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The thing about travel is…

SFO. On the way to NYC. Annoying television show with desperately sincere man trying to warn me about identity fraud. Vaguely racist subtext, as well, very much a “those dark-skinned immigrants are going to rob you blind.”

Was mistaken for a Federal Air Marshal on the flight down from Portland, no kidding. Waiting to get on the plane and I was called up to the podium, my ticket swapped, and then told to board. This was pre-pre-boarding. I ask what’s going on, the woman at the podium says that I’ve got a “friend on board, he’s taking care of my seat.” Bewildered – not to mention a little nervous (I’ve got a friend on board? Who? Someone I know? Good God, I hope it’s someone I like…) – I go aboard, head to my seat, and there are three flight attendants watching me and a guy in plainclothes, and literally you wouldn’t have looked at him twice.

“6-B,” I say. “Previously 2-A.”

Flight Attendant A smiles and says, “Ah, there you go. Have a seat.”

So I’m looking for the person who’s my “friend,” and I don’t see anyone I recognize. Everyone’s acting like this is perfectly normal. I sit down. We fly. Before we begin our descent I’m asking another attendant what the deal was with changing my seat, because now I’m curious and I want to know. And I’m also a little annoyed, frankly, because I was in a window seat prior, and when they moved me I ended up in an aisle seat, with Jackass A and his Wife seated across from me, and even that would’ve been fine, except Jackass A had a Friend whom we shall call Jackass B, and Jackass B weighed at least 250 lb; further, Jackass B had decided that the way he was going to pass the time was by standing in said aisle with his ASS IN MY FACE so he could talk to Jackass A and his Wife.

So I was understandably curious why I’d been moved, as I said.

And the attendant has no answer for me, so I grumpily go back to my seat, and then a different attendant whome we shall call Elegant Flight Attendant because she was quite stately, frankly, whispers to me that if I can wait 10 minutes after we land, she’ll explain what’s going on.

(Which, when she said it, didn’t sound that strange, frankly, but when you write it down while calling her Elegant Flight Attendant it begins to veer a bit towards Penthouse Forum. Or is that just me?)

I get off the plane, I wait, Elegant Flight Attendant comes off the plane, we step off to the side to talk. She explains, in brief – very brief, I should say, because there are obvious security concerns at work – that I was mistaken for an Air Marshal.

I’m trying not to laugh, and then she adds, quite seriously, “Well, you looked like one, the way you’re dressed and all of that. You understand, it’s an easy mistake to make.”

To which I’m not sure if I should be flattered or not.

Now it’s almost 2 in the morning in New York and I’m posting this, which means it’s too late for me to write anything about the Coughing Madman who drove me in from JFK this evening. Maybe I’ll save that for tomorrow.

1 Response to The thing about travel is…

  1. mercuryeric

    An air marshal?



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