Rambling through jet lag

I didn’t get home until about 1:00 AM. I managed to sleep until about 8:30 this morning. Not too bad according to my normal standards.

I don’t have a topic today, but when has that ever stopped me from blogging?

I walked across the street from my hotel in Atlanta to a brew-pub one night. The guys at the front door told me if I wanted a table, to go to a different stand, and tell them. When I went there, I was scooped up by this black dude, who didn’t work there. He grabbed my phone from my pocket and turned it upside down before putting it back. He said he was afraid I was filming him.

He then wanted to introduce me to his sister. Later on he said she was his personal assistant. (She looked like a linebacker, for those who are curious.) She wasn’t particularly interested in whatever his plan was, and left the building. Fills a guy with confidence, let me tell you. I wound up slinking to the bar and sitting there. I watched a baseball game in relative silence, and enjoyed a local brown ale that was very good.

Is there some way to use this encounter in a story? Probably, but I’m not feeling it right now.

The Atlanta Airport has a Carraba’s restaurant. Our Boise version folded during the economic crash several years ago. I enjoyed my favorite scallop and shrimp dish, along with hot fresh bread, and a wonderful Caesar salad for about half what I paid for the Burger and two beers at my hotel. (Love those conference hotels.)

I spent the rest of the evening with this song going through my head:

I worried needlessly. The meal was wonderful, and I’m sorry my wife wasn’t there, because she loves their food too.

People in airports are interesting. They will stop wherever it damned well occurs to them. This includes in the doorway to the men’s room (both directions.) They will stop in a sliding door and block the entire thing from everyone else, and best of all they will stop one foot after they step off the escalator.

Why do passengers think they have to take everything they own as a carry on? There is always someone with a giant purse, a giant suitcase, and a steamer trunk who tries to carry it onto the airplane. Then they get upset on the loading ramp when the crew makes her check most of it.

“Well they didn’t have a problem with it on my last flight.”

The announcer says you are limited to two carry on items, and they have to fit certain size parameters. It’s really pretty common knowledge, and they tell you before boarding the plane.

Southwest Airlines has a unique boarding system. You can sit anywhere you want, but you have to board in order. It works well. If you are in the “A” group you can get a window or an isle seat pretty easily. If you’re in the “C” group, you’re guaranteed a middle seat.

By the time the “C” group boards, it’s gridlock on the loading ramp. Why? Because the “A” & “B” passengers filled every single cubic inch of the overhead bins with crap they never took out once. Everyone else had to check their baggage, and we had to take time for that, on every single flight.

The announcer says, “We are overbooked. Every seat is full.” They offered $300 to three passengers to get bumped to a later flight. When we get on the plane the crew says, “There are only middle seats left, grab the first available one.”

So why is there always some douchebag (always a man) who hunches over his phone with his head against the front seat and refuses to look up? He’s trying not to look at the guy standing next to him who needs that vacant seat. He just knows the steward is lying and there will be one vacant seat, and he’s going to make sure it’s next to him.

I looked at this guy with disdain, and he never looked up. The guy in the next row stood and gestured, so I sat down there. I took great glee when the stewardess tapped the douchebag on the shoulder, made him get up, and seated a 400 pound guy next to him. I hope the douchebag was uncomfortable for the entire flight. I hope the big guy got sweat all over him too.

There is always a woman who refuses to do the “airplane mode” thing with her phone. Whenever the stewardess walks by, she turns it face down in her lap and smiles. What is the deal with that?

When we got off, there was always someone who stored her life’s possessions in an overhead bin that was ten rows behind where she sat. Rather than wait for the plane to empty to the point where she could get her bags, she insisted on swimming upstream against the flow of humanity to retrieve her bag and get off the plane first. She could have sat back down and let the other folks get out of the way. Nope, the world has to stop for her.

I only saw two people reading books. They were both paper; one Western, and one Star Wars. I was the only one reading an ebook, but there was a guy with an electronic graphic novel he was reading. Everyone else watched TV or movies on phones or tablets. Okay, there were a few people working on spreadsheets too.

What does this say about being an author? Do we all need to become screenwriters to see any real success in the 21st century?

Airport fashion is another interesting thing to check. Sweats and grunge seem to be the most popular. Among the crowd who cared, the women seem to prefer jeans tucked into boots. It’s a nice look. I saw a few pairs of nice high heels, but suspect the ones wearing them were actually men.

The baggage carousel is always interesting too. Everyone crowds the area where the bags come out. I always go about halfway around and wait. 30 seconds for my bag to come around isn’t going to kill me. It never fails. Someone will walk in front of me to pick up their suitcase. There could be ten feet clear either side of me, but they must shove me out of the way because I’m likely to steal their bathrobe.

I contacted a bunch of book reviewers today. Hopefully I can get some action going on The Playground. I also sent out a final approval for next week’s radio broadcast. I assembled a guest post I’m hosting too. Then I tweeted out a bunch of stuff, mostly for others, and shared a few things on Facebook. All in all, it’s a pretty weak effort on my part.

