Saturday, January 15, 2011

On The Road Again

Next week will find me doing the first real traveling that I have done in over a year. In fact, with six flights ahead of me in about as many days, I will probably be doing as much traveling as I want to do for all of 2011. As much as I am looking forward to an opportunity to visit with friends and family during the upcoming period (especially being introduced to my youngest granddaughter Molly), I face the prospect of travel with a fair degree of apprehension. (Oh hell, let's be honest. I'm looking forward to traveling about as much as Sarah Palin would look forward to speaking at a Convention.) 

I cannot say for example, that my visits with the agents of the dreaded Transportation Security Administration bring me any gratification (or at least no more than would a colonoscopy without anesthetic ... and for perhaps the same reasons). Neither can I say that sitting in a seat only slightly larger than an infant car seat while drinking from a plastic glass holding only slightly more liquid than a jello shot is high on my wish list. I likewise find no entertainment in listening once more to the flight attendant instructing me on the complicated procedure of fastening a seat belt that I am obligated to operate if I ride in a car on the way to the airport. As for the potential of bliss from clutching a seat cushion smelling of beer farts to my chest in order to prevent me from drowning, they have better odds of turning the plane into a pleasure boat during a "water landing". 

Of course I can always occupy myself by attempting to count the peanuts or pretzels in a package served by the employee of an airline almost as unhappy as I am to be on the plane (a process which normally takes up to two minutes), or succumb to the temptation to buy overpriced items that I don't need from a catalogue stuffed in the seat pocket for just such a purpose; but real Road Warriors (and those equally fortunate) usually manage to nod off before the plane ever leaves the ground. The greatest challenge of the coming week however, will be once again pitting my skills and training against the dreaded Anti-Destination League

For those of you who have not dealt with the nefarious minions of the ADL (or perhaps have simply failed to realize that you were), these are the people who do everything in their power to prevent anyone from getting anywhere. They slow the security lines by failing to prepare themselves for the personal scan by taking belts or shoes off or their carry-on items for the luggage X-ray, often further amusing themselves by suddenly finding change in their pockets after passing through the scanner twice. 

After doing their worst in the security area, they next attempt impede the progress of passengers by blocking the main aisle of the terminal by simply stopping in the middle of it for no apparent reason while looking about them with the pretense of a vague or idiotic expression on their faces. Having even then failed to prevent travelers from reaching their planes however, they assemble in groups to barricade the gate areas of planes they have no intention of boarding while other people are attempting to do so. 

Should you somehow manage to elude all of this effort and get on your flight, you can bet that when it reaches its final destination you will find them there as well, setting up an effective barrier around the baggage claim belt, appearing to wait for a bag that they never checked in the first place. Of course, having long dealt with the insidious tactics of these evil doers, I am well-skilled in their Dark Side mind tricks and do not so easily fall prey to their schemes. Having not flown in a while however and knowing of the continual adaptation of their evil strategies, I would be a fool not to admit to apprehension as I once more enter the struggle with these villains.

I am likewise convinced that knowing of my past victories against them, they have by now transmitted my reservations out over the internet in their secret code, and my name and picture have been once more been moved near the top of their 'Watch List'. So as I once more prepare for travel, I ask all of you to keep a happy thought for me on Monday (hey, it worked for Peter Pan), in perhaps the vain hope that I will somehow be granted the patience to endure what must be endured and overcome what must be defeated in the timeless struggle that means going back on the road again.

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