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.