Do Not Go Quietly Into The Suck

I fly. Not in the good way, with dragons wings, LSD, or my own bushplane. I fly in the bad way, on commercial airlines.

Commercial flight is a relentless circular firing squad that starts with TSA fondling my balls and ends when I’m infuriated and hollow; slumped across the car rental counter discovering my reservation has vanished and now I’ll have time to wait for my lost luggage because the last car was rented to someone who fled the terminal five minutes ago. The degree and complexity of many little annoyances is awe inspiring. It takes work to devolve transport into something so deeply unpleasant.

I once liked flying. (Anything that has engines the size of a Japanese apartment is pretty cool.) Oh to be so young and impervious again. Over time commercial flight went from mildly inconvenient to insufferable. I it wasn’t any particular indignity that made the difference. It was the aggregation of them.

Also, it was me. I changed. I came to believe that free citizens simply shouldn’t be treated in certain ways. Further, I began to think that my submission to a system’s mistreatment reflected as poorly on me as the system.

My last straw was the “perv scan”. I’m not particularly worried about somebody seeing my naked ass but I am very worried about Americans being trained to walk through machines. Are people who, like trained poodles, jump through hoops on order… diminished? I think they are.

“[A] long train of abuses and usurpations”. It’s of a kind if very minor in degree. I don’t want to go overboard. TSA is nothing like the real and horrible oppression that is the lot of so many. Nor is shuffling citizens through a reverse orgasmitron a bullet to the head or starvation in the Gulag.

What it is, however, is training. You train people to eat shit before you serve it.

So I cut way back on commercial air flight. For a few years I cut it to zero. (Good for me!) It made a difference. I was pleased to have avoided one of the modern world’s annoyances.

Alas air travel is a natural monopoly. (My truck can’t drive to Norway or cross six time zones in a day.) I backslid. Here I am; eating shit. Again. Dammit!

I wondered the last time I was so royally pissed off with flight. Turns out I blogged about it in 2010; “I’m in the clutches of that great Kafkaesque clusterfuck called air travel. Nothing can save me.

Same shit, different day.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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8 Responses to Do Not Go Quietly Into The Suck

  1. RD says:

    I agree! Between the TSA and the stupid boarding strategies and all the standing in line airline travel is now something to dread rather than look forward to. And don’t get me started on those new and improved airline seats designed only to fit anorexic midget ballerinas!

  2. Mike_C says:

    So. I’m still recovering from a round trip, on cramped Embraer E145s for all four legs, connecting through the hell of Newark/EWR both ways for good measure. The TSA in Origin City, a small regional airport, were uniformly civil and human, while several of those in Destination City, a large national hub, were, let’s just say less pleasant. However in both places, the agent at the end of the nekkid scanner now no longer asks whether he can pat down that oh-so-suspicious thigh pocket, or even whether he can check the waistband of my pants (because weird scary fastex buckle). They now just presume they can touch you.

    Oh, to ice the cake, at Destination City the harridan manning (womanning) the checkpoint began the usual harangue about making sure your carry-on stuff goes into the maw of the scanner before submitting to nekkid scanning with “Don’t walk off without pushing your things into the x-ray,” but then freestyled it with “You all need to learn to take responsibility for your own lives.” Sprinkles on the icing? Yew betcha. Agent Harridan was sweetly solicitous to persons who appeared to belong to her own ethnic group, but shouty at people from other groups, including me and the two white guys with high-and-tight haircuts right behind me. Social progress of a sort, I guess: we’ve expanded the racist-@$$hole franchise. (To be fair, this paragraph is not about an uniquely TSA problem.)

  3. Morris says:

    “I came to believe that free citizens simply shouldn’t be treated in certain ways.”

    Indeed, it’s now become not much better than transporting cattle..

  4. Ro says:

    We used to visit the US frequently, we live the other side of the pond, because not only do you have some of the most stunning wildlife and scenery but the people are, on the whole, very friendly and polite. We’re big fans of the US, well until the arrival of the TSA that is. They had my son, aged 6, who is autistic, pinned to the wall whilst they searched him. He was terrified and I was forced to look on helpless. Until the demise of this SS lookalike we will never again visit the US. They are an utter disgrace to the American people.
    To illustrate the difference, last year we went to Israel, diving in the Red Sea. We were in our hire car in less than an hour from landing with no harrasment by uniformed goons. If a country with a history of being attacked as they can manage this then it certainly should be possible for the US to do it.
    One last note, whilst they were sexually assaulting my son I also saw them force a paraplegic to me lifted from her chair to be searched.
    I never thought I would see the US government act so cowardly, nor ever see the US public accept it so cravenly!

  5. Titan Mk6B says:

    I quit flying for vacation and bought a travel trailer. Best thing I ever did. Takes a little longer to get there but it’s not really a down side because there is usually a lot to see along the way. Sure it cost a little more for gas than the airfare but it is not that much more when it’s just my wife and I. We often travel with two or more other people and then coupled with the savings of not renting a motel room(s) we are traveling cheap. I can stay in some truly spectacular places where hotels or motels don’t exist and can fix whatever meal I want. Cold beer is always in the refridgerator.

    I really do miss flying because I absolutely love the magical machine an airplane is. I also enjoy seeing the earth from that viewpoint but it seems everyone agrees it simply is not worth it anymore.

    • I have pondered getting a travel trailer myself. Maybe a used but spiffy little airstream is lonely somewhere and it needs to be adopted? I also like the idea of a trailer that’s always packed rather than packing for each trip separately and dragging luggage through a zillion hotels and rental car trunks. Plus, every time I fly I misplace my jackknife and that annoys me.

      Given America’s near miraculous highway system, a travel trailer is probably way more fun than nearly any other travel method. (Motorcycle excepted.) The fly in the ointment is work travel. Employers tend to prefer planes, I’m not sure why. They seem to get antsy about long drives even if the cost is less. It seems like a subjective bias that can’t be fully explained in terms of economics. One of the mysteries of the universe I haven’t yet figured out.

  6. PJ says:

    Seriously? I didn’t think anybody was flying any more.

    • When I have to get from point A to point B in a big rush… well even then it sucks. You’re right! The point of failure is the definition of “have to” and “rush”. I think I shall revisit both terms and leave TSA at the curb again.

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