December 20th, 2006

default, pepper

Notes from the living room

A few observations about the flights:

  • I’ve taken at least two plane trips a year every year since the mid-’90s, and — from a traveler’s perspective — the TSA beats the snot out of the private firms they replaced. With the mall security types before this, it was rare to get a screener who didn’t seem resentful. (Who were you to make his life difficult by trying to get on a plane?) TSA staff tends to be professional, usually courteous, and despite the perception that they’re making you jump through more hoops, the lines move faster.

  • This is the first time I’ve flown Southwest in years. I used to always go to them as my first choice for monetary reasons, but more recently I’ve been picking American Airlines when I can (for their slightly better leg room). The trip I took to AnthroCon in Pittsburgh I took on Midwest Express, and that one round trip was enough to make them my “choose whenever available” airline, particularly when they have their “Signature Service” flights available. (Think first-class seats throughout the plane, although no, alcohol isn’t free.)

  • Having said that, leg room ain’t everything. I took only two flights, but as it turns out, with three stops. The first leg of the second flight, from LAX to Kansas City, was spent next to a loud Italian guy complaining about this not being a direct flight because direct means nonstop. (“This would never happen in my country,” he said. Okay, I’m no world traveller, but I’m reasonably sure that flying between the two farthest-apart airports in Italy is not quite as long a trip.) For the second leg, I moved up to the very first row of the aircraft. Leg room—but a man whose shoulders were a bit wider than the seat to my left sat down next to me, making it slightly crowded anyway.

Of course, it’s been a few days since I’ve been here. My mother and her friend (and remodeling contractor) Mark are out buying new things for the bathroom remodel he’s working on. Strictly speaking, this isn’t the first quiet moment I’ve had since I’ve arrived, but it feels like it is. Mom tends to be going a lot, and she doesn’t have much truck with this whole silence thing. I’m afraid I still have some Christmas shopping to do and it’s being an effort to carve out enough time to go get it done. I’m hoping for today, although there’s the mild dilemma at the moment that, of course, Mark and mom are out in her car, which I would need to borrow to go anywhere.

The difference in climate between San Jose and the Tampa area manages to take me by surprise every visit back now. As I write this, it’s 36 out there, and 76 here; the high there is going to be about 60 and the high here is going to be about 80.

At any rate, even though I don’t have anywhere to go yet and can’t go anywhere yet, I feel like it’s time to get ready to go. How’s that for coyote logic?

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