Monday, January 01, 2007

So This One Time, At The Charlotte Airport...

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

So this is a story that just has to be told. These are trying times for my family with our recent loss, so I’m hoping that writing this will cheer me up a little.

So I have had the most adventurous airport experience ever…and this was before the plane even took off. First of all, getting to Charlotte wasn’t all that bad today. Luckily I was flying on a weekend so I didn’t have to worry about rush hour, because simply put, it is a bastard to get through. So, I was kind of running a little late this morning, which is never good. What’s worse is that I’ve been up since about five, so it’s really only my fault, which sucks because in that situation, you would love to be able to blame someone or something. Anyway, so I get to Charlotte, I’m driving down the Billy Graham Parkway, and I see a sign saying “all lots open,” and I’m thinking that’s dynamite because remote is only $2.50 a day and I don’t have to park at long-term. Sure enough, the stupid thing is closed, and now I’m screwed. So, I have to drive around the airport and do it all over again. Bear in mind that I’m cutting it real close as far as making the plane. I go to long-term parking, and I ask the attendant where to park. He obviously does not want to be there. I mean who would? Standing outside ten hours a day telling people where to park…I mean it’s not my kind of thing, that’s all I’m saying. Anyway, the guy says to go to the left, so I oblige, and then the panic starts to set in a little bit. Luckily I was working on a massive hangover, so my mood was pretty relaxed. So, of course, there are no spots at all. None. It’s like what’s the point of saying there’s parking when there is none. Oh and by the way, how can one guy know if there is any parking when you’re working with like a square mile worth of spots. What he is just toying with me? “Oh yeah there are spots.” Please. Anyway, finally I have to parallel park and found a spot on the curb. By the way, parallel parking should be a requirement to get your license, because I suck at it, and I think, ya know, it would be nice to learn, but I never use it, so I don’t even bother. So I’m waiting for the bus, and it’s brutal because that whole parking ordeal took like twenty minutes, so now I’m definitely late, there’s no getting around it. So while I’m at the terminal, I see, I don’t know, five, maybe six cars roll in, and they get spots in about five seconds. Sweet. Also, I notice the attendant as switched the sign around, probably a good call. So I see a guy in a captain’s uniform, and ironically, it was the guy who’s flying the plane I’m on! So, I have a little more confidence that I’m making it. So we’re standing there, the guy keeps repeating “W-2” like he’s Rain Man, so that’s kind of getting annoying. I dunno, I just thought I’d throw that in there.

So finally I get to the terminal, get my boarding pass, and get in line for public humiliation, i.e. x-ray checkpoint. So I, of course, was “specially chosen” to get further examination done on me, meaning they would open my bags, make me sit and wait another five minutes. Well that’s just swell when you’re trying to make a flight. Oh yeah, and I love the whole “no liquid” rule too. That’s wonderful. So happy I bought two Gatorades this morning. There’s $3.50 down the drain. Honestly, what are we gonna do with liquids? I think the homeland security is giving us too much credit. We’re not all MacGuyver here.

Luckily, the plane had not even started to board yet, so I lucked out and made it. So now I’m on the plane, and looky here, I’m in an exit row. Now I had not paid attention to this before, but at least on this airline (think the opposite of Southeast, and it starts with “north”…there you go), the exit row is enormous! This is too cool. It’s like flying first class. First of all, you get so much leg room, it’s uncanny. Second, because I think they realize that if this gets ugly, I am the doorman, so I get a little added responsibility, which is nice, they gave me first crack at the drink cart. Now I was gonna hit up a little rum and coke action, but I think a.) maybe a little too early and b.) I don’t want to get everyone nervous about something impairing my abilities should the plane be going down and we’re all burning alive. That’s right, I’m that guy. The guy that starts singing Buddy Holly and Skynyrd when the plane starts bumping around. That’s me. So I’m looking at the emergency manual, ya know, so they think I have it together. I’m looking at how the door works, and I’m telling you, it’s a crapshoot. I have no idea how this works. Hopefully it won’t come to that, because it will get ugly. Also, next time you fly, take a look at that manual. I mean this will have to happen under the most ideal water-landing circumstances of all time. First of all, the plane is in tact after hitting the water at 300 MPH. I don’t think so. Seriously, we should think about using the manuals they were substituting in “Fight Club.” We need some more realism here. If you start panicking because of a card, you were not meant to fly, simple as that.

So while I’m writing this, I feel compelled to talk about the three worst kinds of people to fly with. First, there’s the one that will not stop talking, mindlessly sticking their nose into other people’s business and offering opinions on matter you never really asked about. This one lady is talking about God knows what, and I mean I could have booked it into full-on “asshole” mood, but instead, I tried to take the high road ya know? A little bit of class from this generation. So I am forced to nod my head politely, and throw in a few “yeah’s” and “really’s.” By the way, if you are ever talking to someone, and they come back with a rapid succession of “yeah’s,” for the love of God, stop talking. You are wasting valuable air that could be used by someone that the other person actually wants to listen to. The second worst is the up-tight person. This one girl, who unfortunately goes to USC. Unfortunate because I’m about to poke a little fun at a fellow Cock (how bout that win yesterday?…I don’t remember much ‘cause I was heavily intoxicated, but I hear good things, but more on that later). So this girl literally repeated “I’m still going to be in the aisle, right?” like fifteen times to the stewardess when she was asked to move her seat. I think the initial “yes” was probably good enough. Now you know that this girl has the power to absolutely destroy whatever sliver of happiness you may have left. I’m telling you, when it is at its finest, this is worse than the crying baby. And last, but certainly not least, the person that sits next to you that pretends that you don’t even exist. Ok, I mean I’m not a huge talker, but a simple “how’s it going” should be mandated by airlines. If you know that the person sitting next to you is not a complete dick, then making that bathroom move will not be as painful. See right now, I don’t know if this lady sitting next to me is a sweetheart or a total bitch. It’s totally a gamble. The one positive is that she has no idea that I’m making fun of her, which is nice. So take that unknown personality lady. I showed her.

