Flying to New Orleans

I arrived at the Pittsburgh International Airport two hours early to find it nearly deserted. Saturday night is a great time to fly out. The check-in area was virtually empty of people (except of course for the person ahead of me in line with three boxes of human blood!).

This gives me the opportunity to exercise my right of free speech and express my opinion that the insanity that is airport security should make us ashamed to call ourselves civilized [rank mode on]. I challenge someone to prove that the time and resources expended in this colossally stupid enterprise has actually succeeded in apprehending any credible threat to the public welfare. I accepted this absurdity until the removal of shoes began a few years ago. This endeavor is, in my opinion, the result of unbridled fearmongering…sigh [rant mode off].

Anyway, I arrived at the terminal in time to watch most of the restaurants close their gates; all but McDonald’s and TGIFriday’s. Not wanting to raise my cholesterol 20 points, I headed for the acronym. Just a word of warning – a half order of potato skins is still HUGE. Ron was a very friendly waiter and extremely attentive. He was disappointed when I told him that I do not fly often. So, if you find yourself eating at Friday’s at the airport, ask for Ron.

So, there are 14 of us waiting for the connecting flight to Washington D.C.: 11 men, two women (one wearing sunglasses at night), and a baby of indeterminant gender. The plane is a puddle jumper that seats about 50. Mercedes, the flight attendant, is hilarious. Her’s was the first safety speech I have listened to in years.

Dulles International was much busier. I strolled through a couple of shops (Border’s carried Newsweek, but not Time – I wonder if that has anything to do with the UUA’s national ad campaign? Just kidding). The toy store had one of those bins with annoying wind up toys. One was a chicken that did that inane birdie dance song that is so prevalent at weddings. I told the clerk that if I had to endure that cacophony for an eight-hour day, I would end up on the six o’clock news.

On the flight to New Orleans, I sat next to a nice lady from Myrtle Beach. When she saw me reading The Pipe and Christ, a book about a Jesuit priest and the Lakota Indians, we got to talking about religion. She had heard of Unitarian Universalism, having read a biography of Christopher Reeve. She could not quite understand, though, why anyone would not want to accept the joy of a personal relationship with the Christian God. I suppose I need to get used to those conversations.

We arrived in New Orleans 25 minutes ahead of schedule – amazing! On the cab ride to the Hands On New Orleans site, we passed the Superdome. It immediately brought back memories of the thousands of people stranded there with no facilities and of people dying on the sidewalks outside. It’s midnight now and everyone is asleep. So, I’m in an empty room at the end of the hall until tomorrow, when I will move to the men’s bunk room.