Thoughts on a Plane: Proposed Social Contract for Air Travel

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As Queen, I would like the world to adopt a social contract for air travel.  I hereby propose the following tenets for the contract.

1.  Move through check-in, security, and the Starbuck’s line as quickly as possible.  Move with purpose, people!

To be perfectly clear, this tenet instructs you to remove your shoes, take your laptop out of your ginormous “carryon” (If you fit in your carryon, it’s not a carryon!), empty your pockets, and take off your jacket in the security line before your turn at the conveyor belt.  Know the airline rules for checked and unchecked bags in order to avoid hissy fits (which take time) at check-in, and, for God’s sake, decide which complicated latte you would like from Starbucks before standing in front of the register displaying to the whole world that you are, in fact, a mouth-breather.

2.  Follow common sense when boarding.  If you are the last zone to board, keep the path to the gate clear for other passengers.  Know which seat you are assigned before stepping on the plane.  And, if you board last, simply shove your carryon under the seat in front of you rather than opening all the overhead bins in search of space.  Miracles don’t happen in the overhead bins, people.  Trust me, if you are last, the bins are all full.  (See #1 about doing things quickly!)

Case in point from my most recent air travel experience:

“Are the seats assigned or do I have to choose?” asked the last passenger to board my full flight from South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina (en route to New Jersey) last week.

The passenger seated next to me showed the idiot woman where to look for her seat assignment on her boarding pass.  Considering only one seat on the entire plane was available, I think a faster solution would have been to tell the moron to sit in the one open seat, which was also right next to where she was standing.

“God, please don’t let this plane crash,” I prayed silently.  “I don’t want to die surrounded by such stupid people.”

At this point I looked up to see the tattooed and milky white belly of the stupid woman.  She was looking for a place to put her carryon and began to panic unaware, I hope, that her fish-belly white stomach was inches from my face.

“All of these are full!” she screeched, “what am I supposed to do?”

The kind passenger offered, “You can place it under the seat in front of you.”

“On the floor?”  More screeching, more panicking, more desire to kick her burning inside of me.

After whining to the flight attendant, “Why can’t someone move their stuff so I don’t have to put my purse on the floor?” the idiot finally sat down and placed her bag under the seat in front of her.

Seriously, was this her first time on a plane?  This contract is obviously necessary!

3.  Do everything the flight attendants and pilots tell you to do, no matter if their instructions seem silly.  You are not that special.  The rules do apply to you!

A few minutes after takeoff on this same flight, the pilot announced that due to rough turbulence, everyone was to remain seated for the duration of the 20-minute flight.  Just in case someone in the tiny plane didn’t hear the booming message, the flight attendant then got on the loud speaker to repeat the pilot’s message.  Immediately following the second-verse-same-as-the-first announcement, the woman across the aisle from me stands up and starts to walk to the back of the plane.  (I apparently was seated in the dumbass section.)

“Ma’am,” says the attendant over the loud speaker, “Please sit down.”

“Oh, I just need to use the Lady’s Room real quick,” the woman responded.

After a few tense moments between the attendant and idiot #2 via loudspeaker, the woman decided she could wait until Charlotte.  In my mind, I could see the headline:  Flight Makes Emergency Landing Because Woman Couldn’t Hold It!

3.  Unless you are on a flight to Vegas, library noise rules apply.  Use your inside-voice when speaking is absolutely necessary, and always, always use headphones.

This tenet would help me resist the urge to kick the seat of the man in front of me who chatted loudly to the woman next to him for the duration of my flight from Charlotte to Newark.  If implemented, I would also not have had to hear a man yell into his blue tooth device from the waiting area, all the way down the ramp, and to the back of the plane that, “My wife sucks!  She’s evil and she sucks!”  I know with the blue tooth that you appear to be in your own little world, but you are not.  You are in a shared space.  We don’t want to share your divorce drama.

4.  And finally, when the plane lands, as soon as the fasten seatbelt light goes off, get your ass off the plane as quickly as possible.  It’s hot, the woman next to me smells, and the man in front of me is still talking!

