Opinion » Pique'n Yer Interest

Fight or flight



The ability to fly from Vancouver to Europe in less time than it takes to drive to Nelson is kind of amazing when you take a step back and look at the big picture.

Now take a step forward, crossing the threshold into the reality that are those tainted meat packaging and processing centres we call airports, and I think we can all agree that flying these days is pretty much the worst thing in the history of bad things, ever.

To fly in this day and age is to be degraded as a human being. It's to have your time deliberately wasted, your patience tested, your body invaded and contorted, your internal systems bombarded by pathogens, your possessions lost and shattered into fragments.

I've been bumped from flights. I've had flights cancelled on me. I've been scheduled for layovers that last half a day, only to find out my luggage was lost anyway. I've been pulled aside for random searches that almost made me late for my flight. I've been hit on the head by someone's third piece of oversized carry-on luggage. I've been passed out upon by drunk/exhausted flyers. I've been squished between people simply too large for ever-shrinking airplane seats, on planes that have been reconfigured for quantity over quality. I've had my Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife confiscated, my asthma inhaler disassembled, liquids poured out, my hands swabbed, my body x-rayed with high levels of radiation and stripped naked by visualization technology so good you can actually tell which testicle hangs lower.

I recently flew to Winnipeg for a family function. On the flight out, the stewardess told my wife and I, unasked, that we should have another child because only children "don't do well" — and apparently she knows my daughter is doomed because she's really a Kindergarten teacher who just happened to be working as a stewardess on a Wednesday. To cap it off, she went on the intercom after the flight landed and said something like, "The couple in the fifth row doesn't know if they should have another child? What do you think everybody!"

Did I mention that my in-laws were in the row behind me, and have also expressed an interest in more grandchildren? I was livid.

In the end I kept my mouth shut, but I was seriously tempted to pull her quietly aside on the way out and be mean. I was going to lie to her and tell her that my wife can't physically have any more children and is very distraught about it, and thanks a lot for opening old wounds. This would have accomplished two important things — A) ruining the rest of her day, which she deserved, and B) teaching her a value lesson about boundaries.

On the way back from Winnipeg we were subjected to a flight attendant's very annoying impersonation of a very annoying person that went on far too long to be funny. Then my wife, daughter and I spent the flight separated because we booked on different dates, but they wouldn't put us together in one of the empty front seats because those empty seats are apparently premium in some way even though they were exactly the same size — read: small — as every other seat crammed onto the plane.