Friday, March 19, 2004

Today's Airline Adventures - Scientologists! Near Arrest!
Flew today from San Jose to Fort Meyers, FL via Houston and Tampa Bay. This has singularly been the most screwed up day of travel in my life. On the first flight I got seated next to a cute girl from Florida. I made a few guesses after learning of her hometown, and her old high school, and I figured out that she was in Scientology. Quick disclaimer - as a general rule I don't write about scientology, as it is one of the few charged subjects that I don't want to go near. Althouh I am cognizant about enough of their beliefs to know that it is not for me, I still regard it as a religion that should have protections of the state. The thing is though, that I had never actually met a Scientologist. So I chatted with the girl for a long time, bought her a slice of pizza after the flight, and tried to figure out the way she looked at the world while being respectful of her random beliefs. Quite a cool experience, checked one thing off the list of things I have wanted to do.

On the plane ride from Houston to Tampa the girl was seated far in front of me, so I lost track of her. I got a new guy to sit next to me, who as a matter of principle, insisted on having his cell phone on, under the guise that since it wasn't an analog cell phone, it wouldn't interfere with plane equipment. I was annoyed, but didn't want to say anything....until late in the flight an a drunken lush, supported in part by an ex-cop started screaming. "Turn the phone off - your endangering our lives!" "You fucking idiot, listen to me you cocky kid". While I agreed with them in principle, their tone was a bit much. I told the guys to calm down a bit and get a flight attendant - it was not as if we were all going to have to put on parachuttes at that instant.

Stupid me, I was now involved. The lush ran off to flight attendant and began screaming about both of us having our cell phones on (mine of course was off), and ordering everybody to put parachuttes on. I calmly explained the situation to the attendants, who were just annoyed now. They realized this was totally frivolous (yes the kid was stupid, yet at this point he had learned his lesson), but the two lushes were threatening to file a report. So it became a game of everybody covering their asses, and they held the kid and I over a few minutes to fill out paperwork. Wait, they only made the kid fill out paperwork. They couldn't see the point of having me put my name on the record as I hadn't really done anything. At this point though, the kid started yelling at me to put my name down to back his story up. I nodded, waited for him to get obsessed again with what happened, and then saw the flight attendants motion me out.

Moral of the story - don't try to deal with crazy people on planes.

Oh yeah, as a kicker for my tampa to fort meyers flight, guess who I got to sit next to? You got it - the same cop. I actually convinced him that the drunken lush was being an idiot, and then had a good conversation with him (he served in 'nam, and i like war stories). Finally, my Uncle Buck was waiting to pick me up........

So that's that. I'm sleep now, so maybe I'll write more tomorrow.

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