Today I’m taking my first commercial flight since my Tebow/Denver excursion, and watching a historical life-changing transformation of the NFL’s most popular football player. That trip was to a city in which there was much to see, do and learn about. This trip today is to a previous home of mine, Seattle, WA. Ok, I never really lived in Seattle, but rather in a surrounding community within the Puget Sound. We previously spent approximately 5 years on Whidbey Island in a town called Oak Harbor. One thing I’ve learned while living in the Seattle area is that it is the absolute most beautiful area to live in the world. with all of the robust greenery, the clean air and friendly people. But I have often said, even though the Seattle area is the most beautiful in the world, the other 50 weeks of the year sucks! I think we’re in for another good one this trip. Of course our first day was filled with non-stop rain. Our second was much better.
We leave our home about 7:30 in the morning to give us enough time to get to the airport, regrettably anticipating a miserable experience using the commercial air transportation method. Yes, we’re gonna fly. It’s not the flight that so much bothers us, it’;s the overall experience of commercial air travel; the lines, the waits, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) . . . the asshole in the seat next to me. He’s probably reading this as I write. Yup, getting my 35K ft fingers on right now. Anyway, the first leg of this trip has not been all that bad. First up, was our check-in with the Alaska Airlines street-side check-in terminal in which there were several self check-in kiosks and one very helpful attendant to weigh and tag our bags. I asked the attendant if there were any upgrades (e.g. business class) available for us on our flight. He said he would check if the kiosk didn’t prompt for it. After just a very easy kiosk check-in, he looked in his computer terminal and was able to move us to the emergency exit isle for both legs (get it . . . legs of legroom) of the non-stop round-trip flight. The second stop of our day takes us through the security area where we are now stripped of our belongings, belts, shoes and computers; then rectally scanned with some new founded probing scanner that detected the anomalactic activity in my right shoulder. I’m not quite sure what that was all about; but I was then fondled and squeezed by some very well trained masseuse in the art of probing manipulation. He allowed me to pass. I was then flagged by the next screening agent when an internal alarm detected some potential misconduct in my backpack. I was thinking to myself, what could be in there; too many pens, a series of rainbow colored dry erase markers or perhaps the PowerPoint presenter I always carry with me as part of my educational contingency plan. Nope, today the TSA secondary “supervisor” pulled from my backpack, the back-up corkscrew I probably bought during one of my previous travels somewhere locally. Bastards got my corkscrew. Ooops, I guess we’re probably not supposed to have one of those cardboard nail files either. I don’t fly much so I always get flagged for something. Now inside the security “clear” area of the terminal, our next stop required a kick-off cocktail and grabbing a sandwich or something to take on the flight. We perused the feeble offerings of concessionaires available to flyers in that terminal. We found a bar . . . perfect. Whatever the name is, it’s gotta be good if it can make a double-Kettle One Bloody Mary. Excellent, found two seats at the counter in the very cramped bar of Rebar No. 9 (I think that’s what it was called). It also had an ordering menu at the bar from the attached sandwich/salad shop on the other side of the wall, Jet Box Market. As my wife and I began our ascent on our first round of our vacationer’s breakfast (the Bloody Mary), we looked at the available selections on the menu from the other side of the wall eatery place. We walked around the corner and looked through the deli selections of pre-made selections and made a quick stop at the ATM to get some traveling cash (ya gotta be ready to make a quick cash deal, pay a cabbie or pay off a cop). We looked at the sandwich wraps and thought them to be our best opportunity for a quick grab and go for our in-flight sustenance. The wife got a salad and I, the the Chicken Pesto Wrap. What we experienced was unexpected. This chicken salad had flavors, textures, colors and moisture. Luckily, we had also stocked up on some regular Fritos Brand Corn Chips and some various other snacks for our week long journey in the Pacific North West, just in case we got stuck in a ferry holding pattern or something. I bring up the corn chips because they absolutely made the Chicken Pesto Wrap a complete palette sensation with the crunchiness and saltiness from the corn chips, added to the flavorful sandwich chicken-pesto filling and fresh leaf spinach. What then transpired was us gutting the tortilla wrap and scooping the chicken salad onto each chip as both the sandwich and the bag of chips disappeared before our very eyes. We were not expecting such a terrific sandwich from an airport, nor was I expecting to watch the asshole in the seat next to me devour the . . . now, “Attention in the cabin . . . the in-flight fruit and cheese tray is sold out”. Wow, what is going on here? Have we, as consumers, demanded better airport and in-flight food, or are the vendors and concessionaires upping the ante? I think perhaps both. Our flight went off without a hitch. I got a little writing done and caught two very distinct neck-snapping nap moments in our non-reclinable, but ample leg-roomed seats. Once we arrived, we made our way to the bus that took us to the remote rent-a-car area of the airport. Remote rent-a-car and baggage claim facilities are now quite common in the airport industry. It reduces the quantities of passengers and services crammed into a single facility. It also reduces the potential for misconduct by those travelers the TSA is actually supposed to be character profiling because they looked suspicious, had an accent or were otherwise carrying their cork screw with a 1 inch blade. I think it’s even funny now that if I want to make reference to a B. O. M. B. at an airport I literally spell it out, “B. O. M. B.”. I know that it’s a felony to say the word, but not the letters. Whatever; just remember you might still get smacked with a flashlight because you said the letters, . . . but it’s not a felony.
I was hoping to get e rental car upgrade. Unfortunately, the rental agency was very busy, so there were no deals to be made. I somehow think the agent that assisted me in getting into my “full size” sedan must have completely mis-read my personality. I asked him what kind of car he was putting me in today. He said, “looks like a Chevy Malibu”. I felt that was ok because the Impala had had on one of my last trips was fine and somewhat comfortable. I asked, “what other full size models do you have in your inventory today?” This jackass proceeded an attempt to convince me that the Chevy Camaro convertible was going to make my wife happy. I said, “Listen, I’m from San Diego, I own several cars with sunroofs and an old classic convertible”. I continued, “I lived in Seattle for five years in the past. Today is the first leg of my trip, and it’s raining. Do you really think I need a convertible?” The guy looks at me and say’s, “How about a Prius?” Anyway, my full-sized sedan landed us in a Nissan Sentra. Now I know why I have never yet owned a Nissan. Some of my readers might have one of these Nissan (POS) Sentras, so I better not say anything. The car is fine, just not as comfortable as I was hoping for.
Maybe I should have taken the Prius.