their problems, so if you can do anything to make the day easier for someone, go for it. It’s amazing how simply saying “thank you” can make a difference.

Think three steps ahead.
Honestly, most things can be resolved by simply looking at cause and effect. If you need to fix a sink, make sure the water is off. Saves a lot of time. Yes, you can over think then hit option paralysis or a state of panic, but three steps. Think it through.

You don’t really own anything you can’t carry on your back at a dead run.
This can be distilled down to “You only truly own what you can carry at a dead run” (the German Landsknechts version), but I like the sound of the DKM version better. Stop worrying about accumulating stuff. Yes, it may be hypocritical for me to say this as I have a lot of crap, but it’s just stuff. Would it suck to lose it? Sure. Would it kill me? Nope.

That’s it. Do what you will with it. But, you know, try the nice thing. It’s kinda important.

Sometimes a sexist joke actually proves the point for you.

kitchenFound this image floating about the webs. At first, it’s a “yeah, great, another sexist ‘get in the kitchen’ bullshit meme”, but the more you look at it, the more it works on many levels.

Is the original idea the sexist joke? I’m sure. But here’s the thing – the image, at its base, is a woman being carried off by police for what appears to be protesting.

Protesting.

Three (possibly four with the creeper in the back) men are carrying her away. Not escorting, not telling, physically removing her, all while she continues to yell. And somebody felt the need to make a lame joke about it, because, you know, a woman, standing up for her rights is funny.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it? That anytime a woman speaks out, she’s pushed aside, marginalized, and treated as a joke because, you know, it’s a girl. And the louder she yells for her rights, the more dangerous it becomes as men step in and become physical in order put her in her “place” —  the kitchen.

If this image isn’t the easiest way to describe sexism and misogyny, I’m not sure what else to use. 

My brain is ungood

While flipping through the notebook I always carry, found this in my near-illegible scrawl:

Convertable driving across bridge. Pelican flies over, poops on windshield. If you don’t know, pelicans poop A LOT. Windshield covered, driver turns on wipers in panic. It spreads and flies over windshield and into car, splashing on passengers. Panic and hijinx ensue.

The hell is wrong with me?

Memageddon

If the internet gets sentience it’s first sentence will be, “There’s this thing I don’t like so I told everyone I don’t like it then people were mean but they’re stupid ’cause I can say anything and I don’t like that and why can’t everything be about meeeeee.”

Then the bombs go off.

Cubicle Commando Safety Tip

Try not to paraphrase Darth Vader while in meetings. Examples include:

  • “You do not know the power of the spreadsheet!”
  • “I find your lack of doughnuts…disturbing.”
  • “Join me, and together we will rule the galaxy as web guy and sales weasel!”
  • “You are a part of the sales team and a traitor! Take her away!”
  • [On seeing an old phone] “A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of dial-up.”
  • [At the end of the meeting] “The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner, now I am the master.”

Cubicle Commando Safety Tip

The following is not an appropriate email response to being late for work:

I was grabbed by some terrorist group. See, they’ve got this megalomaniacal leader with a really bad accent who wanted to pluck out my eyes. Because then he could serve them to Bosnian Fur Traders in exchange for the last piece of an obscure Peruvian map. It’s supposed to lead them to some tomb where some dude is buried. Oh, and have a mystical, all-powerful weapon. But if you watch enough movies, you know they’ll fail at the last minute due to some stoic anti-hero and their wise-cracking sidekick, so I’m not that worried.

But thanks for asking.

I have no idea how I remain employed.

Perhaps Mellodramitic

You know which of your addictions holds sway when you think, “I’d be drinking but I’m out of cigarettes.”

It’s a day. Work is work and you plow through, the mindless drone comforting and infuriating in it’s repetitive boredom, when the call happens. Your Uncle has passed. You disagreed on politics, you had different visions of what was supposed to be, but he was a smart, rational man. Once you got past the propaganda chain emails, you could have a discussion. And you’d end up with a better view, seeing another side an understanding that your way is not always the best.

You’d like to think he saw it the way.

He was never old until the past year. Then, slowly, he aged. He couldn’t walk as upright, but he could still work.

And he aged.

Breathing became labored, but not enough that he couldn’t walk with his wife.

And he aged.

Illness. In and out of hospitals. His breathing became more labored, things ignored suddenly an issue. But he could still write, and he could talk, and he didn’t let you forget that it was all a gift.

And he aged.

Assisted living. Hospice. Machines to help the breathing, morphine to dull the pain. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

And he aged.

The machines are now quiet. He is silent. No more stories of misspent youth and how “you youngsters” didn’t know how to get things done. No more asides of things your parents did, replicas of things you did, and why they were so upset. No more advice, sometimes silly, sometimes helpful, always comforting.

We hadn’t spoken in a while, and now I can’t. An unanswered email stares back at me, silently judging.

More news. A friend from high school. Her daughter died in a car accident. She was 12. I didn’t now her, had not spoken to her mother in almost 20 years, but it still hurts. That’s a level of pain I pray is never visited upon me. It’s something I can’t fathom. But it somehow dulls my own pain.

I feel guilty for writing that.

So now I sit on the couch, not drinking, petting the dog and writing this with no poignancy, no end. Just a quiet house and my thoughts.