a.k.a “What to do in the boarding area when there is no free wireless…”

As a public service, I am here to expose some of the great puzzles of the species humanus nomadus moderni.

(1) Coffee. Is Starbucks truly as superior to say the brew bubbling at Cinnabun, Nathans, or Burger King? When I say “truly superior” I mean enough to warrant a 7 fold increase in the line length? I heard the guy in the TSA mutter as he glanced over at the snaking line, “I wish I could have little bit of that 5 buck coffee flow”. I am guessing the TSA rate is a bit lower than the Starbucks profit margin.

(2) Rented Headsets. I am utterly amazed at the sheer volume of passengers that will fork over 5 bucks (at least they could splurge on the coffee before boarding) to “rent” headphones for a video rental.. when any $3 pair of portable headphones can jack into the mini plug for free. There must be some sort of oxygen depletion or herding behavior at work.

(3) Automation. Airport bathrooms are pretty much like 20 years ago watching the Jetsons. It would be nice to have a little bit of delay in the automatic toilet flushing after one is…. ahem, done with business. That great “sucking” sound almost makes me feel like I’m getting slurped down the tube. And automatic faucets… is this the demise of the do it yourself ethos? I can only imagine more automation going on around the toliet paper dispenser… okay, let’s not go there.

(4) Moving Sidewalks. We pay money to cram ourselves into human steerage compartments for several hours, and then present the option to suffer more atrophy? Where is that pioneer spirit, people who rode covered wagons across a roadless Western Wilderness? … oh, yes, I will take fries with that.. yes, super size me.

(5) Smiles. For hordes of people either embarking on a grand adventure vacation or returning home from a rigorous business trip, there sure are not many happy looking people in airports. Just getting out on the roads beyond the white curb line with this surly crowd is enough to keep me riding the train.

(6) Mechanics. Will the jet engines stall if my tray table is not clasped? Will a hazard light flash if my bag is not stored under the seat? Wow, these 25 year old jets are sophisticated!

(7) Prices. Is the cost of shipping mozzarella cheese past security gates that expensive to warrant a $6 personal pan pizza? It must be the only good stuff that gets cooked here.

(8) …. No time to write more. They are starting to the pre-boarding call, and although I in group 8, I am going hover around the gate to compete in the race to the seats.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. The hatred I feel from the moving sidewalk people always frightens me as I sprint down their aisle of laziness (I am often late for connecting flights due to the pure evil that is air travel today).

    Their pudgy eyes scream in anger as their slothful reverie is disturbed but I am gone too quickly for their lard soaked reflexes to react.

  2. On the flip side, depending on what airport you get stuck in there can actually be some really great ways to spend time (apart from wireless access, though I actually cherish the time I spend offline). Flying out of Victoria into the States, I regularly go through Seattle, and I truly appreciate the public artwork they have all over the airport (though the never-ending construction is another story). There are parts of that airport (and others I can think of) that I can actually enjoy spending time in just because they are an architecutrally (and artistically) interesting public space, something in our age of efficiency and four-square-walls-and-a-ceiling seems to me to becoming increasingly rare.

    Cheers, Scott

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