The Return of the Travelogue

Travel is fun. Really it is.

May 5, 2010. The trip to Minneapolis was an event-filled one. A couple “never before” things and a one “all too often” occurrence.

I was disappointed that the Corner Bakery in the G concourse was replaced by some generic place. I missed my chance at a cinnamon crumb muffin. We boarded our American Eagle regional jet on time for our 7:20 departure. As I entered the aircraft I was met by a friendly flight attendant who offered hang my suit jacket. I had already emptied my pockets in preparation to stuff it into the overhead bin (I’d actually worn an older suit specifically for that reason), so I gladly accepted her offer and settled into my 1D seat.

As the rest of the plane boarded, I stuck my nose into the newspaper but eventually noticed that the attendant was making the same offer to many, many travelers. The trip was a little longer than expected as we fought a fierce headwind, but was otherwise normal until we started to taxi to the gate. At that point the flight attendant announced to no one in particular, “I have 25 coats on only 5 hangers. How am I going to keep this straight?”

It’s dark and I get handed a coat that looks right, put it on and it fits and I walk off. Of course, it’s the wrong coat, but I don’t realize that until we get to the client and see it in the bright light of day. It was a nice jacket—much better than the dumpy old, worn suit jacket I started with.

After a few phone calls, I find out that American has my coat and we arrange an exchange. It all works out, but it was exciting for a few minutes. I consider it a minor miracle on many levels. It’s interesting that none of it would have happened if a) I’d have followed my normal instinct and just thrown it in the overhead bin, b) it wouldn’t have fit me like a glove, c) the coat’s owner would have left something, anything in the pockets, because I checked and had completely emptied my own prior to giving it up.

While waiting for our outbound flight that same afternoon, I visit the men’s room*, where I encounter a guy on his cell phone while at the urinal. He’s not using a Bluetooth like most tinkling talkers do. No, he’s got it pinned between his cheek and his shoulder. As he finishes his business and goes to zip up, the shoulder leaves the cheek and down goes the phone, directly into the urinal. Bulls eye. He even yelled at the phone as it was falling into the flushing bowl! I didn’t hang around to see if or how he was going to fish it out of there. That would have been amusing, I’m sure.

I’m not at the top of the airline food chain, but I’m pretty high up. As a result a few people can board before me, but not many. I’ve got a nice seat today, 15F—exit row window. As I walk down the aisle, I see that there are two people sitting in 15E. Sorry, it’s one person that was as big as two people should be. It was not clear to me that his rump was actually hitting the seat, because he was so securely wedged between the armrests. This, of course, left me to be pinned between the “men” sitting in 15E and the airframe. I’m not small, but I feel like I can make myself small. This was a space in which an 8-yr old could not have fit comfortably.

And the joys of traveling are revealed once again.

* UPDATE:  No, this was not the Senator Larry Craig Memorial “Toe-tapping” Men’s Room.  That’s on the main concourse.  My visit was to one with the E gates.

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