Airports: The Great Equalizers

Good morning friends, blends, and strangers who love/hate flying.

I was so excited that so many of you enjoyed my recap of the Healthy Living Summit Cocktail Party.  Big shout out to Katy Widrick for the twitter love, spreading my words far and wide to her many followers and fans.

Even though the cocktail party was a blast, I’ll admit, there was one aspect of the trip to Philly (or rather, from) that cast a hideous pallor over my memories.

Not unlike the beautiful skin tone of Lord Voldy. (Click image for source)

That thing was so awful that it even warranted an angry tweet from yours truly.

You should never tweet angry. But sometimes, I do.

See, the beau and I are starting the long distance relationship thing a little early this week, with him leaving for a business trip and me heading back to North Carolina, also for work. He called me early Monday morning when his flight landed to say good morning and inquire about my weekend.  And, as we all saw in yesterday’s post, yes, I may be a bit of a loud character.

If you went from hot tub to snow, you'd be screaming, too!

But when the fellow across from me shushed me, I couldn’t help but (quietly) ask,

“Excuse me?”

“I said ‘Shh’…. I don’t want to hear your conversation.”

……………………………oh.  I’m sorry. I thought this was America.  Not District 12 (Bonus points for Hunger Games reference understanding) where we have to be silent coyotes for the sake of everyone around us and to make sure we don’t offend President Snow (who this guy reminds me of.  Roll with me on the Hunger Games train. And if you’re not, read them now.  You will thank me.)

And yes, maybe I was loud.  I tend to be. But that’s the thing about airports.  EVERYONE is loud.  All around us, there were babies crying, folks trying to get a hold of their rides (“What?! Terminal B?  Did you say BEE or SMEE?! WHERE IS TERMINAL SMEE?!”), tearful phone goodbyes, video game playing, iPod listening.  It’s a loud place.  And I think that sometimes, for infrequent travelers (I am the opposite of this), they forget that, for some of us, the airport is part of our day-to-day lives.

When I looked up in horror at this jerk, all I felt was a totally mind-consuming rage.

Face has been covered because I realized it's not nice to tweet angry.

I think my thought process was something along these lines:

“Who does this ass-hat think he is? Look at him, sitting with that smug su-do-ku playing look on his face [you know the one that all good sudoku-ers get when they su].  I bet he regularly powerwalks past slower walkers in his neighborhood track, and looks back at them, and shakes his head.  Yeah, he’s probably that kind of dude. I wonder if he’s ever purposefully spilled a drink on someone, or elbowed them for getting too close on public transportation. Likely.”

When he got up and left his stuff, I had crazy-person thoughts like “I want to follow him playing sounds of screaming babies on my phone.  is that a ringtone that I have?” I promise I didn’t look (but the thought crossed my mind.)

Airports somehow (and frequently) bring out the worst in some people.  I’ve seen folks have to be split up by TSA agents because they’ve started fights over who was supposed to board first.  This is not a joke.  I’ve watched people butt in front of entire hours worth of security lines, then receive death threats from the folks behind them. The pressure of flights leaving you behind, connecting flights, long lines, and expensive food just seems to put people on edge and make them total grouchballs.  And one grouchball leads to another, and then you have a collective rage blackout and forget how you ended up in a pile of cinnabons and $9 beer puddles with blood on your knuckles.

It.... it all happened so fast.

Luckily, on rare occasions, they can also bring out the best. Because I’ve also watched people share their overpriced Chinese food and laugh like they’ve been BFF when they find out their flight’s delayed due to thunderstorms.  Once, I even saw a Charlotte, NC local offer their guest room for someone whose flight was canceled until the next day.  Having slept over at the Charlotte airport before due to flight cancellations and rescheduling, I remember staying up late, chatting with my fellow airport warriors about past stories and bonding over our mutual tragedy.

The Real Tragedy? This was my bed.

As I fumed with rage blackout potential, I tried to remember those good times.  The laughter, the kindness of the occasional fellow passenger.  Heck, early yesterday morning, my undies fell out of my carry on and a wonderful lady alerted me, in the shadiest manner possible, that I had panties gone rogue.

Who, me?

And so I didn’t do anything rash, like mash a banana into his carry on or report him for sexual harassment and potential dangerous weapon concealment to TSA.  I just decided to walk away.

Whether you’re mean or nice, tall or short, old or young, rich or me poor, you can’t change what happens at the airport. You can’t bypass the security lines, you can’t MAKE the pilot take-off faster, you can’t demand that there be less traffic on the runway.  Airports are the great equalizer.  Maybe that guy chose to respond negatively, and be in a bad mood, but I chose to rise above it (quite literally) in the air, and had a wonderful conversation with my seat-buddy.

I still hope that guy was forced to sit by the toilet and that it smelled.  I hope it smelled REAL bad.

Healthy Choices at the Airport

Good afternoon (or evening… really it all depends on when I get internet access at this point.

So it’s 3:08 pm as I start this post, my flight is scheduled to take off at 3:35.  However, since Murphy’s Law states that every time you really want to go somewhere, your flight will inevitably be delayed…  Guess what happened to mine?

