On Tattoos and Stupid Decisions

Remember when you were 18 and you thought to your self, “Self, now would be  an awesome time to get the biggest, baddest tattoo ever since I am of a sound, reasonable, and now legal mind”?

Then maybe you thought what the hell, let’s get another tattoo, and another. Before you know it, you have several tattoos, all in perfectly placed spots on your body.

Good work. Those are permanent, you know. Your 30-year-old self wishes that wasn’t the case. Stupid 18-year-old self, always up to no good.

Do you have regretful tattoos? When did you get them, and where are they located on your body? What’s the story behind them? Go on. Do share.

The Fun Is Over: You Want This Trip To End, Now!

Have you ever been midway through a long journey when that all-too familiar feeling creeps in? You know which one I’m talking about: the very moment when you ask yourself “what am I doing here?”

You’re exhausted, frustrated, hungry, dirty, uncomfortable. The trip you’re on—the one which cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, the one you’ve anticipated for months—well, that trip now feels like a tedious, mind-numbing slog.

You daydream of clean showers with hot water and strong pressure. Your own bed, miles and miles away, calls to you with its soft, clean linens. The few wrinkled, tattered clothes in your pack reek of the road’s pungent concoction. There will be no washing machine. There will be no dryer. The food, bland and tasteless, has left you crippled and in pain at times.

The fun is over. You just want to go home. And now.

Can a traveler experience a more depressing feeling? Doubtful. But you’re not alone. Millions of travelers have been there, myself included. You’ll see them at the bus station, the airport, the hotel lobby, ready to go home. Blurry eyes, defeated postures, unkempt appearances, bad attitudes—they all look the same.

Don’t join them. You’ve put too much time, money, and effort into this process to let a few mind games dictate whether or not your trip is a success. If you get to this point, seek out the most comfortable and enjoyable activity possible. Splurge a little if necessary.

A hot tub, a slice of pizza, and a beer is typically all I need to get over myself and get back to enjoying my journey.

What about you?

The Top 11 Most Amazing Airline Passengers

Last week, I painstakingly compiled a list of The Top 11 Most Annoying Airline Passengers. This week, a tip of the hat to The Top 11 Most Amazing Airline passengers.

1. The Full Passport Passenger of Mystery

When TFPPOM nonchalantly reaches for their tattered passport in the check-in line, you take notice. Stamps of every hue cover what little passport real estate remains—a kaleidoscope of international swashbuckling on full display.

You have never felt passport envy until now. Where have they been? Where are they going?

2. The Well-Traveled Child

Wise beyond their years, this kid has toured 72 countries extensively by the time they’re 7. What’s that you’re working on, Lil’ Johnny? A coloring book? Oh, a draft United Nations agreement for peace in the Middle East? Carry on. Might you pass the coloring book then?

3. The Former Flight Attendant

Order them a scotch. Sit back and listen. Everything you ever wanted to know about the business of flying is locked up in The Former Flight Attendant. Fancy gossip? They have plenty of that to go around, too.

4. The Seat Sacrificer

Airlines will occasionally entice a willing passenger with overnight hotel stays and other perks if they sacrifice their seat for whatever reason. This is where The Seat Sacrificer becomes somewhat of a god. Most passengers are nowhere near as flexible with their iteneries, or even concerned with the airline’s dilemma for that matter. The Seat Sacrificer is a true team player free from the chains of schedules and priorities.

5. The Returning Military Personnel

Always a heartwarming story despite your personal opinion on war. Especially if you’re lucky enough to witness the actual reunion at the terminal with their loved ones—man, powerful stuff.

6. The First Time Flyer

I can board a plane here in California and be in New York later today. Big deal. This means nothing to me. Not so for The First Time Flyer. Everything about flying is equally mind-blowing and frightening. Take offs, turbulence, landings—each event is a notch in The First Timers belt.They even pay attention to the mandatory safety presentation.

If you’re sitting window, offer them your seat. Point out the Grand Canyon. Even if you’re over Tennessee.

7. The Book Reader

The Book Reader has a certain Zen like quality to him/her. So engrossed in the details of their book, they’ll rarely participate in lengthy conversation, if at all. No chaos, no drama, no attitude. Just a good book and a long flight. Do not disturb The Book Reader.

8. The Eye to Eye

You don’t know The Eye to Eye, but you two share something special, be it callous comments directed towards a Top 11 Most Annoying Airline Passenger or inside jokes on an event you both witnessed. You’re not friends. Not even acquaintances. Just kindred Eye to Eye spirits.

You’ll go hours without saying a word, but by the end of the flight, you exchange well-wishes and a few more subtle jabs at annoying passengers.

