Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In Dallas again

Uh huh. I was supposed to travel yesterday (Monday) but you've been reading my blog, what do you think the odds are that travel will ever happen on the day it's supposed to happen? I hope to be flying out on Friday but let's see what happens!

So I flew over today. The flight was late as always but the gate people tried the usual 'smiling through the tears' encouragement thing. Namely, if we're all a little quicker than usual during the boarding process maybe we won't have to spend an hour at the gate whilst the less considerate passengers find places to stow the carryon luggage they should have checked at the ticket counter.

Didn't work of course. I was still treated to the sight of enthusiastic morons trying the luggage equivalent of shoving a quart into a pint pot. What really gets me is the way they try to deny reality. They have a rectangular roller bag maybe twice as long as it's wide. They can see that the space between adjacent bags is maybe a little more than the width so they start out initially sane; they try and shove the bag in lengthwise. If it's too long for the overhead luggage compartment when put in wheels first they don't give it up as a lost cause and move to another compartment where maybe they could stow it sideways, no sirree bob, no. They take it out, reverse it and try and shove it handle end first. Uh mate, if it wouldn't go all the way in that way what makes you imagine reversing it will do the trick?

So the moron gives up and shoves it in the space between his seat and the back of the seat in front, right where his legs should go. The bag was too big to fit under the seat! This is the aisle seat I might add. So there he is, trying to decide if he'd rather spend two and a bit hours with his knees up around his ears or if it'd be better to put one leg on either side. The latter course leads to his right foot sticking out into the aisle while everyone else is trying to board so he compromises. His right knee will be up around his ear whilst his left foot intrudes into someone elses already miserly allocation of space.

This compromise at least lets everyone else pass toward the back of the plane. Of course, a few minutes later along come the cabin crew checking that people have fastened seat belts and so on and then ensues an argument with the cabin crew insisting that he cannot travel like that and he must check the bag. He doesn't want to but I could see the telltale signs of reddening of the ears. Backing yourself into a corner anyone?

And so, what with one moron or another, a flight that started out half an hour late became an hour late. Assuming that what I witnessed wasn't particularly unusual (and it isn't, I saw much the same thing happen on a flight to Frankfurt last year) it's little wonder that mid afternoon flights run late and evening flights run very late.

Arrived in Dallas I collected the rental car. It's a Sebring though I have no idea which manufacturer actually made it. Is it a Dodge? A GMC? Is it even an American car? *shrug* The badge work on the vehicle is unfamiliar. Nice enough vehicle though I wish rental car companies would allow for smokers. It's about 35 miles from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport to the hotel and even with the freeway/tollway system it takes nearly an hour. I took the President George Bush Turnpike. Somehow it offended Kevin when I asked him, a trip or two ago, which President George Bush it was named after. Apparently I was supposed to realise that it was George the Elder. Again, *shrug*

So I stopped off at the bottle shop (liquor store) to buy some wine. The cellarmaster said 'you haven't been in for a while'. He was right. The last time I'd been there was a trifle over two months ago.

From there I went to a restaurant.. I've given up on the hotel room service. They're not even trying anymore! Unedible food and about twice the price I'd pay if I drove the three or four miles to the restaurant strip in Plano. So I went to a restaurant I've eaten at before; they do good ribs! Walked in and the waiter came over and said 'you haven't been in for a while'.

I'm impressed. At the restaurant I hinted that maybe my hair gave me away but he denied it; apparently they don't get that many diners who bring a book and reading glasses. The really embarassing thing is that it's the same damn book I was reading two months ago. Charles Dickens's 'The Old Curiousity Shop'. But I promise you, I'm on the last chapter and Little Nell really has died!

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