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Chasing The American Dream

March 19, 2005


Left my laptop home for the first time in 10 years. Forgot to bring my two writing projects with me. So I just started observing, grabbed my pad and pen and started writing a stream of consciousness…

Thursday, 3/16 10:30 a.m Ft Lauderdale Airport
I’m waiting in a tremendously long line. Flying American Airlines for the first time in eons. Am unimpressed. There are hundreds of people in this line. It’s supposed to be a line for eTickets only. How can their be *this* many people in this line? The lines are confusing. There are only 6 self-service kiosks and 2 of them are closed. There is not an AA employee in sight to unravel all this confusion.

Look at these people, will ya? You can tell who was running late for the airport. The women have their hair pulled back in a bun. The men have on hats or just go with the bad hair day look. I’m not sure how these women let their men outta the house dressed like that. This dude in front of me’s wearing blue slacks, a purple shirt, and a suede tan blazer from the ‘50s.

This line is barely moving. A lot of people are gonna be late, including me. The pain and impatience on people’s faces are clearly evident. This is how you lose customers. I’ve already concluded that American sux. 11:05. I finally get my boarding pass. 35 minutes and I didn’t even have to check bags.

Now waiting in the security line. They just checked my ID for the third time. Going thru now…
…I’m so glad it doesn’t matter if you wear steel-toed shit-kicker Cowboy Boots or a pair of Nike sneakers cuz, either way, you shoes must come off. I wear sneakers thinking it’s gonna save me time going thru security. Nope. Don’t’ get me wrong, I’m all for safety precautions, but there’s *got* to be a better way than to have to disrobe in front of thousands of people. Shoes off, belts off, coats off. Shit, why don’t we all do ourselves and the government a favor by just arriving naked. 30 minutes later, I’m thru to the gate.

It’s 11:35. My flight leaves at 12:07. Boarding in 2 minutes according to the board. I’m taking a seat. Do you realize what we do while we wait? The number one activity? Reading. USA Today, Wall Street Journal, local paper, books, and magazines. Number two? Talking on the cell phone. Other activities? Tending to children, gab with travel partner, stand-wait-do nothing, sit and stare, eat. I’m looking for iPodders; surprisingly, I don’t see any. Watching, listening. Loud talkers, loud laughers, lean in and talk while staring straight ahead, face-to-face standard position talking, ear scratchers, nose pickers, nail biters, gum chompers.

Noon. Boarding begins. 12:30, taxiing down the runway. Captain says several planes are ahead of us and several need to land. Gonna be a few more minutes. 12:36, a wind-blown side-to-side takeoff.

Just my luck. Either the guy in the aisle seat or the guy whose seatback is in my crotch, is farting. And nastily, I might add. I fell asleep for a whole three minutes. How is it possible I missed the cart? It came and went and I’m dying for coffee. The lady looked right at me three times and didn’t serve me. Guess it’s crackers and water from my goody bag. Ah, the cart’s come back but for trash. She looks at me. I give her the dirty look like, “No way in hell you’re getting my trash, bee-ahtch.”

I’m trying to sleep. Nasty farts keep interrupting me. The captain keeps coming on and telling us about Clearwater, Florida and Mobile, Alabama. Don’t care, dude, let me sleep.

Ouch! The talkative pilot decides he’s gonna descend quickly. My sinuses can’t take it. My ear pops sending a pain down my entire left side. I’m prone to this and have been lucky to avoid it by taking pills, sucking on candy, and wearing martian-looking earplugs. Ouch.

3:29 p.m. (2:29 CST) Windy, side-to-side landing. I’m in Dallas. This flight is late, I’m late, my connecting flight leaves at 3:01 and boards in two minutes. We land at gate C4, they tell me my Phoenix flight is at gate C39 which is half way around the world according to the airport map. I finally get off the plane at 2:45. I realize I might miss my connection, but I simply MUST have two things. I must have a Starbuck’s Iced Coffee, and I must have a bathroom break.

