08 August, 2011

Home is the hunter, home from the hills

Just back home from a lightning quick trip to Clemson and back. I got to SC on Friday afternoon, Sam's funeral was on Saturday. I spend Sunday on the longest Sunday afternoon drive ever, my Dad drove us all over the Tri-County area. We went down roads I'd never traveled in all my years living there.

The minister who did the sermon at the funeral did a wonderful job. He preached on the text where Jesus speaks in parables about the Kingdom of God. The parable of the Mustard Seed, the parable of the Yeast, the parables of the man who finds the treasure in the field, and the parable of the Merchant who searches for the pearl of great price. The church was full of people wearing orange to honor the life of a true Clemson fan.

And of course, those are all the things you say about a funeral: it was beautiful, the turnout was huge, everyone spoke of how they loved Sam and missed him, the music and the sermon were "fitting" - but none of that changes the fact that we were all stunned by the death of a very young man. Sam was one of those super vital people who made friends wherever he went, and the fact that he is gone is hard for me to wrap my mind around. I am grieving for his sister and brother, and especially his Mom and Dad.

Based on the two flights I took to and from SC, I am developing a list of 5 Rules for Air Travel that no one ever tells you, but ought to.

1. Please, please, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S GOOD AND HOLY, and for basic consideration for your fellow travelers: shower before you leave on your trip, apply deodorant, and wear clean clothes. Those plane seats are small, we are all wedged against each other, breathing the same air for the duration of the flight. If you aren't fresh and clean, your fellow passengers know it, and hate you for it.

2. If you are traveling with small people, bring something for them to do. Stock up on coloring books, new crayons, miniature puzzles, books for them to read, or get some movies loaded onto your tiny notebook computer. Airport waiting areas are sterile and boring. Most of the adults are reading, playing games on their  computers, or talking on their smart phones. We really don't want to listen to your children whine and cry from boredom. Ditto for the flight. Entertain those kiddies. It may be a drag, but if you can't hack it, leave the children at home.

3. If your flight is delayed, cancelled, or arrives so late that you don't make your connection, don't be hateful to the ticketing agent. It is not his/her fault. He/she is trying to help you and the other eleventy people in line behind you, and all your yelling and bitching isn't doing one thing to get you closer to your final destination. Take a deep breath. Remember that you aren't the only one in this situation. Behave with dignity.

4. People, when they say one handbag and one carry on, that's what they mean. When you struggle onto the airplane with your mammoth totebag or backpack, a carry on bag, your raincoat, and your hardcover copy of The Brothers Karamazov, your fellow passengers do not love you as you fill the overhead bins with all your crap, leaving no room for the rest of our stuff. Get it in one handbag/backpack and one carry on, or leave it home.

5. The rules for getting through TSA security haven't changed in years. Why does it come as a surprise to you when you need to remove coats, sweaters, shoes, etc. and put your laptop in the tray? Here's what smart people do: wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on, have our ID ready to show with their boarding pass, and be prepared to run our things through the machine. We are polite and cooperative when asked to move over to the side for further screening. We don't hold the line up and grouse about taking our shoes off.  Us smart people are looking daggers at those of you who are slowing up the line. The collective ill will directed against you probably does terrible things to your chi or your karma or whatever.

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