On Airports and Noise Pollution

T-Minus 20 something hours until GenCon!

As I write this, I’m sitting with Grant at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. As ABIA is one of the last airports in the free world to not offer free Wi-Fi to the poor souls trapped within its confines, it’s likely that I will not post this until we arrive in Indianapolis. However, as airports offer some of the best opportunities on Earth for people watching and reflective thought, coupled with the challenge of whether or not I’ll be able to finish writing this before my battery dies, I feel compelled to write down my thoughts before they are deemed a danger to national security and whisked away by the TSA.

– I do not like flying. I’m not afraid of it, but I find it incredibly stressful. Airports by their very nature seem to exist to drain the happiness from my immortal soul. As a child living abroad, I registered by displeasure for flying by developing the unfortunate tendency to become ill when placed on or near an airplane. At last count, I believe I’ve thrown up in at least 12 different countries. The result of this is that I fly as little as possible, and when I do travel I prefer to do it by car. Unfortunately I don’t like driving either, but that’s another story. I’m really looking forward to the day when we can travel either by teleportation, or when air travel will involve the sleeping pods the used in The 5th Element. That will be green. Super, super green.

– In regards to the TSA, I realize that they’re just doing their job, and that their ultimate goal is to keep us safe (I think anyway). However, that does not change the fact that 1) Their job sucks and 2) No airport seems to follow the same security procedures. That kind of inconsistency is neither good for morale, nor confidence that any of them know what they’re doing. The team at ABIA used to be pretty good, but the seemed to have denigrated into a unit fraught with bureaucratic delay and overall ineptitude. It could be because it’s hot out, I didn’t sleep very well last night, and I’m at least 50% crabby whenever I step into an airport to begin with, but today’s security check made me want to headbutt their radar machine that is probably warping my brain cells. Furthermore, the machine detected an anomaly right below my belt line, even though I wasn’t wearing a belt. As a result, I was the recipient of a somewhat intimate pat down while wondering if I’d grown a tumor on my posterior. If that’s the case, then the last people I want on this Earth diagnosing me is the TSA. They’d probably declare any abnormal growths to be weapons of mass destruction, and insist that I return to the United counter to check my ass through to my final destination.

– Kids are really, really loud. Especially if you’re trying to take a nap at your gate. I’ve long accepted this as a universal truth. However, upon further reflection, it seems like parents who have noisy kids are also abnormally loud themselves in public places. Today this was evidenced by the father who organized an impromptu 10 yard dash for his kids at the gate directly behind me. I appreciate that the spirit of the Olympic Games persists even though the torch has been extinguished, but please, shut up. I don’t expect your kids to sit quietly, especially given the example they’ve been given to follow, but adults should not add fuel to the fire. The most horrifying part of all of this is that we’re not even on the plane yet, and I already find myself looking for the emergency exit. Thankfully the first leg of this journey is a quick 30 minute flight to Houston, during which I will likely pump the loudest music I have through my headphones. I can only pray that this family isn’t going to Indianapolis as well. Should that be the case, I will probably end my journey early, and will need someone to pick me up from the Houston airport. Jason, I’m looking at you.

Tangent: One of the kids is now running around with a sippy cup and without a shirt on. You know you’re in Texas when…

In retrospect, I’m a grouchy mofo at the airport. I’m not going to apologize for that; I’ll just blame genetics. I don’t actually think that either of my parents share my hatred of flying, but we’ll assume for argument’s sake that one or more of my grandparents does. I’m very much looking forward to arriving in Indianapolis, where the dice will flow like a sweet wine in a summer vineyard. Until then, I will continue my journey undaunted, with Grant at my side and my killer instinct fully engaged.

Tangent: Can you check a kid in a pet carrier? If so, how much does that cost? I’m more than willing to cover the cost if that’s an option.

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