The sprint is on. Damn, there’s my favorite Dickie’s BBQ, but I have no time to stop and eat. Damn, no Starbuck’s? Seattle’s Best Coffee? Pooh. Guess it’ll have to do. Got my iced coffee. Must pee. Splash and dash. It’s 2:52. Flight leaves in nine minutes. I walk as fast as two legs can move, passing everyone in sight. Damn. There IS a Starbuck’s. Where the hell is this C39? Flying. Two bags and an iced coffee in hand. I see in the distance, C39. It’s the last friggin gate. SHEESH! I arrive. 2: 59. The gate’s deserted. I ask if the plane is still here? Lady says, “Yes, we’re in final status waiting to pull away.” She gives me a dirty look. I said to her, “Don’t look at me lady, it’s your airline that was late, not me!” As I spring down the walkway, I hear her say, “Moser finally arrived, more are coming.”

My seat is 16E. Middle seat. Time to disrupt two people who will be pissed. They’re thinking they have it made with an open middle seat. Sorry to disappoint, ladies. I’m the late arrival you always dread. Sweating and out of breath, I flop down and can’t wait to mix my coffee, cool down, and eat my ‘lunch,’ a delicious Nutra-Grain blueberry bar from my goody bag.

Oh, the ex called me and told me she doesn’t want me lingering in the house. Wants me to meet her instead of stopping at the house. But I want to stop by. I’d like to see my dog and I’m sure he’d like to see me.

Got a nice call from ‘her.’ Second time we spoke. It’s good to hear her voice. She’s going through some issues. Aren’t we all? Next stop? Phoenix, Arizona. We take off at 3:20.

Gazoo taps me on the shoulder and tells me to pick up the Sky Mall catalog. Little did I know that this would turn into an entire post of its own. Don’t worry, it will follow this one.

I’m worried about my left ear. It’s killing me and we’re near that point of initial descent. I suck on my candies, squirt my nose drops, and make it through. 3:32 Phoenix time (5:32 Ft Lauderdale) we do a one-hop landing. Shouts are emitted. I laugh.

I take a shuttle to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot. The shuttle is packed like sardines. There’s a girl standing with her butt right in my face. I swear as god is my witness, she farts and I get the worst whiff Ugh. Dear me. Having no luggage is an advantage. I fly off the bus and am second in line. Only I learn it doesn’t matter. They go by time of flight arrival. I wait and wait. In the meantime, I try to resolve a $132 billing dispute from when I was here in January. Seems they charged me for insurance. I never get insurance. I explain to them that I travel all year, love Enterprise, but they’ve made a big mistake. The guy happily takes care of me and gives me my credit. Enterprise is great, really. Try it sometime.

Well, looky here? My 'sporty' Dodge Neon is here. No frills here. Not even a trunk latch. 5:30. Gonna try to meet and old friend from work for dinner. 6: 15. We meet, we dine, he paid despite my objections. Great guy. I owe him bigtime. The Clos du Bois merlot sucked but the bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizer is one of the best I’ve ever had. The pork tenderloin with a unique jalapeno sauce is divine. Great food, great place.

8:30. Ex calls, son’s ready. I’m on my way. Am excited. Get to the house at 9ish. Son comes running out to meet me. Is there anything better than that? He looks tall to me. He’s looking older. The little boy in him is just about gone. I go inside for a few. Zeke, all 12 pounds of him, jumps on me and proceeds to lick me for about 10 minutes straight until I can no longer stand his breath. So nice to be loved!

9:30. We’re on our way to the hotel. The vacation begins. We arrive at the hotel at 10. On our way to the front desk, he loses his teddy bear. He only realizes it after we get to the room. We search. No bear. We retrace our steps. No bear. To the car. No bear. Back to the front desk to see if anyone turned it in. Yay! Someone did! Order is restored.

We play around. I give him his snack and it’s bedtime. Midnight. Must get up at 4:30 for a 6:40 flight. Was a helluva day. I love being a dad again. No substitute for face time. Goodnight all…


  • I nearly felt sorry for you until the end of this post. We go through a great deal in our lives for those we care about. I am too familiar with travelling and facing crap customer service in the airports. It seems worse when you have an 8 hour flight. It makes for a longer trip that it already is.

    Glad you are with your son. Enjoy your time with him.

