Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, August 28, 2006
My top three worst air travel experiences:
- When I was five, I briefly got lost in the Philadelphia airport. I was walking with my family down an endless corridor, eyes forward and mouth agape. Dad, Mom, brother, and sister all turned left and stopped to cue into a line; I continued. After a moment, I looked around, didn’t see anybody I knew, and panicked. Some nice people quickly got me back to where I needed to be. Things like that will put you off airports. (But it did teach me the value of bursting into tears in public.)
- When I was in college, I got an interview for a summer intern position at Saginaw Steering Gear. General Motors sent me tickets to fly me from school for a one-day visit. Sounds pretty posh, huh? World’s largest corporation sending a jet for me…. Well, actually, it was a small prop plane on mighty Republic Airlines. We hopped from Houghton to Pellston to Lansing to Detroit to Flint. My ears became so plugged from the altitude shifts that I was nearly completely deaf when I arrived. I had a series of meetings where all I could hear was my own voice inside of my head; this was extremely unnerving because I was a 20-year-old kid without confidence or anything interesting to say. I smiled and nodded a lot. I didn’t get that job.
- A few years ago, I got stuck in a middle seat on a flight from Chicago to Seattle. Always an unhappy situation that, having to wedge my six foot three of legs into one foot three of space. But what made this particularly hellish was that every five seconds the guy in front of me would push back against his seat, and thus his seat against my knees. Trapped, there was no place I could put my legs without feeling his seat every five seconds. I hated him. But then I observed and overheard and realized the guy had a nervous condition, a tick. I felt sorry for him. Moments later I hated him again. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and I still hate him.
There they are. How about you? I’d be interested to hear about your worst experience. And — what do ya know?! — you can click “Comments” and tell me! Let’s take this blog thing for a spin and see how it rides.
And finally, if there is an underlying moral to this week’s comic and comments, it’s this: I’m thankful to complain. Others have had it much worse, and they’ll never have the pleasure of writing about it.