Have Luggage, Will Travel …. Or ….. I’m Getting On A Plane And Left My Brain At Home (Part Three)


On the plane part 3

I survived “The Security Check”  – just barely.

I’ve waded my way through the enticing duty-free shops, having only bought a handful of items I would never normally buy on the streets on a  normal day.

I know I’m not the only one.
You do it too. Buying. Lots. Always.

Anyhoo.

There are a number of interesting moments to consider in a flight.
Particularly a long-haul.

Boarding.
I’m that person.
You know the one.
I get to my boarding gate in time.
I queue.
Yes I know we’ll all get in the plane eventually.
But I like to get in first.
You know.
Check the layout of the land out.
Proximity to the loos.
Comfort of the seat.
You know. Important things! Meaningful things.
You know they are.
Yes you do.

Moving on ….
Important things like …. make sure my bag has a spot in the overhead lockers.

Which brings me to the next it for discussion:

The Overhead Locker.
Is it just me or is that like a fight to death.
It’s another reason I like to board as soon as I can.
Space for my hand luggage.
Because I’m a woman and that’s what we do.
Carry a ton of stuff that we’re not going to use/eat/read in the flight but have to have it anyway.
I’ve actually been on a plane when there’s been a standoff between a passenger with a small handbag taking up a lot of space in the overhead lockers versus a man who boarded last.
The kind of last where your name is being called over the intercom! And then he rushes on, demanding a space for his stretching-size-limits-to-the-max bag, and argues with the snarky woman with the small handbag who refuses to put it under her seat.
What do I care? I got on first and am comfortably settled into my first movie already 🙂

So now I’m settled.
Know where the loos are.
My bag is safe in the overhead locker.

I’m acting like the smug passenger who travels all the time and knows exactly what to do.
You know the kind.
The kind that pretends to not watch the safety film because they travel so much but actually are watching from the corner of their eye — just in case they’re called upon to be a hero.

I’m talking to you!
Yes.
YOU!
And me.

But then.

The wait for “your neighbour” begins.
Now I KNOW I’m not alone here.
You know what I’m talking about.
Desperately looking around willing anyone who’s about to sit next to you to “keep on walking”

I’m the kind of passenger that likes to plug my earphones in, listen to music, watch a movie, do a crossword, and try get a little shuteye.
Peace.

NOT!

I’ve had a very random set of neighbours. I’ll list a few for your reading pleasure …..

> There was the drunk Dutch man on a flight from South Africa to London, who drank so much and burped so much I eventually had to sit in the air stewards jump seats for the entire flight as there were no other empty seats.

> There was the Swedish guy who told me about all his sexual conquests with much gusto despite my asking him to stop numerous times.

> There was the weird Aussie-British guy who would say absolutely nothing until I put my earphones in, then he’d tap me on the shoulder, wait for me to take my earphones out, then ask for a movie recommendation. Which I gave to him, but then he continued to tap me on the shoulder the whole way through the movie and give commentary. I got my revenge on him though — I waited until he was in a deep, snoring sleep, tapped him in the shoulder numerous times (a bit like Sheldon on Peggy’s door in Big Bang theory LINK HERE) and asked him to move so I could pee.
He wasn’t impressed.
I didn’t care.
I even did it once more just to make sure I got full revenge (evil laugh).

The list goes on.

The space.
If you’re travelling in cattle class – aka economy – I don’t care how much they say it’s comfortable, no one likes to feel like a sardine. There’s no getting around it unless you lucky enough to fly in an upgraded cabin.

Meals.
I mean.
Really.
What can I say about this. It’s aeroplane food. As long as you don’t expect a gourmet meal, you’ll be absolutely fine.
Unless of course you had the delicious, restaurant-worthy beef fillet with roast potatoes and carrots I had in a recent long-haul flight. NOM NOM NOM

Drinks.
Referring to the random neighbours I’ve had, have a drink, I don’t care. But don’t be slobbering all over the place, messing your red wine on me (that happened), or your whisky (love arriving at a destination smelling like someone else’s brewery – always fun to get the customs officials to raise their eyes in judgment at you.

Toilets.
Now, call me old-fashioned but Mile-high-club. Really? I can barely fit my wide-screen butt in there. Two people in there?! Um. No.

