Or "Flying the Unfriendly Skies." Today's trip to Tampa started off really badly. In fact, I'd say it was one of the most annoying flying days I've ever had, topping the 6-hour wait in an employee lounge at Ontario's airport when I was 10. (Keep in mind that 15 years ago, Ontario's airport was an un-air-conditioned little rat hole worthy of being called third world.)
It started with getting stuck in traffic on my way to the airport this morning. I know, 8AM on I-15 in Salt Lake County is going to crawl going northbound. I probably should've left about 15 minutes earlier. This turned a 25-minute trip to the airport into an almost hour-long ordeal, leaving me with a lot less time in my budget than I had planned on. I, however, am slick. I packed in carry-ons so that I could just go straight to the line with no checked bags.
The TSA, however, had other plans. Even though I had packed everything in the little plastic baggie and checked both my toothpaste and deodorant for their volume, I didn't check my cologne. It ended up being 4.2 ounces, well over the 3-ounce limit they've imposed. (I'd rant about how stupid airport "security" is, but that's another topic for another day.) With 50 minutes until departure and an ever-growing line behind me, darting downstairs to check the bag didn't seem like it would be a feasible option. I had no choice but to give up my stuff to the feds. To add insult to injury, my belt tripped the metal detector for the first time in, oh, about 40+ flights. They made me feel like I was some kind of jihadist looking to kill people.
Then we have the actual flight. Instead of the 757s I'm used to, this flight was on a smaller 737 so it had a little less space to work with. The inflight movie was that dumb Talladega Nights crapfest (sorry fans, but Will Ferrell usually sucks), so I thought I'd bust out my laptop for my own in-flight movie. I'd been itching to see The Nightmare Before Christmas and had loaded it onto the laptop just this morning. About 45 minutes into it, the battery declares that it's done enough work for the day, leaving me in the middle of both the movie I wanted to watch and the one I was trying to avoid. I gave up and watched the rest of the in-flight movie (which, as I suspected, was lame).
The entire time, some hyperactive kid behind me just couldn't keep from kicking the seat. Parents, if you are on an airplane with your child and he or she decides that the airliner is their own personal jungle gym, please pull out the roll of duct tape (you did put that in your carry-on, right?) and exercise a little parental authority. No, I mean it. Tie the little snot up if you have to, just don't annoy the crap out of the rest of the passengers. I'm sure Dave Barry would fully endorse this stance.
About the only consolation on the flight was that it wasn't full and I had an empty seat next to me, leaving me free to stretch out just a little bit. But not my legs. For some inane reason, Delta actually has less space under the seats than does Southwest. My laptop bag won't fully slide under the seat in front of me, leaving me to find a way to reposition my legs about every thirty seconds to keep them from going numb.
After getting off of the flying metal tormentor, things started looking up. My rental car was upgraded by one class for free. (It's a Pontiac G6, if you were curious. Vroom.) The hotel is only about 5 minutes from the airport, so I didn't have to follow some dumb and confusing directions. And I got a great recommendation for dinner from someone at the hotel. If you're in Tampa, Champps is pretty tasty. They even had live music and the covers didn't stink.
Then I came back and started using the hotel's WiFi to try and do a little work. Uh-oh… looks like it won't let me connect to the office remotely. Strike one. It's timing out a lot. Strike two. I can't send myself the blog entry I typed on my Palm because the battery is too low. Guess I have to transcribe it. Strike three. I'm out.