my travel to mendoza, argentina, extended to 30 hours, including:
a car ride
a bus ride
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!