And that’s the journey.
The whole thing.
In a nutshell.

…….
……

Oh no! I forgot.
There’s still the baggage claim.

Where you wait for your bag. Am I the only person who’s bags tend to always be amongst the last few that arrive?

I break out into sweats. It’s not so bad coming home, because if the bag doesn’t arrive, I’ve still got a cupboard-full of clothes.

if the bag doesn’t arrive when I’m on an outward journey, especially on a business trip, that’s more worrisome and annoying…because I do have to go buy new clothes if mine don’t arrive in time.

Well – there’s your Up-Side:

New Clothes.

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Have Luggage, Will Travel …. Or ….. I’m Getting On A Plane And Left My Brain At Home (Part Two)


Airport blog part two

The Security Check

Feeling liberated having survived “The Check-in Counters“, I pick up my hand luggage – which is stretching the weight limit to the max  (do I really need that many magazines and crossword books for a 4-hour flight?) and drag my already weary butt to the security check area.

Having carefully placed all my acceptable-limit liquids in a travel-approved see-through bag, I confidently march past all the not-so-forward-thinking-and-unprepared passengers who are emptying their bags of all liquids.

Now, I don’t know if it’s just me but even if you don’t travel often, don’t you check things like baggage allowance, things allowed in your hand-luggage, travel documents needed??

No?
Just me then.

Ok, I’ll move on … For now…but I will revisit this. You’re not getting out of it that easy!

So where was I?
Ah..confident marching.

I hand over my passport…confident in the knowledge that I’m not a criminal and therefore don’t need to feel nervous about being caught out.

Not.

Well, I’m not a criminal – but I am nervous.

Is it just me or does the security check have you trying your hardest not to break any sweat (which is difficult when you’re in a place like … Say India … Where it’s …. HOT!

I dare not take out a tissue to dab my brow because obviously that means “criminal alert!”

I’ve seen those shows.
You know the ones I mean.
Where the passenger casually lines their suitcases with all sorts of “not allowed” products from their recent trip to a pick-up-anything-illegal-here country.

I’m not one of those.
I’m way too much of a nervous person in a passport control and security check area to ever even imagine getting away with that.
So I won’t bother.

Digress over.
For now.

So I make it safely past the passport control.
In fact, the border patrol officer barely even looked at me.
I wasted all that energy hiding my sweaty tissues.
I hear you saying “I told you so.”
Hush!

Next stop. The conveyor belt.

Once again. Do travellers not prepare for these things?
No?
Just me?
Again?

I am in the longest queue.
Even though I tried to avoid the bad queues.
You know the ones I mean …. pushchairs, holidaymakers, elderly and stick to the businessmen queue.

Or so I tried.

Because the person-in-uniform decided to close the short queue just as I was about to get there and divert me to the queue that has only one person multi-tasking doing the “take laptops out, jackets off, shoes off, belts off, jewellery off” monologue, pushing through of bags, and then running around to check the security TV, I am now even further back than I was.

I remain calm. I should be used to this by now.
Beside, I’ve got plenty of time. I’m here at the allocate 4 hours early – for those fearful of missing their flight.

Eventually, it’s my turn!

Obviously, I pass through with flying colours.
Being overly prepared as I am — always.

Not!

Stuffed at the bottom of my bag is the half-drunk bottle of water I purchased before I joined the long, long, long check-in queue!

Airports – 1 …… FrinkleFiles – 0

Stay tuned for Part 3 ….. In The Plane!

 

Have Luggage, Will Travel …. Or ….. I’m Getting On A Plane And Left My Brain At Home (Part One)


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Airports.

I’ll let that sink in for a few moments.

…..
……

I spend a lot of time in airports.
I see a lot of strange things.
Strange people.
Doing strange things.

No, I’m not one of them.
I’m not!

Ok, maybe a little.

But I figured out that people can be completely ‘normal’ functioning human beings until they step into airports and onto a plane.

Particularly three places in an airport and in a plane:
1. The Check-in Counters
2. The Security Check
3. In the plane.

Today, we’ll talk about the first place:
The Check-In Counter

Perhaps it’s because I travel more than most people because of my job, that I’ve come to expect everyone to have the same knowledge as me.

