Come Fly the (Not so) Friendly Skies

I believe I have allowed myself the appropriate cool-down period before writing this post.  Over the past two days, at the hands of United Airlines, I have endured two plane cancellations,  as well as a total of six and a half hours of delays, including a brutal five hour stretch during which out of utter boredom I explored every store the Pittsburgh Airport has to offer.  But I did manage to resist those pinkish-red bucks the Johnston and Murphy clerk tried so hard to sell me.

My ordeal started on Thursday morning, when I had the (dis)pleasure of arriving at my gate to discover that my flight was cancelled.  Thanks for the email United–oh wait, you never sent me an email–or any notification–before I parked, went through security and trudged all the way through the airport to the gate.  The clerk was nice enough to re-book me on Friday morning, as no flights were available on Thursday.  She did this for me without ever laughing at any of my jokes.  Am I really not funny at all?  Some levity ma’am?

Friday morning, bright and early at 3:45 I again left my house for the airport, parked, went through security and trudged to the gate to see that the flight was not cancelled.  But it was delayed by fifty minutes.  Why?  Because the pilot wasn’t there.  The rest of the crew was present.  No pilot.  And just when I thought that maybe the pilot would show in time for me to make my connection, the rest of the crew stood up and walked away, muttering loud enough that the flight was showing as cancelled on United’s app, even though they hadn’t even been called by whomever at United was responsible for telling them.  So what was it United?  The pilot was hungover? Indisposed? In another city? Sleeping?

When I went up to the counter, to the same nice lady from the day before, she looked at me with no recollection of me whatsoever (Seinfeld?  Four?) and then told me that other people were ahead of me from a line across the room and refused to help me.  Off to another gate where a different United clerk, who had no reason to help me, did, and got me on a USAirways flight–the only available flight I could take to get to my destination–albeit with a four hour wait until that flight was set to leave.  To add final insult to injury, once I got on that plane, the pilot came on the intercom and told us that we would have to sit for forty minutes before pushing back because of delays in DC due to a storm.  Fortunately, he put on the afterburners once we took off and arrived in time for me to make my connection.

So, after my interminable travel day(s), I made it where I needed to go (twelve hours after I left for the airport for the second day), and tonight I get the reward of going to my favorite restaurant in the whole world–The Blue Point in Sandy Cove–I mean, Duck, NC.

As Frank Sinatra sang, “Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away.”   Hate to tell you United, I’m not flying your unfriendly skies ever again.

Unfortunate Publicity

Having visited the beautiful seaside villages in Southern Maine this past summer, hearing the news of the Zumba teacher who allegedly ran a prostitution business on the side and the scandal it has caused in the Kennebunks was disheartening.  Our society feeds its voracious appetite for salacious news on the backs of good and decent people, who all too often get caught up in the dirty business of others (for example, all of the current and former students and faculty of Penn State).  And now, once again, our 24/7 media cycle is revved up into a frenzy to bring us all of the Zumba news that is unfit to print.

Kennebunkport is a beautiful, quaint village and its people could not be more down-to-earth or friendlier.  Although our trip was more of a gourmande adventure (we managed to spend most of our time eating and drinking our way up and down the coast), the area is pure small town Americana, and so are its people.  And thus, the public’s curiosity with the Zumba teacher/prostitute and her Johns.

Our society is obsessed with the rich and famous and the downtrodden (the middle seems to not garner much attention).  And when the spotlight shines on a sex scandal in a Mayberry-esque locale, those who think Judge Judy  and Dr. Phil represent anything resembling a real Judge or a real…whatever kind of “Dr.” he claims to be, pull up their chairs and break out the popcorn.

So, what about the other 99.999+% of the people from the Kennebunks?  They feel that they are under siege, and they feel that all the good they do is being lost amidst the prurient details.  The truth is that among the lobster shacks and the tourist stores, the fishing boats and the iconic Bush compound on Walker’s Point, there also exists a seedier element.  Which is the case in every village or town or city in America.  And it is unfortunate that all of the beauty and good gets overlooked due to the overwhelming tidal wave of focus on the bad.  I prefer to focus on the positive.

And Another Thing . . .

Steven Recht's thoughts and musings about . . . well . . . everything

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Steven Recht's thoughts and musings about . . . well . . . everything

Reed Next's Next Read

Steven Recht's thoughts and musings about . . . well . . . everything