A Few Words Before Takeoff

By Dan Conaway

PRE-FLIGHT MESSAGES

To: our airport

That logo on the front of garage gargantua could be a touch larger. While it can be seen from the surface of the moon, I don’t think the Mars rover is picking it up yet.

To: my belt

I apologize for throwing you all alone onto the conveyor. While my shoes, wallet, phone, watch, dignity and 43¢ in change went in the bin before you, you had to make that dark passage all by yourself.

To: the woman behind me

I apologize for the misunderstanding. When I asked, while undoing my belt, “May I put this in yours?” I assure you I was referring to your bin since mine had already departed without my belt.

To: the full body scanner

Thanks. Nobody’s been that interested in seeing everything I have in decades. Wanna go for a drink sometime?

To: the Transportation Security Administration team

Whatever civil service job you had before that made you so unhappy you left it to do this one, it’s obviously not making a single one of you any happier. Trust me, any job that requires you to snap on bright blue plastic gloves before you ask people to remove articles of clothing is not going to give you any positive feedback. But, then again, if any of you were smiling while you were doing that it would be downright creepy.

To: the Starbucks staff in concourse B

Do you trade shifts with the security bunch up front? I thought I was going to have to take off my belt again to get a cup of coffee, or raise my arms above my head for two Sweet’N Lo’s. Does everybody working here train at the DMV? Is the whole airport a rehab program for the clinically depressed?

To: the airlines, all airlines

While you charge us an arm and a leg and give us a finger in return, the rest if our bodies get virtually strip-searched for the privilege. Figured against the cost of my ticket, even if I value the tiny cup of bad coffee at 50 bucks, that makes each one of the stale peanuts worth about $37.50. By the way, in my own pitiful rebellion, my phone’s on, this iPad is on and they’re staying that way. Oh, the 300-lb. ex-wrestler with the head cold and curious rash in the seat next to me and in some of mine? His phone’s on, too, his tray is not in the upright and locked position, and there’s no way I’m using that seat cushion as a flotation device.

To: terrorists

Congratulations, we’re scared beyond reason. Our tsunami of a bureaucratic overreaction to your cowardly acts has made the whole miserable flying experience exponentially more miserable before the plane even takes off. Only you and our penchant for national hysteria could make a seat on a bus look good, and I’m talking a seat next to the bathroom.

I’m a Memphian, and the only threat my belt represented came from that woman’s husband.

Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at dan@wakesomebodyup.com.