Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Thieves give thanks, and other tales from the Eastern Front

Sorry for the radio silence, folks, but Our Man in LA is back in his warm weather saddle after a sojourn to his home state of Ohio. Don't worry. We're back on track. And I'll even put a Tuesday Top Five up tomorrow - at least keeping it on a day that begins with the letter T.

Anyway, onto the regularly scheduled program.

Remember back on those Hogan's Heroes reruns you used to watch when you were kid? How the Nazi general used to threaten Colonel Klink with an assignment to the Eastern Front (aka, Russia). Klink would freak out, right? Because he couldn't stand the cold.

Apparently neither can I. Seriously. The trip back to the Midwest proved that once and for all. It's not like it was even that cold - we're talking the 40-degree range. But that's tough on an Angeleno. That second layer of skin or whatever used to keep me surviving in the long cold winters is long gone.

Hell, last night it got down into the 50s. I turned on the heat and bundled up in two layers to go to sleep.

Anyhow, the wife and I are back from the midwest, readjusting to California - the weather, the sun, the hills. And we're taking stock of our Turkey Day holiday.

First of all, I love Thanksgiving. Probably my favorite holiday. Certainly the most relaxing and the most built around just having a good time. Inside my mother's warm house, Steph and I ate well, watched some quality football (Texas slipping past A&M, the Bengals slipping past Baltimore), and got a chance to chill out a bit.

Which is not to say that the Holiday weekend was without quibbles. It wasn't. For example:

1) Well, shucks, folks, I had my identity stolen. Yeah, that's a pretty big quibble right there. While in the Buckeye state, I went online to check my bank balance and learned that some yahoo out there had stolen a bunch of money from my personal and joint accounts.

Don't know who the arch villain was, but he or she made withdrawals on my card from a couple of locations in SoCal and Arizona. Not good. Whoever it is had gotten the information about my debit and my pin without me actually losing the card. Awesome.

So Friday and Saturday included a couple of fun-filled hours on the phone with the bank (who actually did a pretty fabulous job, being responsive, getting their investigators on it, and so on). Got on the horn to the credit bureaus and made them aware of my info being stolen.

I'm not a law and order kind of freak. I don't believe in any of that kind of right wing stuff. Hell, I live in California, and anyone who's ever been to the Midwest knows that the word "California" is American for "pinko liberal home of fruits and nuts".

But I do hope they catch whoever stole my money. Possibly using a dragnet and a SWAT team. It might seem a little extreme, but it was MY MONEY.

2) Our Woman in LA and I experienced some of the worst air travel that we've ever, ahem, weathered over the holiday weekend. And worse than that, we dealt with some of the surliest, unfriendliest, and unhelpful flight crews and ground staff that we've ever seen.

I won't mention what airline we used because that would be indiscreet.

COUGH! american airlines COUGH!

Whew, don't know what got over me there.

Seriously, though. Picture this. You're on a cramped prop commuter plane from St. Louis to Dayton. The Flight Attendant serves you drinks. Less than five minutes later, the plane hits choppy air, and hot coffee goes everywhere - on me, on Our Woman in LA, on the baby a row back, the aisle, the ceiling, the window. It's a coffee bath.

Call the Attendant. He comes over.

ATTENDANT: What do you want?

Our Man in LA: How about some napkins or paper towels?

Attendant looks at Our Woman in LA and me. Begins laughing.

ATTENDANT: This is what you get for drinking on a flight like this. What were you thinking?

Our Man in LA: You served us.

ATTENDANT: Whatever.

Attendant leaves. Comes back nearly ten minutes later with cocktail napkins.

But that ain't all. How about this. You hit a full hour of roller coaster worthy turbulence going from Dayton to Dallas. The woman one row up is wailing, crying, and predicting that we'll all end up like those jag-offs on LOST. My wife is telling me that no matter what, she loves me. We call flight attendants. The prophet of doom a row up calls them, too.

No response. We can see them chilling out near the bathrooms, standing there. Can see the light flashing. Nothing.

Not even a remark from the pilot. How about something like "Sorry, folks, I know it's bumpy, but we're doing what we can. We're perfectly safe, and we'll try to get out of this as best we can."

Nope. Nothing.

Hell, what about this: "Woo-hoo, folks, it shore is fun to ride the bumps, ain't it? Next up, we're going to dive bomb some farm houses near Texarkana."

Nope. Would have been an improvement. For all I know the pilots actually had already jumped, like in an Indiana Jones movie. For all I know, an inflatable autopilot from AIRPLANE was at the helm.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that our air carrier advertises that their planes feature more legroom than other airlines? Well, perhaps they would. You know, if there hadn't been a steel plate screwed into the space below every aisle seat in coach of my Dallas to LA flight.

By the way, that's the Dallas to LA flight that sat on the tarmac for nearly two hours. Didn't get any free drinks, or free movies, or free snacks. Couldn't even get a can of soda. Got dirty looks when I got up to hit the loo. Then got a bumpy ride, no legroom, and THE ITALIAN JOB for our in-flight movie.

Perhaps this was part of the problem. This was a flight from 2003, and they were made late and surly by some problem in the space-time continuum.

Or perhaps they were a bunch of clowns who pulled the short straw and had to work on a holiday weekend. One or the other.

Whatever. In the end, Our Man and Our Woman touched down in LA. Even at 1 a.m., we could see the outline of the mountains. We could feel the breeze off the Pacific.

Good to be home. See you tomorrow.

And now you know why I loooooove to travel these days. Oof.

Sorry to hear about the identity theft. I hope they catch the bastards and lock them in a room with a few surly AA flight attendants. That'll learn 'em.

Choppy air sucks so bad-I really feel for you guys. Our last flight from Chicago to Lauderdale was really bad the last ten minutes. I can't believe you guys got no reassurance from the cockpit-that's usually what keeps me from passing out. My little trick is that whenever it gets bumpy on the plane or I hear a noise that sounds like one of the engines has fallen off, I look at the flight attendants. If they're still reading or chatting, I feel like things must be ok. When they look nervous-that's when I flip out!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?