But they don’t.
It’s no excuse.
Really it isn’t.

There is a baggage allowance for ever person and most of us don’t have the luxury of always travelling business or first class so we have the standard 20kgs we’re allowed to take.

Some travellers, such as the one I experienced,  like to take that on as a challenge.

“Let’s see how many things we can get into this suitcase, pretend it’s 20kgs, strap five bag straps around it to keep it closed while we sit on it to squash it down and check it in. What’s the problem!”

Now,  I mean it’s really not my issue and people should do what people are gonna do …… BUT …. It’s pretty darn obvious to me that if your suitcase doesn’t really close, no matter how many of those bag straps you tie around it, it ain’t gonna be within the baggage allowance limit.

But.

Said travellers will still look completely shocked when the check-in assistant says “sorry ma’am your bag is 31kgs” …..(never mind the issue of the no-closing-fully-overloaded bag) …

“Oh dear, are you sure?” They say.
“Yes Ma’am”
“Are you sure your scales are right?” They question.
“Yes Ma’am”
“Can you test my bag on a different scale? I’m sure yours isn’t right.” They try their luck.
“Sure ma’am (said through ‘the customer is always right’ gritted teeth), bring it on over to the next counter”

Traveller pulls said suitcase off scale and, with the help of the extended family who have come to wish her a safe journey, they each take a corner and drag it, huffing and puffing, the clearly 20kgs (!!!) suitcase over to the next counter.

All working together, they count the lift in “1…2…3…LIFT” and put the clearly 20kgs onto the scale at the next counter.

Shock!! Horror!!
31kgs.

“Ma’am, as you’ll notice, the scale is the same as the first”
“I really can’t believe it. Our scale at home said 18kgs. Can we try one more?” They say in disbelief.
(I want their scale for my weekly weigh-in….13kgs under…awesome!)
“I’m afraid not ma’am, there is a long queue of people trying to check-in.Your bag is 31kgs on this scale, on the last scale and on any scale in this airport.”

Traveller realises they aren’t going to get anywhere with this super-savvy check-in assistant.

Traveller pulls said suitcase off scale and, with the help of the extended family who have come to wish her a safe journey, they each take a corner and drag it, huffing and puffing, the clearly 20kgs (!!!) suitcase over to the original counter.

All working together, they count the lift in “1…2…3…LIFT” and put the clearly 20kgs onto the scale at the original counter.

Traveller now has to open the offending suitcase….. first carefully removing the five bag straps they’ve put around it to try to keep it closed,while carefully ensuring none of their “intimates” fly out when the suitcase bursts open with freedom in mind …. And take stuff out.

They’re oblivious to the growing queue behind them and the sound of tapping feet and huffs and puffs ….. Probably from frequent travellers, like me, who are thinking …. “Seriously??.”

They hand 13kgs of their suitcase content to the extended family, and continue to check-in, still grumbling under their breath that airport baggage scales are shockingly overweight!

The check-in person is a saint.

As I’m heading through security, I see the extended family helping the traveller put all those 13kgs back into her hand luggage and in her handbag.

I’m taking a different queue.

Come back for Part 2: The Security Check!

To Sit Or Not To Sit …… Or Giving Up The Fight


  

Picture it.

London.
2015.
Cold.
Wet. 
I know all you locals are not having trouble picturing that…..Nothing unusual really.

I finish work. 
Exhausted. 
Trudge down to the train station. 
Manage to get a seat …… first time. 
(Score 20 points for me!)

It’s the small things. 
It is! 
You know it.

An elderly couple get on the train. 
Have that split second of “I’m exhausted. Please someone else get up for them.”

Don’t be a hater. Don’t judge. 
You all thought that at least once. 

A split second later, a gentleman offers his seat. 

“Saved” I think to myself. 

Don’t be a hater. Don’t judge. 
You all thought that at least once. 

I settle back into my seat and start to get comfy again. 
Well, as comfy as you can get on a train seat. 

Two stops further. A family get on.
One older lady. One older man. With their two, I assume children, in tow.

Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why we say that? Lady and man. Shouldn’t it be Lady and Lord! Or woman and man? 
No one? Just me then? 
So be it. 

