A TRAVELER WRITES: Friday morning may be the worst time to travel. It’s not really the weekend yet, so everybody still has a weekday hangover, anticipating the joyous rewards that Saturday brings. And there are rules — especially at the airport.
One firm rule of travel: Never follow a large group all wearing the same shirts. It’s either going to be a day camp, a family reunion, airline pilots or the maintenance crew that just repaired the toilets used by any of the above groups.
Uniformed groups are fraught with confusion, indecision and (in all the cases above) a unique collective odor. Uniformed people are the devil, children, especially at 5a.m. (Can I get a witness?).
Another firm rule of Friday travel is the escalator SNAFU. There is an unwritten rule at airports that all “Up” escalators must be turned off prior to 7 a.m. The “Down” ones still work, mind you. Problem is, nobody is coming down. We’re all heading to our gate to Peoria or Walla Walla.
Coinciding with any broken “Up” escalator is a senior citizen with a 350-pound, hard-sided yellow piece of Samsonite. Or a large family of Mormon girls, each with Hello Kitty or Hanna Montana suitcases. A broken escalator is never looked at as the equivalent of a flight of stairs. It is a Rubix Cube mystery. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200.
Even though flights leave at 5 a.m., the TSA’s work starts at 6:30. There is usually a big commotion on TSA Friday. It’s apparently “Agent Training Day,” much resembling a road construction crew. Seven experienced agents observe as a rookie fumbles through your luggage, repeatedly asking how many ounces of fluid are allowed.
When they miss detecting the Crocodile Dundee knife you may be carrying, their hazing punishment is to get up on the conveyor belt and sing their National Anthem and a selected Justin Beiber tune. Some countries National Anthems are longer than others. Some even require a dance. That’s fine, but I do have a plane to catch.
Once through the maze of security, I search for my beloved coffee. But, alas, only Starbucks is open. Even Dunkin is still making the Donuts at this time. I am convinced that Starbucks hires extra people to stand on line, much like movie directors hire “extras” for city scenes.
Fortunately, there are no Uniformed people, TSA folks or senior citizens in front of me – only other caffeine addicts. Upon receiving my skim latte with a 3rd shot, I turn to the priestess of steamed milk and say “Thank God It’s Friday.”
“Bite me,” she mumbles.
Bob Michelin, an account executive from Old Bridge, always has his eyes and ears open, as well as his mind. He writes an occasional column for CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
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