[Originally posted November 2010]

In the past seven days, I have spent four of them on a plane. That’s a bullshit ratio by any measure. Well, that’s not entirely true. That’s probably a pretty good week if you’re a pilot or a flight crew member.

flight crew

About these flight crews… is there a more fickle profession on this earth (30,000 feet above this earth)? When I was a kid, I remember them being referred to as “air hosts and hostesses”. It was a nice term – a host. It sounded nice. You felt welcomed, as if the plane was some place grand and you had a smiling, caring person who’d pamper you on your airborne adventure. Then, somewhere along the way, they got turned into “flight stewards and stewardesses”. What the fuck was wrong with “host”? I was enjoying “host”! But whatever, clearly as a “steward”, they were now focusing on the plane as opposed to the customer. They’re caring for the plane now, not you and your loud, obnoxious kid in the 15th row. They’re there to protect the plane now. Not you. Now they’re there to make sure you don’t fire up a butt in the bathroom.

Then at some point, they became “flight attendants”. Now all they’re doing is attending to you. They’ll only pay attention to you if you call on them. It’s now based on what you need. “What you do want now!” How the fuck did we get here from all the pampering?!

And now, they’re “flight crew”. Crew = “I only work here, don’t bother me”. Just awesome. And meanwhile, their job hasn’t really changed that much, has it. 50 years ago ‘til now, it’s still the same basic thing. You show me where the exits are, you hand out some flat soda in a plastic dixie cup, and on longer flights, sometimes you’ll unclog the toilet because fat Billy in seat 35E dropped a massive deuce as a result of stuffing his face full of overpriced nachos made from multi-colored plastic by-products. It’s the same shit and you’ve changed your job title at least FOUR times. What’s the matter with you people.

pillow at airport

And speaking of the matter with people, what the fuck is up with girls who travel with pillows? What the fuck is that about? I’m not being rhetorical – I really want to know what the hell is up with these teenage girls who show up at the airport hauling around these massive pillows and a backpack. And without exception, every one of them will be wearing flannel pyjama bottoms. What’s with the pillows and the pyjama bottoms? WHY ARE YOU CARRYING YOUR PILLOW AROUND IN PUBLIC?! I wish I had more to add to this, but I don’t. It’s really confounding to me.

old lady

Slightly less confounding, but no less irritating are old people at the airport. Old people are mean. But there’s something about flying that makes old people turn evil. Old people at airports and on planes are the most evil people on earth. Pure, unadulterated, bottled-at-the-source evil. But not the kind of evil that will get you killed. It’s the kind of evil that’s so sinister that it’s like a woodpecker trying to work its way to your spleen through your ass. A succession of small things here and there that’ll piss you off.

I once put the armrest on my seat up because there was no one sitting next to me. Let my fat ass out a bit, that sort of thing. I put the arm rest up, and right back down it came. I thought it was loose, I just put it up again. Bang! Down it came again. I look behind, and this Bea Arthur-looking witch squinted at me, and growled, “Put that down, I don’t like it there!” I was pretty sure that if I challenged her on this, she was going summon Gozer.

Then yesterday, I see six old people board one of these electric carts. The sort they have at the airport to help folks get around the different terminals at the airport. One of the six held up her ticket to the driver and crowed, “Are we going to get there by 8 o’clock?” It was ten to 7. “You better get moving!” she ordered the driver. Calm the fuck down, you mean old git.

And of course, the icing on the cake was this massive Jabba-like old guy with a cane getting on board my flight back to New York. Somehow with a cane, he still managed a certain slithering motion when he walked. Not a hobbling one like I’d expect of someone with a cane. Creeped me the fuck out. I’m in my seat on the plane already, and I see this blob with a stick pushing people out of the way coming down the narrow aisle. That’s quite a douchebag, I think. Well, wouldn’t you know – he walks right up to me, points his shiny cane at the guy behind me and his six chins jiggle out, “That’s my seat, you’re in my seat, that’s my seat, I’m sitting there, that’s my seat.” Really? Are you sure it’s your seat? You don’t sound sure, you bitter blob. So he gets that person booted, then proceeds to shake my shit out of my seat because he’s far too large to wedge himself into that tiny coach seat. Once he’s sufficiently stuffed in there, he spends the remainder of the flight knocking his cane into my seat, driving his fat, bloated knees into my seat, banging on the tray, and pretty much fidgeting with everything around him to become the single-most annoying geezer on the plane.

The thing is, I can’t bring myself to pick a fight with old people. Maybe it’s my upbringing. Or my general aversion to conflict. But old people have an upper-hand on me. No matter how big of an asshole an old person can be, I will almost never put up a fight with them. And this is what makes me hate mean old people even more.