But I digress. Where was I? 
Ah yes …. The two older folk. 

So I jump up…without hesitating I’ll have you know… punching the air with congratulations for myself at beating anyone else at being a good and decent human being. 
(Score another 20 points)

……. One moment while I pat myself on the back.
Ok, I’m all patted out. 

Don’t be a hater. Don’t judge. For the third time.
You’ve all done that at least once. 

I look at her longingly ….. waiting for her to make the move to my now vacant seat. 
My instinct clearly tells me she’s an out-of-towner. 
That, and the fact she is speaking Italian and has a “tourist” backpack on. 
You gotta move fast on he train else someone else gets it!

I’m not met with a face full of thanks.
Im not met with a face full of gratitude. 

I’m only met with ….. Laughter. 
Laughter. 

I win this one though.
Her family …. who should be supportive, I’d like to add …. continue laughing …. 
at her …. 
pointing …. 
at her ….
touching….
her hair.

And then, just as they’re about to get off the train, declare loudly to their beloved mother … “We told you to wash the grey away!”

Rude! 

Next time. 
Take the seat.


A Gig And A Jig…Or Where’s Mine?


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So I like to go to gigs.
You know. Live music.

(Is music dead? That would mean it has a heartbeat. Which some would say “it does….” I won’t judge either way.

Anyhoo …… What’s not to love?
Great vibe. Sing-a-longs. Die-hard fans. Really die-hard fans.

We went to a gig recently. In an old 17th Century church. The perfect setting for a small, intimate gig …. of around 200 people.

We get there early. Of course.

Not because we’re die-hard fans. But rather so we can use the toilets while they’re still clean.

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.
Yes you have. You know you have.
No denying it.
You’re welcome.
I win.

That’s enough about toilets. For now.

Again, you’re welcome.

So anyway. Where was I?

So we settle into the old, wooden, uncomfortable-as-hell seats, and wait for the main act to come on.

During the wait, they have the support acts.
Obviously.

No one ever listens to them. (I listen). You can’t hear them over all the talking in the audience. I’m usually the one shushing people so I can hear.

Why do the support acts never match the main act you’ve come to see?

If the main act is Folk. The support act is Death Metal. Perfect match. Obviously.

You know what I mean.
I don’t get it.

But anyway. I digress. Again.

So we sit through the non-matching support bands and get excited for the main act to step up.

The lights go down…..
The crowd goes silent…..
The spotlight goes on…..
One Lone-Fan moves forward…..

Calm down. This isn’t going to be one of those “fan-goes-crazy” stories. Well, not this time anyway.

The band begin to play. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Intimate

And then……

Just as the band are breaking into the chorus, Lone-Fan lets out a loud cheer! Pretty much ruining the ambience in one swift squeal.

She starts waving her hands above her head, bobbing her head up and down, and moving her body to the sound of a very different song.

She starts heckling the crowd to “get up” and “join in” ….. basically ruining the song and the perfect, intimate ambience.

Now I’m all for fans and cheering people on, but once again, let me remind you ….
Small….Intimate….Gig…In…A… 17th…Century….Church….

After two or three songs of this happening, the lead singer eventually stopped and said “okay, who are you and what’s going on”, laughing at the same time to try and take the stress out of it…..but she was clearly annoyed.

The church went silent.
A booming voice from behind the Lone-Fan shouted out “PIZZA GIRL” …….

A shock of realisation comes across the singers face.

She begins to tell us the story of why she’s called Pizza Girl.

Apparently at a previous gig, this Lone-Fan got up in the middle of the show, sat on the edge of the stage, and proceeded to eat her medium-sized pizza from the take-out box she’d brought with her.

Now, I don’t like to judge.
But ….. Seriously!

At least bring pizza for the whole gig right!

Stop. Go. Scream….Or Are We There Yet?


Stop Go Scream Or are we there yet image

I think it’s only fitting for theFrinkleFiles relaunch to feature a taxi story (cab for those of you not on my side of the pond), as it did on its initial launch.

Picture it. New York City. April. 2015. Warm Spring Day.

Now, I don’t know if it’s me. (This is where you say “no, it’s not you.”), but are all taxi drivers completely and utterly FREAKING INSANE.  (This is where you say “yes, they are.”)

