Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy New Years to you and ones that you love.

The past week has sped by quickly. On Christmas Eve I was flying home to spend the holidays with family and friends and one week later I am back in K-town, ready to train for a deployment.

If there is one day you should avoid traveling, it must be Christmas Eve. With airlines going to the toilet it was an adventure for masochists. When my flight from Frankfurt arrived in Newark, NJ, I had 30 minutes to get my bags, clear customs, put my bags back in to the domestic system, clear security, and run through one terminal. Optimistically I thought it was doable.

While most airlines were doing their utmost to screw up by the numbers, the TSA performance was outstanding. They put private industry to shame. When I arrived at the customs area of the airport, TSA kept opening more booths to get traveler's passports processed. In front of the of processing booths one TSA lady was telling people to move to a newly open booth and when she saw all the high and tight hair cuts on the military personnel carrying black and tan ruck sacks, she said, “ Is there any military personnel coming through?” The Air Force and Navy types replied with a “yes” and the Army and Marines barked out a “whooha.” After that reply she opened two lines just for the military with two TSA personnel per booth to process us.

Well, one big mouth slob whined “why do they get special treatment?” The lady from the TSA eyes focused on the slob like a targeter from the Ballistic Missile Defense system and told him “They are fighting a war right now and some of them may die for you, is that ok with you, mister?” He shut his hole up quickly and I moved through customs in 30 seconds with a big “Thank you” from the TSA clerk.

After that, I ran to the security check, x-ray and metal detectors at the domestic gates. One Chinese lady way yakking about her flight was leaving and wanted to by-pass the whole security process. One TSA screener told her that she had to go through and at that the Chinese lady let loose a barrage of drill sergeant insults. Out of no-where three TSA security goons showed up. You know the big ones dressed in black with HK MP-5's. They told her to do as she was told or she was going with them. Does the phrase “body cavity search” and the sound of latex gloves come to mind?

After that fun episode, I did my Olympic sprinter on EMO and other chemical enhancements imitation to the gate. Lo and behold my flight was moving away from the terminal as I arrived at the gate. I asked the Gate Attendant if she could book me on the next flight to Boston and she just mumbled “go to customer service.”

I walked to customer service and the line was a block long and was not moving. There was only four customer service representatives working the desk and my prospect of getting home on time were diminishing. I was talking with a guy who asked me if I was a soldier. He told me he was in the Vietnam War and said that we are doing a great job. I asked him if he a cell phone and if I could borrow it. He said no problem and I dialed Continental’s 1-800 phone number. I got through to their reservation desk. At that point I told the lady my situation and she promptly booked me on the next flight to Boston with a seat assignment. I did the same for the Gentlemen who lent me his phone. Other people on line started to whip out the cell phones and did the same when they heard me talk on the cell phone. So I made it to my family only three hours late.

After I made it home, time flew by. I have to give a big kudos to my wife, who in three weeks put the house together and arrange a surprise party for me. She called and emailed friends, former co-workers, neighbors, fellow church-goers, fraternity brothers and about 65 or 70 showed up. It was a great party and good to see so many friends who thanked me for serving and told my wife if she needs help or anything just call. It was heartening.

Also it was nice just to be a husband and father around the house. We went to see the Disney on Ice show and my three year old daughter was delighted to see Ariel the Mermaid.

Leaving my wife and daughters last night at the airport sucked. It was a tearful event. I tried to tell my daughter that I love her, but she did not want me to go to the Army in her words.

I have to give a big thanks to Joe, Terry and Kerry for helping out around the house and Sean and Tamara for helping my wife figure the maze out of Logan Airport. I bet I missed a few others, but I have been up for the past 30 hours, so my brain is not functioning at full speed.

Take care and God Bless.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Man, be happy you weren't flying on Comair or U.S. Airways. Anyway, glad to see you made it home and (sadly, I'm sure)back in one piece. The story about the efficient TSA would normally have surprised me, since it's a government run organization and all, but I have to say that in my experience flying domestic, they've been quite efficient. That story about the Chinese lady sounds straight out of Meet the Parents. But I have to say, the comment involving the 'yes's and 'whooha's seems to me to confirm the superior intelligence of the force primarily concerned with aircraft. :P Seriously, what's wrong with you? Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane? I'll never understand it.

6:47 AM  
Blogger b said...

Mike,

It is fun to jump out of a perfectly normal airplane that will land on a runway undamaged. Trust me!

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you think you should get special treatment for being in the military? Do civilians who work just as hard and do jobs which are equally as important to society not deserve the same treatment? Your arrogance never fails to amaze me, you do not deserve special treatment at an airport or anywhere else for that matter. Sure you are fighting a war, but you signed up for that and to mention all the time that you could die just highlights your inflated sense of self worth. After reading your blog it is pretty obvious that you were never the sharpest tool in the box; so just remember that because you were too dumb to do anything that involved using your brain and had no choice but to join the military it does not make you any more important than anyone else in society.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Brendon said...

Of course "Anonymous" has to be, well, an anonymous prick. Like anyone will take your comment seriously when you use no handle. But that's the saftey of the internet -- it allows for callous idiots to post whatever they want. So feck you idiot!

Anyway, Robert I am in Seattle now at Seatac waitinf for a flight home -- I'm typing this on my laptop using wifi via AT&T/Cingular. I had a business meeting up here today. Passed by Pike Street Market today on way to my meeting.

Sorry to hear about your airpot experience. I personally don't have any patience for the TSA - not that most of their staff don't try, I just doubt how much safer any of it actually making us. The next terrorist strike won't come from an airplane -- it will be something as lethal but from another aspect of our daily life none of us considered before.

By the way: I'm putting your DVD player in the mail this weekend as I wanted to have some DVDs to send along with it: "Star Wars" trilogy and Led Zepplin's live DVD, called simply, DVD -- that's a start. Will send more DVDs and music later.

Best always.

3:34 AM  

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