|The Friendly Skies|
In spite of the Swine Flu Panic of 2009, or perhaps because of it since I'm such a rebel, I recently took a long-planned trip to Mexico. Everything about the trip was wonderful, the beach the food, the tequila and the perfectly healthy people that I encountered south of the border. The only negative aspect of my trip was getting there and getting back home.
The next time any of you get the idea that government run health care might be a good idea, take a long trip. You will encounter not only government employees who think you work for them but service workers at the airlines who know that anyone who creates a scene in an airport is more than likely going to be carted away in handcuffs rather than getting on an airplane—they feel the power.
I won't mention the airline I traveled by name because I know this has become universal in the airline industry. I asked a simple question about the numbers of bags I could carry aboard and the grumpy egg-shaped lady behind the desk grunted, said something under her breath (probably called me a dumbass) and pointed to a sign that explained in great detail how many bags I could carry on and what size they must be. Geez, how could I have missed such an obvious sign among the seven hundred other signs scattered around the boarding area? Then I handed over the computer generated reservation receipt, my passport and driver's license and was rewarded with a very snotty, "I don't need your driver's license." "Well excuse me," I thought. I wouldn't dare say it aloud out of fear of being carted away in handcuffs.
After my encounter with the ticket Nazi I proceeded to the security checkpoint where I practically had to strip naked to remove any item of clothing that had a trace of metal in it, then put myself through a metal detector only to have the metal snaps on my cargo shorts set off an alarm—I was glad I was wearing a stylish pair of boxers rather than the six-year-old briefs which had long ago lost any elastic properties.
On the return trip I had forty-five minutes to exit the plane, go through customs, declare my souvenirs, which didn't total enough in value to declare, get my checked luggage from the carousel and recheck my bags for some unknown reason, then go through security again, all because I had to change flights in Houston. Needless to say, I missed my flight and ended up hanging around the George Bush Intercontinental Airport for four hours. They could have gone through my suitcase in Cleveland just as easily as they did in Houston and still probably wouldn't have found the Cuban cigars.