9. The Million Mile Business Flyer

The very definition of efficiency, these folks know how to fly. Given that a significant portion of their time is spent in airports and on planes, one would be wise to study their habits and techniques. Note the lack of oversized carry-ons. Ready for business. Precise. Calculated. Always calm.

One minor gripe, though, Million Mile Business Flyer: Lose the smug look on your face while cutting in front of us common folk en route to your short business class boarding line.

10. The Middle Seat Saver

Ever flown Southwest?  Then you know this trick. If the flight is not full, you and The Middle Seat Saver have an unspoken agreement to pile your stuff between you. Avoid eye contact with boarding passengers. The games we play.

11. The Roadblock

You’re about to miss your connecting flight. And nobody cares. Except for The Roadblock, who senses your desperate urgency. They’ll block traffic in the aisle to give you a jump on those few precious seconds. Good flying karma is coming your way Roadblock.

The Top 11 Most Annoying Airline Passengers

The joys of flying are often exacerbated by these 11 knuckleheads.

1. The Chair Kicker

A gentle bump here and there, no big deal. Every 30 seconds? I’m about to flip out. Adjusting my seatback in a violent manner and rolling my eyes at you are completely ineffective. One of these days I’ll wait until your tray is full of liquids and electronics, when I will then crank my seat back and forth 40 times.

You’ll never kick another seat again. Mark my words.

2. The Climb Over You To Grab Their Bags In The Overhead

The race is on. Once it’s safe to unfasten our seat belts, let’s see who can grab their bags the fastest. Be sure you put your crotch in everyone’s face as you climb over them. And then stand uncomfortably in the aisle for 15 minutes waiting for an entire plane load of people in front of you to disembark.

3. The Non-Attentive Parent

Got a crying, whining kid who won’t shut up? No problem. Slip on those headphones and let every other adult around you suffer. Baby poo-poo their diaper? Don’t worry about it. Take a nap. Little runt putting their greasy, dirty hands all over everyone’s stuff? Oh well. Somebody has to entertain this child.

Hey, just a quick FYI: You’re the worst parent in the world.

4. The Me Me Me!

Ding. Flight attendant. Yes, I’m quite cold. Fetch me a blanket. Ding. Flight attendant. Yes, I’m awfully thirsty. Water, right away. Ding. Flight attendant. Yes, I would like a pillow. Ding. Flight attendant. More water please, and perhaps a little orange juice. Ding. Flight attendant. Any idea when we’ll land? Ding. Flight attendant. This pillow isn’t soft enough.

Ding. Annoying passenger. We hate you. Ding. A lot.

5. The Use Your Shoulder As A Pillow

Here’s a  tip: Purchase one of those U-shaped pillow things they sell in every airport gift shop around the world. This should keep your giant, drooling head in your own cramped space. If you emerge from your deep slumber covered in obscene Shapie decorations, don’t look at me. You earned it.

6. The Sickie

You look like you have the plague. Throw in a metal tube with closed air circulation, and you and your fellow passengers are sure to have a quality flight. So be sure not to cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing all over the place. Breathe really heavy in my general direction, too. I really appreciate that. Tissue?

7. The Stand Up To Stretch With Their Ass In Your Face

I prefer aisle seats, but immediately regret the decision the moment I realize I’m parked next to people who can’t sit still longer than 10 minutes. Better stretch those legs and stand with your ass 3 inches from my face. No, that’s not awkward at all.

8. The Talker

Easy to spot, difficult to avoid. They were in the terminal chatting with the wall when nobody else would listen. Alone time is a thing of the past should you unfortunately be seated next to this guy. Hey, where you from? What do you do? Oh, where you traveling? Very nice, I went there once with my family. My sister’s husband’s brother’s uncle worked near there once and blah blah blah blah.

Your life story. So interesting. Shoot me.

9. The Fart Machine

Sly as a smelly fox, The Fart Machine acts like he’s not dropping noxious fumes every few seconds. You know it’s him. He knows you know, too. But he’ll avoid eye contact at all costs. And keep on rippin’ em.

I am pointing my vent at you full blast for a reason, pal.

10. The Will Not Check Enormous Bags

Your carry-on is the size of a rhinoceros. But there is no chance in hell you’re checking it. So we’ll wait a half hour as you struggle to jam that thing into the overhead. Make sure everyone gets involved in your carry-on tribulation while you’re at. Still doesn’t fit? Rearrange the small, reasonable carry-ons. Maybe even drop a few bags on our heads. Spend the half hour apologizing profusely. Insincerely, of course.

See my small backpack there? Yeah, the one under the seat. Jackass.

11. The Stand In Line At The Restroom

The flight crew has already instructed you 20 times to please be seated until the restroom is available. Yet there you go again, hoping to secure your spot in line. Somehow you are always a window seat. Why does this happen?

How about you not drink 5 gallons of beer before boarding the plane next time? Just a thought.