Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Airborne Menopausal

On the plane going to Detroit in late November for Thanksgiving, there was a twenty-something passenger in the row in front of me who was very upset because he felt hot. “It’s hot! I’m too hot! This is terrible!” There was a to-do about accessing his carry-on so he could put his sweater in it.

Later he was very upset again: “It’s cold! I’m too cold! Before I was hot, and now I’m cold! You’d better believe I’m going to be calling customer service about this. This is the worst airline ever!” Another to-do about getting his sweater back.

One flight attendant was casual and friendly with him; a second bustled up and spoke to him rather harshly. A person in my own row leaned over to whisper to the nicer flight attendant about what condition she thought the unhappy passenger had and how much compassion she was feeling for him. I tapped the same flight attendant and said, “You know what his problem is? Menopause. I feel the exact same way.” She thought that was funny, or pretended to.

The airport shuttle service I used for many years in Michigan went out of business in the past couple of years, so I have switched to another of the rather few choices, and this time waited for about 30 minutes in the freezing cold parking garage before my driver came along. Just as he was putting my suitcase in the back of the van, another passenger stormed up enraged,  threw his bag through the open side door onto one of the seats, and screamed “F*ck!” He apparently had failed to connect with another driver earlier and was now afraid he’d be late for a scheduled conference call. He berated our driver, who kept saying he didn’t know anything about it.

As we rolled toward Ypsilanti, I learned that the driver was in an aggrieved mood having nothing to do with the enraged passenger, though I’m sure that didn’t help. He said he had not been paid for two weeks, that the newish owner of the business had assured him that his salary would be paid on such-and-such day, and accordingly he had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for his pregnant wife only to be stiffed again; he had to cancel the appointment. He said things were perfect under the former owner, but terrible now. The ride cost $32 (for about 12 minutes of travel time); I tipped him $20.

Returning to the airport ten days later, I asked a different driver how he likes working for this company and found out that he loves it. The owner is a totally great guy who doesn’t make anyone work on any holiday unless he or she wants to. If no one wants to work, they simply don’t take reservations for that day. This driver said that on Thanksgiving, he and the boss were the only two people working, and at the end of the day, the boss turned over all his tips to his employee. They are even golf buddies. Odd. The first guy had brown skin and the second guy had white skin. I don’t know if that explains anything.

My Thanksgiving visit was very nice. As usual, there were just four of us present for the festive meal—my parents, my sister and myself. We had delicious roast chicken, stuffing, guacamole (as there was an avocado on hand that had failed the palpation test), Waldorf salad, rolls, and cheese biscotti. My mother made the final two items; my father made everything else. I had lunch with Ginny at CafĂ© Zola (salmon burger!) and with Amy at Seva. The last time I was at Seva, they had just opened and the chemical smell was so awful, I (with Ginny) had to leave. On this visit, Amy said firmly that there is no longer any chemical smell—she was right about that—and that she would meet me there. As always, my whole visit was very agreeable, plus it snowed!

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