Anytime you are in a plane, and it starts making sounds like an old man getting out of the tub or off of a couch, you definitely take a longer look around just to make sure things are still kosher. I especially notice the flight attendants’ reaction. If they give you a “holy s---“ reaction, it’s “holy s---.” Luckily, there was none of that, so I continued to lounge in my 9 feet of leg room. I mean I remember the night before wondering "how could I have gotten such a good deal on a flight when it's leaving the next day?" Now I know why I got such a good deal. It's basically like money-lining an underdog instead of taking the points. If they cover and win, you get paid, but if you money-line that team and they win, you get even more. Basically, the airline was money-lining a pretty big underdog right there.

If you ever end up in Detroit’s airport, they have like a 10 foot TV screen with CNN on it. It’s pretty decent, figured I would just throw that out there.

Ok, so to sum everything up, it’s been quite a day. Luckily I made the plane. Now, getting back to what I do somewhat decently: sports banter. First, I am going to throw out a theory, kind of like what the Sports Guy does, but I’ll try and put an original spin on it. May I submit to you, the “Chinese Water Torture” theory. Here’s what happens. A team, who has had past success, is now in a rut of sorts. Seeing this, you try and bank on the next week to be the week they turn everything around, so, you wager big on the limping giant to rebound in a “vengeance game,” but they don’t pull through. Then, the next week, you do the exact same thing, saying, sometimes out loud: “There’s no way they can lose again. This will be the week.” And like the sad, pathetic gambler you are, you throw down more money in hopes the team reverses its fortune, and once again, they lose. The best example I can think of is the New York Giants. Here’s a team that went to the playoffs last year, has a deadly offense when effective, and has enough defense so that you actually have to gameplan for them. The G-Men were favored in their game against the Cowboys, and like the moron I am, I think “Giants, at home, division game…that Romo guy can’t keep this up, let’s go G-Men.” Of course, Romo leads Dallas on a game-ending drive ending in a Martin Gramatica field goal (hey how come we can’t get guys like that?). Ok, so that was a tough loss, but they hung tough, lost the game on a last-second field goal, their still a fairly-good team, they should bounce back against the Eagles next week right? I mean you’re basically looking at the same set of circumstances you had with Dallas in the Eagles game, with Garcia and an NFC East opponent at the Meadowlands, surely they gained some kind of knowledge and pull this one out. Wrong. Garcia and the Eagles smoked the Giants, and I, again, look like a fool. The Giants just keep doing it to me. I picked them last week against the Saints, a game that they were favored to win by two, and they got decimated. I don’t know why, but there are teams out there that I can’t really ever pick against. Another example is Seattle when they play at home. To me, it’s a no-brainer, but they have let me down on so many different occasions.

The basic lesson in all of this is that I should probably just stick to college and not worry about the pros. I still can’t believe I picked Clemson, knowing that they were without their best cornerback playing a team that basically just passes the ball, and the Wildcats were riding a real good streak, going 5-1 in their last six. That was poor preparation on my part. However, I still have been on fire thus far in the bowl season, and I would like to take this time to say thanks to Texas Tech and Oregon St. Those were two classic games, of course the Tech game I didn’t catch ‘cause it was on you know what. Oregon St. pulled one of the ballsiest calls in bowl game history. You gotta love it. Instead of going for the tie, let’s just end it right now and go for two. If they didn’t make it, you know that move would have been questioned until the end of time. Lucky for the Beavers, it worked out, and they were able to beat Mizzou. They didn’t cover, but I’ll take the straight up win. Texas Tech was a completely different story. As I was watching the Maryland/Purdue game (ok I got that one wrong too), I was cursing myself for picking the Red Raiders as the “priority score alert” kept flashing, with Minnesota going up 35-7 at halftime. So immediately, I start thinking that they may not cover the spread, or score in the double digits for that matter. However, Tech mounted the biggest rally in the history of the bowl games, pushing the game into OT where they were able to outscore the Gophers by three. This game is almost like the “Annie” game that was played back in the day: A great finish that no one got to see.

One final note: Mike Tyson was just arrested for cocaine possession. Amazing how the mighty fall. I mean with Tyson, it was definitely a long road to destruction, but you have to say, pro athletes rival celebrities with their abilities to go from being relevant and on top of the world to tanking not only their careers, but their lives. Such a shame.

Well alright kids. Hope everything's doin' in your respective neighborhoods. I'll be reporting from beautiful downtown North Falmouth until the 11th, so keep it right here, because I have no end to what I can talk about. Later on. Peace.


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