In my mind, I picture them being woken up in the morning by their alarms. Pressing snooze. Pressing snooze again. Pressing snooze a last time. (Because statistically — according to “experts” most people press snooze at least three times every morning. It’s true. Look it up!)

I’ll wait…….
Done?
See….I was right….

But I digress. (This is where you say “yes, you are.”)

They wake up. Drag their butts out of bed. Sloth (love that word) to the bathroom. Look in the mirror and say “today, I shall scare the pants out of an out-of-towner in my yellow chariot.” Then he trundles (using all the big words today) down the stairs, climbs into his taxi, and sets the mood for the day to “Stop.Go.Scream” and heads straight for poor little ol’ clueless me.

If you’ve read the first FrinkleFile ever published, you’ll know I’m no stranger to these sorts of taxi rides.

I was just settling into the 45-minute taxi ride, when I noticed the first problem I was going to have.

Slippery. Seats.

I mean the kind of leather ……  (I didn’t check the label so I have no idea if it was leather…but it’s really not important — semantics.) ….. The kind of leather that so shiny and slippery, everytime the taxi driver brakes, my butt is basically on the floor in front of me.  (this is where you say “you poor darling.”

I’ll give you a moment to picture it.
…….
……….
…………..
Now I’ll wait for you to stop laughing!

Yes you did, I clearly heard it.
No need to argue.
I win.
Thank you.

Moving on.

The second issue was the traffic.

Now my sweet, little ol’ taxi driver (see, I can be polite) and his little yellow chariot, were getting well and truly into the “Stop.Go.Scream.” mood for the day.

Every 23 seconds, he changed lanes. I counted them.  Everytime. Followed by a sharp break and a quick speed up.

1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10..11..12..13..14..15..16..17..18..19..20.21..22..23… Stop…..Go…..Pause for the scream….. Rinse and repeat. For 45 minutes.

I know he was watching me. For a reaction. I hope I didn’t show too much terror through my clenched eyes.

The second problem….no ….. the third problem … see … traumatized ….  I found was yellow-chariot-taxi-drivers ability to take corners. Or the lack thereof.

I had a dilemma. On whether to jump ship or not. (I know it’s a car, not a ship. Thanks for pointing that out.) To be honest, I wasn’t sure getting out and using a different taxi would’ve worked. Given my experience with taxi drivers.

I stayed put.

We eventually arrived safe and sound at the airport.

One extra grey hair … not that  you would notice it of course …. No you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t!

My solution for taxi’s. Instead of putting those little TVs in the back of taxi’s, they really should have a sick bucket. At least in my taxi’s.

Please.

Pretty please.

Boogers Etiquette


This post may reference bodily functions.
You have been warned.
You’re welcome.

Now let me get on it

So there I was, innocently blowing my nose after having sneezed for the 100th time today, when the new dude in the office sneaks up on me to introduce himself.

He’s clearly seen I’m blowing my nose.
Not so much blowing than wiping.
Semantics.

But he’s been hovering behind me for so long that if he doesn’t say “hello” now, he’ll just look like a weird stalker.
Which I wouldn’t mind to be honest. It’s been years since I was last stalked. Many years. Many Many years.
In fact, how old am I? …. ……. ………… Yip — that’s how many years. (You thought I was going to spill my age just like that … without you even buying me a drink first? …. Sneaky Sneaky! Very Sneaky! Sneak!

But I digress.

Anyway.

“Hello” (in a voice that is clearly worried he may give me a heart-attack, coz he’s been hovering forever while I sorted my bodily functions out)

“Oh, hi, hello”

Scrunches grimey … grimy… grimie …. dirty tissue deep into the palm of my hand.

….then realise, that’s the hand I need to put out to shake his outstretched hand ….

….which he’s also realised and quickly, but efficiently withdraws said hand before I infect him with said tissue.

He proceeds to talk work with me, which I’m trying my best to focus on, but am seriously concerned that my tissue didn’t quite get all of it.

We should have automatic playback in our eyes for situations like this.

I have no idea what he asked me to do, but I have a funny feeling I may just have agreed to give a presentation. In front of people. Actual people.

Blast you Boogers!!