“Flying the NOT SO friendly skies”
April 26, 2003
[Warning: some of you may find this Diary offensive. I apologize and suggest you do something else, like watch Fox News or something like that.]
I do a lot of flying. I know the routines and I am as patient as the next person. But I have to draw the line on how some of these airlines do business. Safety, of course, is the number one priority. But what is up with frisking old ladies? I witnessed this at the Melbourne Qantas boarding area. After we’d already been thru the metal detector, we were met with a “random” screener who looks for suspicious people, pulls them out of line and frisks them, as well as scan them with the metal detector AGAIN.
And this lady was certainly suspicious; 5 ft. 4, 110 lbs., 75 years old and wearing a dress…I guess they figured she could have overthrown the crew and crashed the plane. Right. Is it me, or has the airline industry lost their bloody minds? SHE’S A F#CKING OLD WOMAN! Let her get to her seat and get some rest, for crying out loud! I really get sick of the idiotic way this whole terror air alert business is being handled, and, yes, I DO have a better way to run. A SIX-YEAR-OLD could come up with a better way. For one thing, stop frisking old ladies. That’s probably a good start and might save you 30 hours a year of manpower service.
Here’s the OTHER thing that sticks in my craw; former musicians who see my guitar and want to tell me about their old high school band back in kansas city, who just happen to work at customs. I want to get my luggage, you know? I have a work permit and everything they need to know is on it. My passport looks like a stamp collection and my record is cleaner than a Japanese bathroom. But still, some of these people insist on hassling us and asking us really stupid questions. How about this one, which happened to me at LAX last Sept. Keep in mind, I had ALL my Mobile phone accessories stolen from my bag and my guitar case was treated like a Baghdad bunker on a Friday night.
LAX GUY: so, what you play, guitar? ME: (thinking and looking at my GUITAR CASE) yes, i play guitar. LAX GUY: where you coming from? ME: (thinking and looking at my passport that’s stamped in HUGE letters, H-E-A-T-H-R-O-W and looking at my plane ticket that says L-O-N-D-O-N to L-O-S A-G-E-L-E-S) UM, London. LAX GUY: You play in a band? ME: (thinking of saying, “No, I just enjoy hopping planes and taking 11 hour flights back and forth from London to LA and back”) Yes, as a matter of fact I do. How did you know? (I use this one to gauge how stupid he was and I wasn’t disappointed either) LAX GUY: (him laughing) I used to play myself. What kind of guitar is it? A Strat? ME: No, I used to play a Strat, then my dad got a job (ok, I didn’t say that…) Gibson 335, blond. LAX GUY: Well, what’s the name of the group? ME: Love with Arthur Lee LAX GUY: Never heard of you. But then again, I stopped listening to music after Buddy Holly died. (he then chuckles again and I can see he’s got 2 teeth missing) Me: (thinking to myself, why couldn’t this guy have been on that plane instead of Buddy?) Uh, can I get my bags now? LAX GUY: Sure (stamps my book)
That’s a true story and that’s the kind of fools that are working on your behalf at Los Angeles International Airport, where I can pretty much guarantee you 40% of the people who work there read on a 9 grade level or below. But now, since we all need to be protected from the scary terrorist who threaten are wonderful democracy, we now have to be subjected to very un-democratic-like searches, time delays, disorganized organizations (Oxymoron, anyone?) and everything you can think of in between. I don’t buy the excuses that it’s necessary. Sorry. I want smart professionals who know what the heck they are doing.
Take back my measly tax cut (which has already gone to the Oil Industry anyways, via the gas pump) and get rid of these losers. I am sick of my tax dollars being mismanaged in this way. And just because we may spend the next year and a half at war (Until the next President takes over in ’04…Americans aren’t THAT dumb, no matter what the French say!) with Syria, Iran, North Korea or whoever else we feel we gotta let loose on, that doesn’t mean we have to allow ourselves to be treated like farm cattle, compromise our self respect and miss our flights.
I guess I am just fed up with these nuts who run the flying business. And when they can’t run their businesses correctly, they want tax payers to bail them out! How nice! And blame it all on 911 when we all know you sucked before that. And when business is great what do they do but toss huge bonuses to the vice-president and lay off 15,000 workers. Now, i feel for the pilots and stewards and the legit people who are dedicated to doing the best job possible. But i don’t feel one thing for people who throw “fragile” bags and musical instruments around like it’s a football game or something. Or how a friend of mine had ALL HER KNICKERS stolen on a recent trip to London on American Airlines. WHO ARE WATCHING THESE PEOPLE?
If you think I am being unfair, and you know someone at an airline that can show me different, i welcome it. It won’t happen. I can SEE for myself what’s wrong. Hell, YOU can see as well as i can that this is only gonna get worse. Randomly pulling people out of line and searching them. You feel safer? They’ve got everyone so scared that no one can even remember what it was like to be free. See, I’ve always felt the government had been frustrated with democracy. They liked to brag that we had it but, deep down, it drove em crazy because there used to be this thing in the United States called, “Checks and Balances.” That was before Ashcroft took over the Dept. Of Justice (or, the Dept. of “Just Us”) and basically started spoon feeding Americans bite-size snacks of fascism. Now, with 911, Al Qaeda, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia and, hell, even France, they got us right where they want us, which is democracy on THEIR terms; centralized governing and VERY Orwellian-esque suppression of opposing points of views. My big toe would make a better democracy. Get used to it folks; the comfort you once demanded is now mandatory.