I went up to San Mateo today for a meeting about the future of our ebook project, with our partner library, Contra Costa County. It's all good; just some restructuring and redefining roles after some departures from CCCL. But the bad news was that I had to travel in the summer time. I think most people who fly often will agree that summertime travel sucks. So many badly dressed people who have no clue what they're doing. So many people who are unprepared to go through security. So many children who are also clueless because they are traveling with clueless people.
There should be a lane just for frequent travelers. Oakland used to have that lane, but it was on the honor system, and the queues were always shorter, and so people took advantage of it and you'd see 75 year old grandparents in pink cotton capri sweatsuits trying to figure out where they last saw their license, and if maybe they dropped it at church bingo last week. Meanwhile I'm standing with my laptop out of the bag, shoes off, liquids ready, waiting for Myrtle to fish through her stack of Depends for her wallet.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Depends per se. In fact, I wore them for a good 2-3 weeks after Hannah was born. I still think how awesome they are when I sneeze and sort of pee my pants. But seriously. Get your damn license out before you get in line.
And for the love of God, do not wear capri sweatsuits. To start with, anyone under like 5"9' should not be wearing capri pants, period. Very few people can pull them off. They break up the line of your leg at the widest point of your calf. And do not ever wear a velour jumpsuit. Just don't. If I see you in an airport in a velour capri sweatsuit, I will put on a very smug look, and make snarky comments about you. Which I did about the woman herding two children to a dance competition this morning. She had clearly spent hours on her look. Her toenails matched her shirt. Her sandals matched her bag. And she had overhairsprayed the worst short hair style I've ever seen. She put way too much effort into looking like something off of that Toddlers and Tiara's show.
You don't see shit like that in airports during the rest of the year. It's mostly business people who are wearing business attire. People who are in a rush to get somewhere, have a productive meeting, and get home. And do it looking somewhat professional.
Next, have your damn shit together before you get in the security line. Seriously people, it's not that hard. You need your license, or passport if you're traveling internationally. Then, once you get past the security person who checks to make sure that you're on a flight today, you do some fast emptying of stuff, which is much easier if you plan ahead. You put your liquids in a bag. You take the bag out. If you have a laptop you take that out. You take off your shoes. If you're a man, you have a little extra work because you have to take off a belt. I know, for some men this might just push you over your cognitive limits, but if you practice at home, it's not that bad. Empty your pockets. Take off your jacket. Put them all in the nice little bins. Boom, done.
Next, after you go through the scanning machine, please don't stand on the other side of the xray machine getting your shit together. They have chairs and benches for that. You may not realize this, but you're holding up the rest of us, who want to get past you to collect our stuff that is piling up coming out of the xray machine. Please. Just get your stuff, and go.
Now, we're in the airport. We need to check the gate that our flight is leaving from. It's not rocket science. You don't need to stand ten feet away from the monitors blocking the aisles for the rest of us who need to navigate around you like a stone blocking a creek (bring your glasses if you do!). You know where you're going. Look for that city. Then you know what time your flight is. Find it. Done.
Please do not carry giant quilted bags that include pillows stuffed inside for a 45 minute flight. People, overhead space is precious. You don't need your damn pillow. You aren't going to sleep anyway. You know you aren't. You're way too excited to sleep. I can tell. I was behind you in the Starbucks line wondering why the hell you were getting even more caffeine.
Ok, cell phones. I don't care what cousin Harry did to Aunt Joan, and if she's going to be at the family reunion or not. I know you're hard of hearing, so you think everyone else is, and consequently you scream. Stop that. I'm thinking about my meeting. Not your reunion.
Children. Look, I get it. I've traveled with Hannah, once to New Zealand. It's a bitch. And in general, I don't have much of a problem with children if their parents are being responsible about them, and watching them. I'm not their jungle gym. If they try to go through my bag, like the three year old in Oakland did today, and you don't stop them, I swear to God, I will smack them for you. I don't believe in hitting my child. But yours is fair game. A little bit of planning goes a long way. Have some toys. Have some snacks. There are literally hundreds of articles on how to travel with little ones. Google them and read them.
Car rental counters: I don't care if you're from Philadelphia, and neither does the lady behind the counter. Look, I hate to be harsh, but nobody here cares. Really, they don't. It's great that you're excited to see the Pacific Ocean, and I hope you have a great time doing that. But I'm trying to get to a meeting, and I'd like to not have to race across the San Mateo Bridge to get there, so can you please hurry your story up a little bit because the lady behind the counter is wearing a fake smile, and she's too polite to tell you to shut up. I'm not.
Look, the Soup Nazi had a very efficient system going. And during most of the year, those of us who travel for work a lot abide by a list of unspoken rules, and we all get along efficiently. In the summer it all goes haywire, and I really hate it. So until they get airports and planes specially made for frequent travelers, have some respect for those of us who do this all the time. This may be your vacation, but this is our life. We know this airport like we know our own home. You're in our space now, and you should have some respect.
That is all.