As a fairly frequent flyer (1-2x a month, though this past April/May it was more like 3x), I am very accustomed to airport living.  Once, on a flight to visit Ryan for our 2 year anniversary, I got stuck in the Charlotte Airport overnight….  I learned quickly that you don’t have many options when you’re stuck, so you may as well make the best of it.

My bed for the night.... the floor was heated... so there was that.

In the summer months especially, and with the Healthy Living Summit right around the corner, I figured that some of y’all would be traveling.  And, if you’re an unlucky duck like me and thunderstorms in Tampa somehow prevent your flight from RDU to PHL (damn air traffic control), you might be doing your best to stay healthy and fit in the airport of your choosing (or the airport you’re forced to stay in for reasons beyond your control.)

Here are my best tips for Healthy Choices at the Airport:

1. Don’t Check Your Bags

Ugh, bag fees.

This one will be healthy both for your wallet, and your body.  Airlines are frequently the fastest/easiest way to get from point A to point B, and they know it.  They’ve got the monopoly on the sky, unless your daddy owns a jet (if so, I have a deep-seeded friend crush on you, and think we should make things official.)  They have been jacking up the prices on checking bags for a while now, and there’s no sign of stopping (unless you’re on Southwest…. which checks up to two bags fo’ free. and is awesome.)  However, if you can cram all your junk into a carry on bag or two, you’ll save anywhere from $50-$100 round trip, and you’ll be getting some awesome muscles, lugging your junk around the terminals.  Speaking of that, it reminds me of point two.

2.  Even if your bag has wheels, and is meant to be dragged behind you, BUCK UP AND CARRY IT LIKE A CHAMP!

Then your arms will be jacked, like mine.

It’s awesome to whiz around the airport without being the constraints of a wheeled parasite acting as an extension to your arm.  I’ve learned it makes me faster, it makes me able to turn on a dime, and it gives my biceps a good workout.  I like to pretend it’s my own little “Les Mills” class.  I call it Body (scratchout) BaggagePump.

3. Be a little late.

This symbolizes late... but also just a love of my new watch.

Now, this next tip is not for the faint of heart.  If you’re not prepared to deal with stress or chaos and you’re not familiar with the airport you’re in…. maybe steer clear of this one.  But I’ll be honest: I’ve never sprinted harder than those few times in my life where I’ve heard my name called and I was still in the security line at the Philadelphia airport.  It’s like an endless cavern, that airport, and maneuvering my way around rabid Eagles fans and jaded students coming home from Temple, UPenn, Drexel, etc. while carrying my (incredibly full) bags has left me sweaty, panting… and on the plane.  Extra challenge? Do it in flip flops (the only way to travel, IMHO).

4. Avoid this place.

Demon icing

Seriously, I’d recommend a daily snack of pretzels and whipped cream for 2 weeks before I’d suggest going to Cinnabon. Their stats are insane (as in disgusting), and their food ends up making you feel like a sticky faced food monster.  You’re better off without it.  Trust me.

5. Healthy snacks almost always make it through security!

Ah, that's more like it.

I like to always have a few snacks on hand, something to stave off cravings for $18 cheese fries and $6 bags of chips.  I reccomend fruit and vegetables, cut up or prepped.  Dips are a great way to add some flavor, and I got lucky enough this flight to have my boss decide she hates chewing carrots and eating edamame hummus.  JACKPOT! (I’ve even heard of folks who’ve brought overnight oats on plane… it’s worth it.) Other good choices: Fiber One bars, homemade trail mix, pre-popped mini bags of popcorn. Bad choices: Doritos Fiery Habanero.  It will burn your mouth and you can’t even get liquids through security.  And your fingers will be orange.  Don’t blow this one.

6. Stairs, if you dare

Epic climb.

Airlines are full of convenient things like moving sidewalks, elevators, and escalators.  Screw em.  Go the long way, take the stairs instead, do it twice.  I’ve switched to taking the stairs everywhere I go now, and it gives me a great feeling of superiority when I see all those people waiting on the moving sidewalk for the slowpokes to move to the right. Just being honest.

7. BYO(water)B(ottle)

Beware: if you're near me at an airport.... I'll take a picture of you.

Airports are great for water bottles, as long as that bottle doesn’t contain fluids.  Try this funky one that I creepily took a picture of, I bet it feels great on your hands.  There are water fountains all over the place. GO NUTS!

8. Don’t pull your hair out

Just drink me.

I know the airport can be stressful, but don’t pull your hair out… or your eyelashes and eyebrows (they have a term for that, and you should probably get it checked out if that’s your first option).  Baldies aren’t cute (unless they’re ________)  If you’re feelings really stressed, go grab a beer.  I’ll be so expensive you won’t have any money left to buy those $18 cheesefries I talked about, and they’re made from grains…. grains are healthy, right?

Well…. luckily that only took me 30 minutes to write (and that was with the constant distraction of sneakily taking pictures of airport shenanigans.)  Guess I’ll go try to think of something to do for the next 3 hours (UGH!)

Edit: It ended up being a 3.5 hour delay. bleak.

Do you fly often?  

What’s your favorite airport?

Are you flying anywhere anytime soon?!