murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Category: Airplanes

the missed sniglet: travel snobbery

A friend is headed abroad this week, and he texts me that he is (impatiently) waiting out a flight cancellation. Seriously, he tries to blame me for his travel misadventure?…Ha! Those days are long gone for this traveler. I live in the moment when in an airport. The panic of lost luggage, battery depletion on my iPod, missed flights, and even crazy weather are child’s play compared to what I’ve enjoyed.

But his frustration forces reflection on the concept of travel snobbery, a missed 80’s sniglet:

  • You get the call. Flight changed. Forced to rebook with an automated voice machine. (Anxiety begins)
  • This changed flight requires a new plane due to maintenance needs. All signs of making the next plane are unpredictable. (Anxiety increases)  Personally, I like my planes to fly, so I am just happy to be told in advance.
  • Almost to the terminal, but wait, the TSA line is backed up…and these are NOT high priority travelers. These are mixed up, newbie’s in the wrong line. What’s that, travel snob? “The security guard is letting them through anyway. I hate that. I paid for this, and I earned it.”  (Yes, you did, and the newbie’s are laughing their way to your gate before you even remove your shoes.)
  • Before you board, you stop by the fancy-schmancy lounge where woven steel reinforcement and raw timber pillars offer relaxation in a carefree natural environment so you can escape from the real world. Grab that $400 orange with cell phone to ear, and soak up the free WiFi with the other travelers who also seek the “I never stop working” appearance.
  • Seating rearranged. If you are one of those elite, ‘double dog dare platinum ruby diva royal’ frequent travelers, you will still have plenty of time to hoard overhead space for your larger than appropriate suitcase AND carry-on, but uh-oh, a seating snafu places you in the middle seat. The flight attendant can only offer a warm cookie, but he promises to shine those travel loafers. Probably best to just focus on the overhead as the win and bunker down.  (Heart beat increasing, body heat building as the regular joe’s of travel start to board.)
  • Seated. Middle seat. Ok, so this placement becomes critical pending seasonality, duration of flight, size of passenger in A-B and/or C seating.

This is my friend’s current challenge.  A bigger, well, manly man and expert traveler, he has won the middle seat for this particular flight, and he is not thrilled. I am encouraging the brighter side…

  1. You can head-bob in two directions, save yourself the neck pillow purchase AND awaken both fresh and symmetrical….just borrow a neighbor in both directions.
  2. No need for freshening rose spray to moisturize, just lean in for the experience of what an old colleague liked to call “bobo” (body odor). Nothing like the experience of buying airplane scent full of breath, body and stale air.
  3. Enjoy the primary love language of touch each time you cross, uncross, swivel, twist and recline near your new neighbor friends.
  4. Embrace the headphone splitter with both neighbors and get three movies off the list in one fell swoop.
  5. Ask for a tip each time the window guy needs his beverage refilled.
  6. Place your man purse anywhere you like, because well, you are big, and no one will tease you (out loud).
  7. And best yet, engage your aisle neighbor in the standard new traveler questions, such as “What do you do?” “Where are you headed?” “Do you own cats?” each time you need your overhead man purse or a trip to the restroom.

Live in the moment. Make a new friend. Be gentle with the new travelers. Offer to take down an elderly lady’s bag. Look at this as an experiment in a return to the days of ‘regular joe traveler.’ No expense account. No fancy lounge. Just you, a suitcase and a smile.

Cheers to the golden moments of travel misadventure and 80s sniglets.

Mel

qld-tourism-best-job-600x400p/c: learn.burnside.school.nz

* Sniglet is a neologism, popularized by comedian/actor Rich Hall during his tenure on the 1980s HBO comedy series Not Necessarily the News. Each episode of the monthly series featured a regular segment on sniglets, which Hall described as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sniglet)

The only place the head bob is acceptable.

