Trip type: Personal
The word ‘No’ is one you hear frequently at the airport, especially from TSA and airline staff: “No, you can’t bring that bottle of hairspray in your carry-on”; “No, you can’t put your dog through the X-ray machine” (true story–I once saw a woman contemplating whether she was supposed to carry her Shih Tzu or put it on the conveyor), “No, you can’t jam your roller board under the seat in front of you if there isn’t any overhead space.” You catch my drift.
When the word ‘No’ comes from a fellow passenger however, things get decidedly more interesting. En route to Austin for a wedding last week, E and I observed two such instances:
#1: “No, I shall keep my jacket.”
My first story happened within 10 minutes of arriving at the airport (always a great tone to set for an afternoon of flying fun, no?). After scanning in at the podium, E and I queued at the third of four conveyors as it appeared that some altercation was going down on the fourth conveyor. In fact, the fourth conveyor was completely stopped, giving off a post-apocalyptic vibe with all its luggage and bins frozen on their way to the X-ray machine.
Beside the abandoned lane was a family made up of about eight 20-somethings and one old man who was probably in his mid-70s. E and I quickly pieced together that the issue was with the older man who was dressed in a full suit and not speaking English. The younger family members were animatedly arguing with him as he, apparently, did not want to remove his suit jacket. After finally coaxing it off of him several minutes later, he did not want to relinquish it. He just kept yelling what I can only assume was, “No, I shall keep my jacket!” Or something to this effect.
The polite Minnesotans all around this debacle clucked concernedly to each other as the perturbed TSA agent kept (helpfully!) interjecting that the jacket went through the machine or the man didn’t fly.
I don’t know what became of this group. We clearly needed drinks after the steep emotional toll of observing this all go down so once through security, we were off to Surdyk’s.
#2: “No, I don’t think I can do that.”
As is my usual wont, I had booked us in exit rows for both ends of the trip. Settled in to Row 9, the Delta agent came by to get our verbal confirmation that we would all be willing and able to help in an emergency situation. Seated to E’s left (on the aisle) was an older woman who, when asked if she could help in an emergency situation, answered, “No, I don’t think I can do that.”
Now, on the one hand I have to give her kudos for her honesty. She certainly didn’t look like she’d be the most useful in a high-adrenaline situation (there’s no way she could have done anything with a 42 pound door) so it was definitely for the good of the plane that she responded in the negative.
On the other hand, why the deuce did she book an emergency row in the first place?
At any rate, the Delta flight attendant handled the situation calmly. He took her response in stride and suggested another seat for her…which she turned down. Yes, it was at the back of the plane but oy. She then suggested that she’d stay in her seat after all but the flight attendant told her that she’d already said no and therefore he had to respect that response and move her. As you can imagine, there was no shortage of passengers willing to switch with her so it didn’t take long to get the whole thing sorted. Plus, her replacement looked much more able-bodied should any disasters have arisen.
After a whole lot of surprising ‘no’s, we were finally off to the capital of Texas. Yeehaw and whatnot.
Home now, several things have been reaffirmed for me:
- I could die happily if I got to eat Migas daily.
- E can cut a serious rug.
- I am not built for heat. I was mostly a melty pool of Minnesotan for three straight days.
Until the next trip, y’all!