    By Blogger Amanda, at 6:27 AM, March 19, 2005  

  • Re-think being a writer. This is some of the most mundane shit I've ever read. Your accounting/business experience reeks throughout this post. Also, we can tell you really haven't been reading. If you want to write well, you must read endlessly. Your feeble observations are those my child of 5 can list. Stick to your present job. Leave the writing to the ones who can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:58 AM, March 19, 2005  

  • Tks Anon. I don't necessarily disagree with some of your observations. You are intelligent and you write well. It's as if I know you. I hope not because being unable to tell me straight up would hurt me more than these comments you keep leaving me.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:50 AM, March 19, 2005  

  • Keep the mundane shit coming.

    Your observations are what keep us coming back for more.

    Maybe Anon's a food critic. Aren't they the only critics who must mask their identities to protect their integrity?

    By Blogger Jewels, at 5:43 PM, March 19, 2005  

  • keep it coming man. this stuff is addictive. peace.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 PM, March 19, 2005  

  • Hey PL, i thought you were taking a few weeks off, what happened?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:40 PM, March 19, 2005  

  • The little boy in him is still there, will always be there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:26 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • Just stumbled across your blog.

    May I suggest you fly first class next flight? I did it for the first time last year. My boss gave me his upgrade vouchers as he couldn't use them. I will never fly coach again! I love being pampered. Yes, it costs a bit more, but it's well worth it.

    By Blogger Mari, at 12:32 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • I'm hooked as well. You've got a lot of integrity and are deeply honest. That's what makes your writing interesting. Anyone can spout anonymous criticism, even a 5 year old.

    By Blogger Gatsby, at 1:59 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • hi,

    anon should re-think being a human. i always enjoy your writing.

    By Blogger ropedncr, at 8:01 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • I swear to God, my sense of humor is that of a 13-year old; I burst out laughing at all the farts. What's wrong with me?

    WHY do people do this at the WORST times?

    Wait. Making myself laugh now. I guess if you could hold it, you would. OMG, I just needed a laugh. Thank you. :)

    By Blogger JuRiScHiCk, at 10:08 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • Why didn't you just check-in online and print your boarding pass before you left? You could have done that up to 24 hours in advance of the flight, not had to stand on a line, and you probably would have been a lot happier.

    By Anonymous Tom, at 10:12 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • Whoever said, "The little boy in him is still there, will always be there," 'knows' me well. I will always be a kid at heart. Perhaps my writing reflects this?

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    Mari, I agree. If I could only afford to do that as much as I travel.

    Tom, that's brilliant man, and I'm an idiot. I never thought of that.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 10:35 AM, March 20, 2005  

  • Glad I can be of some assistance. Even if you are checking luggage, get your boarding pass online. That way, you can check in outside with a baggage handler as well. It is the only way to travel...I like you hate lines.

    By Anonymous Tom, at 12:46 PM, March 20, 2005  

  • if you were anywhere near my ass, id probably let loose a fart too. cause if i didn't, youd probably fall in love with me then be dissapointed that i didn't reciprocate your feelings. then blog about it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 PM, March 20, 2005  

  • i just burst out laughing, reading that last comment posted by the anonymous female farter...it was right on par! brava to her

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 PM, March 20, 2005  

  • Anons, I burst out laughing, too. Nice one.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 6:12 AM, March 21, 2005  

  • I'm a new reader - followed the link from Greek Tragedy.

    I think your blog is one of my new favorites...

    By Blogger Polly Prissy-Pants, at 4:06 PM, March 21, 2005  

  • The lines, the farts, the middle seat, wasn't it all worth it? I mean look what you had at the end of the trip, a hug from a child. I would think definitely worth it.

    Glad you had a safe one.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 5:55 PM, March 21, 2005  

  • Piss on you, Anonymous.

    PT, imo one of your best (and most interesting) posts. I read easily & fluidly from start to finish, felt like I was by your side, gasping through the airport and fending off foul smells.

    Pretentious writing and deep philisophical observations are lovely, but I honestly feel your perspective on your everyday life is more true to who YOU really are. The details you notice and choose to jot down... the emotions that run deep between the lines you write... the simple fact that you ARE an accountant/businessman and those subtleties run throughout your writing... all these add up to why I loved this post.

    So there. Mundane= some of my favorite posts to read.

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 10:55 PM, March 21, 2005  

  • P-cubed, thanks for crossing over into Mundanesville.

    Gator, oh it's most definitely worth it!

    GFF, thoughtful and sweet words as always. Tks!

    By Blogger Plantation, at 3:43 AM, March 22, 2005  

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