I finally got a bit of narrative arc to spice up the otherwise banal nonfiction narrative of my trip home to Wisconsin from Denver.
I don't fear flying at all. As I have posted many times, a flying plane is one of the safest places on the planet. 80% or more of the anxiety and angst I have about flying places happens before the actual flying of the plane. And most of that negativity takes place while transiting through TSA security at the airport. Yes, the organization that is supposed to ensure air passenger safety fills me with most of the dread I feel (great or small) during every trip I take by plane. And it's not the terror instilled by the surly (usually, not always) TSA agents that they'll accost me in some way, but also some of the passengers. Most passengers are fairly sane and organized. Why they can't seem to pull their sh!t together when it comes to the simple task of placing bags and bins with personal possessions on the scanner conveyor belt is an elusive and unsolvable mystery, but I find that more entertaining than angsty. Notwithstanding, the lines at security often dismay me. Airports and the airlines seem to have fairly good logistics when it comes to most things, like parking, flow of traffic, check in, arrival and departure schedules, restaurants and restrooms, terminal transport, etc. So why is TSA security always an overcrowded cattle herding clusterf@ck? I suspect it's because it is the one part of air travel that is mandatory for people to get to their flights. In the other areas you have choices, such as what airline to take or best/cheapest way to get to/thru the airport. But TSA doesn't give anyone a choice and because of that they have no incentive to improve on their system. They could. I know of several cost effective ways, but they'll have to pay me to get them.
Anyway, after the Colorado Springs Shuttle dropped me at the Denver airport, I made my way through security fairly PTSD free and got to my gate with plenty of time to spare. Flight was on time and I chillaxed a bit in the gate area, checking weather, emailing Deborah to tell her I was on schedule, filling my water bottle, and assorted things. I was one of the first people called to board the plane (Zone 1) and got an aisle seat next to a benign couple of liberal elites who didn't bother me. Things seemed to be going well as the plane eased back from the gate and the cabin crew started their safety spiel. During the oxygen mask portion of the spiel, which I wasn't paying that close attention to (having heard it many times before), I heard a loud thunk and looked up to see the stewardess for our section making a surprised face. The thunk had been caused by all her demo equipment (life vest, seat belt, etc.) being dumped on the floor for reasons unknown. But the reasons were not unknown for long. After the stewardess finished her spiel, she stormed toward the back of the plane and I heard her say, "Someone's getting removed from this plane." A few seconds later, the Captain came over the Intercomm to tell us we had to return to the gate briefly "to take care of a matter," which we did. The matter was apparently an unruly passenger. As best I can tell, the stewardess had put her gear on a vacant seat next to a passenger, because the plane was not full. But the passenger must have been put out by the stewardess invading a space that wasn't even his, and he knocked the gear onto the floor. Bold. But also douchey, and he paid by being forcibly removed from the plane.
I thoroughly enjoy those rare instances in life when justice is meted out to douchebags. It happens far too infrequently if you ask me, but no one ever asks me.
Anyway, the plane, now much less ego heavy, took off and the rest of the flight was fairly normal, save for some turbulence.