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Travel… and naming rights

So, here we are… 38,000 feet above the Arkansas/Oklahoma border on a flight to Las Vegas. We are flying out for the Barrett-Jackson Collector car auction. Most of you know I am an auctioneer and love seeing other events in action – this helps me to write my auctioneer Continuing Education (CE) classes and prepare for my auctioneer consulting clients.

Anyhow, this is more about travel than business… even though they go hand in hand for me. We are seated First Class on AirTran flight 775 from Atlanta to Las Vegas. Great seats that were picked up at a fundraising auction I conducted in February 2011… Anyhow, we are seated behind a lady that we will name Stoli for her love of vodka drinks. Of course, nothing wrong with that if it is your choice of alcohol.

Stoli started her flight early (from a drinking perspective, that is). She and her date were two drinks down before the wheels left the ground. Vodka and cranberry with a splash of orange juice, to be exact. Once we were above 20,000 feet, the flight attendants began beverage service and she and date were tugging at the bit ready for round three…

So, for the record, here is the scorecard:
Two drinks before wheels up
Two drinks in flight up to this point… 1:20 into flight
One Bloody Mary for her and Jack and Coke for date… 1:44 into flight

Stoli made a very prolific comment a few minutes ago… “damn, I’ve drank more today than I have in a month”. Shocking? No, not from where I am sitting.

So, the stage is set… Stoli updates will be added as she adds more revelations to our flight.

A few months ago, I began a saga with a man we will call BBQ Sandwich. Yep. Him. That guy that feels the need to bring a full-on barbecue sandwich onto a flight from Atlanta to Greenville, SC. For those of you out of the loop, the flight is 28 minutes wheels up to wheels down. So, this guy had to scarf this thing down just to finish it before the flight ended. He did his best… and won in the BBQ Sandwich World Finals.

THOUGHT: Do they have a BBQ competition like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Challenge? If so, my $$$ is on this guy!

When you travel as much as I do you pray that BBQ and hot dogs don’t make their way onto your flight. Seems my luck is in the gutter as I have had to experience both. Memphis, with their barbecue, and Cincinnati, with their Skyline Chili, are the two worst for unplane-friendly meals… at least in my opinion.

UPDATE: Stoli is nursing the Bloody Mary like an infant on the teat

Where am I going with this? Who knows. This is like people watching at the mall or on a crowded street. You know you want to say something, but you stand back and just revel in the sights you see… or experience. Air travel has changed over the past 11 years since 9/11. Security measures, bag checks and other requirements have made people feel they are entitled to something… What are they entitled to? We all buy tickets. We choose where we sit. However, I guess in all of that, the entitlement comes in due to the hoops we have to jump through for our seats on the cylinder with wings hurtling us to our destination at 500 miles an hour.

I my opinion, this is the world we live in. The problem is, when we travel, we are now confined to a small area with the people we hear about (the one’s your mother warned you about). I think it is that confined space that gives us the ability to see the humor God gave all of us – if we choose to see it. Otherwise, our world comes to an end when the flight is delayed or our bags get rerouted or a myriad of other issues.

My thought is this… I’ve said it before… A smile in an airport, or on a flight, gets you more than a stack of bills or the price you paid for your first class seats!

UPDATE: Stoli and her date are discussing the intricacies of mini bottles. Yep. I think I will sign off, lean my head over the seat and see if I can pick up some gems for my next blog post!

UPDATE #2: Stoli has puffed on her inhaler more on this flight than I have this month on mine! Maybe that is like the alcohol-reducing pill Lambda Lambda Lambda used in Revenge of the Nerds!

UPDATE #3: Stoli and date are discussing mixers… As in the difference between seltzer and tonic… Stoli: there isn’t a su-uuu-uper big difference, but you can taste it (elongated super to emulate her speech at this point).

Love ya, mean it!

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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Travel

 

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Travel on 9/11… deep thoughts

Here I sit at the Delta recharge station near gate B24 at ATL. I am heading to Philadelphia for a consulting visit with a nonprofit raising money for 9/11 support personnel and public service workers (ie. Police, Fire and EMS). Quick up and back flight – getting back in time to go to Clemson v Wofford game with the fam tomorrow.

That is not why I am writing. Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11. Many items come to mind when I think about this date… I remember where I was, what I was doing, what I did for the remainder of the day… the questions, the fear, the uncertainty… the F-16s scrambled to the Oconee Nuclear Station that night (when there are NO planes flying anywhere, a military plane has a very distinctive sound… as we found out on the news the next morning).

Still not why I am writing this. I am flying on Sunday – THE anniversary. On the same type of plane used in the attacks. To one of the three airports serving Washington, DC.

My mother is not happy. I heard that today when I let her know about the trip. Yes, I do let people know where I am going and even email itineraries to those that need them. This was just one of those times where it would be better to discuss the flight after the fact. Well… it didn’t work that way and I wound up telling her today.

Am I worried? Sure. A little. I have faith in God and know that if it is my time to go, it is my time… whether that be in an airplane, my car or crossing the street. That is out of my control. God has given us mechanisms to help us go through life and not focus on those items… be it work, extracurricular activities, family or what have you.

I travel a lot. I have seen the influx of security at checkpoints, bag checks and walking the hallways of the airports I have traveled. Of course, it doesn’t fully reassure me, but it gives a greater level of comfort.

So, where do we go from here? Right where you are. Stop and thank God for what you have, who you are and what the future holds for you. I know I am richly blessed with family, friends, work and health. That is enough for me. If I can help make each of those individually and collectively better, I have done my job.

I am not here to preach… Lord knows I am not that person. But, you know, hearing it from someone other than the pulpit could be the spark that helps someone make a change in their life.

We are about to board…

Part 2: 32000 feet about South Carolina enroute to Philadelphia.

Don’t you just love inflight Internet?!? Coupled with my iPad it makes for a quick trip! Now if they will add 110 volts plugs to each of the rows (like Virgin airways, I might add) it would be a sweet trifecta.

This is my second plane of the day and second of the eight I will fly between now and Tuesday.

What a beautiful day to fly:

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Yes, a little cloudy, but it is a nice view nonetheless.

Parting thought: enjoy your day. Think positive thoughts, no matter how bad that person makes you feel. They may need a smile more than you know. I know that a smile in the airport is worth more than a stack of bills when you want something done… but that is another story!

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Writing

 

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