Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fear of Flying?

You know, we really don't have enough time to shop in our lives.  It's so thoughtful of the airlines to provide us with some shopping options while they have us all strapped into those tiny seats with no means of escape.  After all, there’s no room to do anything else, why not flip through a Sky Mall magazine?
"Tired of trying to catch spiders way up high on your vaulted ceilings?  Have we got a product for you!"
Good god those things are absolutely full of just the sort of rubbish that’s perfect for "someone who has everything".  
Why would anyone buy anything from Sky Mall?  A friend of mine came up with this theory: “I think it's because crap looks significantly better thousands of feet in the air in dim lighting with pressure in your head. Really, you get a good strong pressure going between your ears and all of a sudden that hot dog cooker shaped like R2D2 looks pretty good!”
I especially like the section on Garage Organizers.  You're certainly going to need a great big one to store all the crap you buy from the Sky Mall magazine because you're inevitably NEVER going to use it!

The more I fly, the more I'm amazed that there is any independent thought left in America at all.  (Wake up Canada.  You’re part of this!)  It is truly a brain dead society, full of people wandering aimlessly through life, doing what they're told.  And nowhere else is it so obvious as in airports and on airplanes.

Waiting lounges are inundated with big screen TVs blaring out CNN.  And it ain't news they're showing, it's advertising dressed up as news.  "Condoleezza Rice plays classical music, but works out to Led Zeppelin!  What do you think of that?"  
What I think of that is "Who gives a flying f*ck?!?"  The woman is at the center of the carnage that is Iraq, and the TV is spoon feeding us human-interest drivel?

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has raised the terror level to ORANGE!  We're asked to be extra vigilant during this time of increased threat.  Perhaps we'd all be better off if we just listened to a few bars of "Stairway to Heaven"?

One would think that maybe people are too smart to buy all the crap that we're being fed.  One would be wrong.  All you have to do is listen to people's cell phone conversations (as if we have a choice because they insist on yelling into the damn things) to realize that the majority of the population has decided to disregard all of their cerebral capacity.  
"The plane just landed.  Now we're pulling up to the gate.  Now I'm walking off the plane.  Hey, there’s someone who looks like Brad Pitt.  Now I'm passing a Starbucks.  Now I'm walking into the baggage claim area."  
No wonder the telecom companies continue to make a killing.  They are simply taking advantage of our ridiculous need to broadcast inane facets of our petty little lives to anyone who will listen.  I swear at least half of these people are talking to their own answering machines.  No human being could possibly be on the other end, unless of course the recipient is merrily spouting his or her own gibberish at the same time.  

Even more flabbergasting was a small Asian woman sitting in front of me who spent almost a whole flight from Washington Dulles to Seattle trying to send text messages.  She seemed to get increasingly frustrated each time it didn't work.  There are so many things fundamentally wrong with that, I simply don't know where to start.

But maybe we’re just doing what’s expected of us?  Walk by the news agency in any airport and look at all the magazines and newspapers dedicated to peddling celebrity worship.  Whether it’s sports, fashion, Hollywood or even politics (“Oprah for President?”), we’re certainly being encouraged to get in line and join the homogenized society.  Even “The Economist” has updated its format so it looks more like “People Magazine”.  

Before we know it, we’re all mind-numbingly strolling through the airport with glazed eyes, humming the same tune and thinking about who’s going to win “Rock Star Supernova”.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a list of observations from a day of flying this past Saturday that would seem more appropriate in a movie about zombies:
- people unable to realize that coins will in fact set off the metal detector
- people who stand for 20 minutes in a line-up to get their ticket checked, then get surprised and flustered when they reach the front and they're asked to show their ticket
- people who try to bring coffee onto a plane when there are huge banners all over the airport saying "No Liquids on any Flight", and respond by screaming at the ticket agent  (maybe they should scream at Condoleezza?)

Yup, whether we’re buying our crap from Sky Mall or the media, it’s all still crap.  Unfortunately for us, the famous old saying applies here as well as anywhere, “Crap in…Crap out”.