I may write up my own character interview for Lisa Burton Radio. I have a ton of questionnaires out, but they aren’t all coming back. If I have one in the bank, I can always post it in an emergency. Maybe Lisa can interview Patty Hall, Roald the Dwarf, or Clovis. Now you know my secret. If one of my own characters shows up, it will be because I had an empty slot.

Another way to spin this is “get your questionnaires back.” This slot is getting some good action, and I want to keep it going. If you don’t yet have a questionnaire, why not? My email address is on that page, and character interviews are a neat way to market your books.


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34 responses to “Rambling through jet lag

  1. Yeah, uh, I still don’t miss flying. Can’t wait to travel, but I don’t love the commercial planes or their passengers.
    I’m one of those people who gets amply buzzed and smoooooth before flying, and then I just sit there trying to breathe until we land. I get all hot and bleh. I sit patiently and wait for the plane to clear out. I don’t even wanna float downstream with the other humans, let alone against them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have the same observations regarding travelers. What was with that guy in the bar?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Being short on funds, I appreciate your airport descriptions. Your observations can go a long way toward some story.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sounds about right for Southwest – I got tired of the cattle call and loading, so I don’t fly with them any more. Hate flying anyway! Good luck adapting to the time difference! Took me two weeks to straighten out after returning from Germany.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Atlanta to Boise isn’t nearly that bad. It’s a couple of hours different, and I’m sure life will be fine tomorrow. SW doesn’t charge to check a bag, so I find the carry on issue confusing. People watching is always fun, and airports are great for that.


  5. I really enjoyed your rantings on airport scenes, Craig. You got me chuckling because it all sounds so absurd, and its all TRUE.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Atlanta used to be filled with southern hospitality. That disappeared about fifty years ago. Sorry you had a rough go on your flight. I don’t understand how rude people can live with themselves. Maybe that’s why everyone is so miserable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually enjoyed it. Watching people is a wonderful thing for an author. The mothers who leash their kids, the stewardess who does the comedy routine while going over the safety speech. It’s all wonderful stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Boarding is never fun. I haven’t flown in so many years when I go to the Writers Police Academy in August I’m sure it’ll be a whole new experience. Did you happen to read a short story I posted a year or so ago, entitled A Stranger Reads My Book? A friend was waiting for his plane to board, and he saw a woman intently reading a novel, her focus glued to the page. When he finally was able to see the author’s name, it was him. Imagine?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The more you fly, the more you learn about making it tolerable. Patience is something you need or you’ll go insane. Being nice to the airline employees gets you very far. I’ve reached the point where I know the layout of every aircraft that I fly on and have my favorite seats on each. I fly about 45 weeks per year.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant observations, Craig! We’ve all sat next to the d…..bag more times than we care to remember, but I’m pleased to know he finally got what was coming. No theme needed for this little travel post… it was perfect as it was, and very good reading. Even though we’ve all got the T-shirt, it is still fun to hear others show us theirs! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your travel experiences brought back a host of similar memories from my last flight. I think I figured out why people drag those oversized bags onto the plane. It’s probably the only bag they have and they don’t want to pay to check it, so they make the rest of us suffer as they try to cram it in an overhead compartment. Ugh!

    And I know I owe you a Lisa post. I am so buried right now it’s a struggle staying afloat. I’ve even neglected my own blog. Hopefully, over the next two weeks I’ll be able to catch up and find some breathing space!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve gotten so tired of US airlines that I’ll now drive 12+ hours rather than fly. I don’t know how you haven’t lost a checked bag – my friends and family have over a 50% loss rate (they usually get the bags back, but can go 2-3 days without clean clothing). In Asia, I’ll check bags without any concern. It’s even possible that US airlines flying internationally don’t lose bags, maybe because there are financial penalties in an international agreement.

    So, when I fly domestic again, I’ll be one of those people with everything in a carry-on, but I know better than to bring a giant one. The airlines could solve carry-on problems by putting dividers in the bins, this space belongs to this seat, problems solved.

    I also avoid US airlines when flying to Asia. The Asian airlines give you much more seat room (despite Asians being much smaller people) and the employees don’t act like they wish you would drop dead. The US should let foreign airlines operate on domestic routes.

    One funny thing about passengers in Malaysia (maybe some other countries, but I remember it from Malaysia for sure): when the plane touches down, they all have to stand in the aisle instantly. Never mind that it takes a while to get to the door, get it open, and then for the people in front to exit. Then, when they get off the plane, they aren’t even in a hurry to get anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ali Isaac

    Oh yes, the joy of airports and air travel, an evil necessity!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Writing Links…4/18/16 – Where Worlds Collide

  14. I wish I could stay in the airport 24 hours and then get miraculously transferred to my destination! I enjoy everything but the flight itself. It always amazes me that some people consciously make their flight experience more difficult than it already is by default. I have nothing to complain about, because my only plan is to get home in one piece, and so far the airlines did the job splendidly.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Writing Links in the 3s and 5…4/19/16 – Where Worlds Collide

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