I am currently sitting between flights in Atlanta- as I have done dozens of times before- and I must smile to myself at this silly, unpredictable, loud, over-stimulating, professional, traveling life I purposely chose to leave behind. 🙂

The bald man to my left is doing a full-out head bob asleep in a sunny corner as he awaits his flight. They just called for Nashville. Do I wake him up with sunscreen or the possibility he just missed TN? (And no, I can’t judge the head-bob, as anyone who has flown with me knows I too have placed my sleepy head on many a shoulder, stranger or not. Something about walking on a plane says, Melissa, no one needs you, the phone won’t ring, emails can wait and that darn 4:30am wake up call to get your arse to the airport at all, deserves a catnap.)

The young girl across from me is on the phone and clearly panicked about weather on the East Coast. What about travel misadventure requires her voice to soar an octave higher, quicken and may require a decibel meter reading? Apparently, they are expecting 6-12″. Lol, I still smile. My days of panic are long gone.

Folks are clinging to limited USB ports with wires draped over each other and talking as if old friends while sharing the ports (ironically) to text (not talk) to the people they actually know and love at home.

And is it just me, but is it an addiction when we need the communication medium charged at 100%? Anything less feels like we might lose our connection to the real world.

Even me….using my iPhone to craft this while listening to an old school iTouch with an iPad in my carry bag.

And the people watching in any airport (!!!!), fantabulous! You know what I mean, right? To be fair, I’m here in my fav skinny jeans, a pink shirt, black shortie combat (but cuuuute) boots with hot pink socks, a darling banana republic briefcase and my yoga bag, so while not a fashionista, I have makeup, comfort and weather-appropriate fashion and function for East Coast fun. It is great however to watch the breadth of fashion fun in airports.

Looking around right now…a less than attractive dog attached to a man with gold bracelets, the dog has attracted two young kids (unrelated to the dog or man) and they are petting him backwards (against the grain), the mom (unrelated to both the dog and gold chain man) is well, representative of all moms who bravely travel with small ones….hair frazzled, face slightly contorted, past exhausted and just tired enough to wear silly socks with flip flops and convince herself she can manage two kids, three carry-on bags and a car seat. Man, that is parenting. (And another validation why drugs during childbirth are key- traveling isn’t listed in the “what to expect when you are expecting” book.)

Cheers to parents traveling alone with small ones. I’ve been there, and it is always, always, always harder on the parents than either the kids or the people seated around the kids. Shame on you, professional snooty traveler who scoffs when a baby is near you. Get that parent a cocktail, and I promise the trip will be better for everyone. When my daughter was young, I used to offer to trade with business travelers to be near kids just because the mom needed to know it was ok to fall apart in peace. Thank goodness for computers on planes these days! Crayons, fruit snacks and a teddy bear aren’t the answer. And a shot of Jack, well, that is illegal.

Additionally observations on today’s ATL Concourse T:
– women over 40 should not wear turquoise nail polish or mimic the middle school fourth finger shade change
– how many coffee and bagels can people consume?
– before phones, did we let people know we were safely at the mid stop? (Oh wait, direct flights existed.)
– remember pay phones with sit down booths? And funnier still, the Ethernet line to get internet off the pay phone?
– we went from large ear phones in the 80s to buds to now, these huge Beats? Seriously, is Bieber going to market a boom box over-the-shoulder option soon?
– no one follows the “your carry-on must fit in this display”. Why bother?
– the “herding of cattle” movement toward the door as boarding begins. Enough said.
– is there a speed limit or again, noise limit, on those internal airport motor vehicles? In 25+ years of travel, I have never seen an actual emergency.
– Why is the large electronic sign of departure listings just outside the exit doors causing a jam of frantic, silly travelers trying to find their next gate?
– And finally, no matter how many times I’ve traveled or checked my gate or departure time, I still check it multiple times as if the number has changed in my hand. (Not unlike your number in a fast food restaurant, right? You are 22. Always going to be 22.)

High waters, high heels, cowboy boots, ball caps, backpacks, golf bags, paperbacks and jewelry galore…they do say “life is a journey, not just a destination.”

Safe travels. I have a flight to catch.
Mel

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