Friday, August 26, 2011

Air travel II - (sk)In-Flight

I like airports, actually. They offer such good post fodder.

I step through the door and come face to face with a half-naked middle-aged man. Well not face to face; he’s turned toward the wall so all I see is his pasty, mealy back. On the shelf in front of him is his open carry-on. He’s slathering on his deodorant. I feel like I’m at the YMCA.

The door to my stall bangs shut as I step around the corner – to see another shirtless fifty-something man bent over one of the row of sinks. His gut rests on the countertop as he washes his face. This guy didn’t make it far in the Gladiator audition process either. I take one of the sinks on the opposite wall…and there’s the guy, his back and his front, reflected infinitely in our opposing mirrored walls.

Really, this is nothing compared to a Japanese onsen in terms of proximity to naked strangers and their degree of nakedness. Still, I can’t wait to get on my flight to Tokyo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Air Travel - Wonder & Woe

Last week I flew from Newark, New Jersey to Tokyo’s Narita Airport. (If this were a facebook status update I’d simply say ‘EWR-NRT’, assuming such snark has not yet become passé.) It had been a while since I’d flown –six weeks almost – so it took no time for the incongruous wonders of air travel, like the burn of a jalapeno, to rip into my senses once again.

Of course, the physics alone are mind-boggling. I’m sure Orville and Wilbur never imagined an eight-million-pound plane, loaded with another eight million pounds of people, luggage and processed dinner omelets, could make it over a sand dune let alone the Pacific Ocean. Legalized extortion (commonly known as the fuel surcharge) notwithstanding, that we can in twenty-four hours get from any semi-major city in the world to any other semi-major city not currently steeped in rioting and/or armed conflict is nothing less than an everyday miracle (until we figure out those wormhole things). Yet people will still complain about the dinner omelets.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Go Find Your Own Top Ten

Every time I turn to my twitter feed there's somebody, or several somebodies, or one hyperactive somebody, tweeting relentlessly trying to outdo all the other somebodies, linking to an article or a blog post centered around a numbered list: Top Ten Mistakes New Tweeters Make. Seven Kinds of Shoes You Should Never Wear to a Job Interview. Thirteen (13? Really?) Words You Need Right Now To Get You More Traffic!

I hate these lists, partly because I read them knowing full well they are written because research shows most people gravitate toward numbered lists when they want information, advice or more traffic. And I hate being most people. Sounds snobbish I know, but Yogi Berra wasn't like most people and look, people still remember and repeat his advice. I doubt anyone is going to remember WebBizMan for all those great numbered lists he tweeted to his 152,804 followers (149,934 of whom he himself follows, very closely no doubt). Given the choice, I'd much rather be Yogi Berra than WebBizMan.