This seems to be a simple enough contract to follow.  I would like it implemented immediately.  If you would like any additions or omissions made, feel free to propose changes in the comment section below.

Happy traveling!


I Dream of Chili Part 2!

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Just in time for Jay’s recent homecoming and only two days after I placed the order, a large insulated box containing six perfectly frozen pints of Ben’s Chili Sauce was delivered to my house.  I thawed one pint of the savory sauce, grilled a few beef brats, diced an onion, and baked a couple of handfuls of Tater Tots (another of Jay’s favorites).  Add a hot dog bun or two, a little mustard, and voila:  Ben’s Chili Bowl was recreated in my own kitchen for my favorite loyal subject!  Cost of chili dog bliss:  $54.00 (6 pints of chili sauce plus FedEx climate controlled shipping).  For the smile that appeared on his face with the first bite, I would have paid much more.

And why would I cook and then consume such a meal knowing that this action would require an extra hour of torturous exercise? Sometimes I like to remind my most loyal subject that he serves in the court of the coolest Queen on the planet!  Now, if you will all join me in singing the chorus of What I Did for Love from A Chorus Line.  (Maybe a good show tune will inspire me to dance off some calories.)  All together now.  And a one and a two and a three…

I Dream of Chili!

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Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip to D.C.  Over the four days spent exploring the city, we toured museums, became overwhelmed at Arlington Cemetery, shopped ‘till we nearly dropped, and ate our way through D.C.’s impressive dining scene.  We tried restaurants both fabulous and forgettable, but one meal still floats through my dreams.

On our third morning, we took the Metro to the Arlington Station.  We headed back towards D.C. on foot across the Potomac.  We toured nearly every monument and memorial between the riverfront and the Smithsonian museums.  After being tempted to punch a woman who thought it appropriate to drape herself across the Vietnam Women’s Memorial as if auditioning for America’s Next Top Model, soaking up the celebratory atmosphere at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, and touring the immense World War II Memorial, Jay and I were ready for lunch.  We had walked at least a zillion miles and had earned a tasty meal!

We hopped back on the Metro and headed north to U Street.  (My feet were extremely grateful for the 10-minute rest on the train.)  As we stepped off the escalator, we looked across U Street to see our destination:  Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Thanks to a lifetime of loving Bill Cosby and, most recently, paying attention to President Obama’s inauguration, I had been tipped off to the wonderful delights of Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Jay, on the other hand, had never heard of the place and wondered why we should bother leaving one area rich with dining options to go to an entirely different part of the city just for lunch.  Once I told Jay that we were to have what Bill Cosby claims is the best chili dog in the world, he was game.  (And I win the Wife of the Year prize for suggesting chili dogs for lunch!)

Ben’s Chili Bowl did not disappoint!  Reasons why I love, love, love this place:

  1. The chili sauce is hands down the most delicious chili I have ever had!  Slightly spicy, slightly sweet, completely savory!  (I am a little sad at how much better this chili is than my own.  My ego is bruised.)
  2. For only $5.70 you can have 1/4lb. half pork and beef smoked sausage topped with mustard, onions and chili sauce.  (If you are concerned that one dog will not be enough, I recommend sharing an order of chili fries with your group.  They are delicious, but finishing that much food on your own would be a monumental task.)
  3. The staff is super friendly and did not treat me like an idiot when I asked, “What is a half smoke?”  (A half smoke is half pork, half beef smoked sausage.  I felt kind of stupid after asking the question.)
  4. Even though the line is always long, it moves fast!  You will be feasting on your chilidog in no time!
  5. The owner obviously has a sense of humor.  I found the “healthy choices” section of the menu hysterical.  This is not a place you go for good health.
  6. I can order the chili sauce and half smokes online and enjoy all the deliciousness at home!  (Guess what Jay’s next birthday dinner is going to be?

So, the next time you find yourself in D.C. put your diet on hold for a day and head to Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Trust me, you will be dreaming of chili, too.