thoughts on arrival

my travel to mendoza, argentina, extended to 30 hours, including:
a car ride
three flights
a bus ride
a taxi
2 1/2 hours of sitting on a plane, waiting for a mechanical issue to be sorted
one plane change, due to mechanical problems (which took more than an hour, since the first plane was fully loaded and ready to go)
1 hour sitting on a plane, waiting for paperwork to be finished
1 missed connection
1 very overdue bed

i had an insight at midnight, in the washington dc, dulles, airport. we’d just been off-loaded from our plane, after sitting out on the runway for 2 1/2 hours, waiting for a small mechanical fix. we were all pretty annoyed, sleepy, and grumpy. i’ll be the last to pass judgement on someone being a little too loud with their grumbling, hoping, in some misplaced passive-aggressive way, that the right airline employee will hear my brilliant insights, and the entire air travel industry will change as a result. i’ve been that guy.

but this time, i kept my thoughts to myself.

which is why i couldn’t help but notice the other guy who didn’t keep his thoughts to himself.

his diatribe, to the guy who had been – and would be again, in a few minutes — sitting next to me, went something like this, but about 10 or 15 minutes longer: “i’m the number one flier for this airline! this whole airline is falling apart! it’s not the fault of the people on the plane — their morale is in the toilet. it’s their CEO, who is an arrogant *&$%. actually, i’m the #2 flier on this airline. i have flown 28,000,000. i fly 1,000,000 miles a year. i’ve flown 365,000,000 miles on this airline alone so far this year — a world record! i live in l.a., new york, london, brussels, and a couple other places. i’m never flying this airline again!”

blah, blah, blah — on and on and on. one sentence about how horrible the airline was, followed by a sentence about how important he was (turns out the guy had something to do with licensing m.c.escher’s art, which was the only interesting tidbit in the whole thing).

people around me were whispering, “i wish that guy would shut up,” and stuff like that (we were all waiting to board the new plane). so i turned around an politely asked him (really!), “sir, we’ve all had a long night, and i appreciate that you’re frustrated; but i’m wondering if you could quiet down a bit.”

he went off on me, telling me that i have a choice whether or not i listen (hmm, really?), and that i should get earplugs.

that’s when i had my insight. i’m a bit of an arrogant jerk — or, at least, i have a propensity to that end that i’ve been bringing to the feet of jesus for several years now. and i fly about 120,000 miles a year. this guy was one of the biggest arrogant jerks i’ve ever come into contact with; and he flies about 1,000,000 miles a year.

are you seeing it?

arrogant jerkishness is in direct correlation to airline miles flown! if i can just fly less, i’ll be a really nice and humble guy!

4 thoughts on “thoughts on arrival”

  1. One of my biggest pet peeves is inconsiderate people, like him. Can you imagine the roar it would have been if everyone on that plane were complaining loudly like that?

    I think you are partly right though, but it depends on the type of position you hold. We have a salesman that flies in all the time from New York, and he does a LOT of flying too, but he is not a jerk in the least. He’s like the nicest guy ever. So, I think if you are in a position where you are somebody really important, the airline miles just make you think you are more important. The last 2 times I’ve flown, it was on someone elses expense, which to me, was humbling. I guess it is just a different perspective that some people lose.

  2. Yes, I know! That is why I said it could be “partly” correct! I mean, spending that much time in an airplane in one year could drive anyone crazy!!

  3. your corellation at the end would make a good index card on the indexed blog. you should have spun around with your fists out and moved towards him saying that it is his choice to get hit or not. (joking) You could always just say that your speaking to the gentleman was simply because of your desire for justice for the other people standing in line ;) Traveling is annoying but thank you for sharing how you dealt with the annoyance and how God spoke to you through that small occurrence. have a good trip.

Leave a Reply