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Observing humanity in transit mode

Mike Drummond, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

I’ve been spending too much time in airport terminals lately, and not enough time at Clear Creek Ranch. I am acting like an executor (not executive) and commuting to my parents’ “estate” in Arizona. When I forget to bring reading material, I am at the mercy of the airlines and their “in-flight” magazines and cata

Those catalogs are truly for someone who already has everything but still has lots of time for shopping. And, of course, piles of cash. Does anyone really need their own personal creme brulee blowtorch? Is this really a kitchen utensil or a clever way to market hairdryers that are shorting out?

Creme brulee – now there is an over-rated dessert. A whole lot of production value, but not much substance. Like that other thing I had recently – chopped nuts layered between wedges of cardboard and drenched in maple syrup. The waiter called it a torte; when I saw the bill, I felt like calling an attorney. Any dessert is a gyp if you marvel at the craftsmanship but don’t enjoy the taste.



On these trips, I travel alone and don’t check-in any baggage. As a result, I am on a first-name basis with all the pre-boarding strip-searchers at America West and Southwest Airlines. I quickly learned to ship my laundry home Fed-Ex rather than have my dirty linen aired for an admiring public, the same folks I’ll be swapping germs with for the next few hours in coach.

And speaking of laundry, I guarantee fame and success to any clothing designer who can start a fashion trend where the desired look is a fine sprinkling of dandruff on the shoulders, soiled collars, mis-matched socks, and assorted drips and drizzles down the shirt front and lap.




What a minute – that’s how most travelers look already. The best-dressed folks on any flight are the crew, no question about it. Airline crew members are essentially bus drivers, waitresses and bus boys. (Don’t write me, I know there are different skills involved – like demonstrating how a seat belt works). Any one of them is better dressed and groomed than anyone I’ve ever stumbled past in the first-class compartment or lurking near the “ocupado” sign.

Sitting interminably in airport terminals has allowed me to observe humanity in transit mode. It is not a pretty sight. (Note to myself – insert a pun here about sight for sore eyes or site for soar eyes.)

Here are a few observations I jotted down before my last full-cavity strip-search.

Really fat people should not wear tights and mesh tanktops in public. This goes for women, too. That flash of skin between hip-huggers and tube top that looks nice on Brittany Spears isn’t quite the same when it’s coming from some 60-inch beer gut whose T-shirt can’t quite make it all the way down to his pants.

Designer logos on clothing – unless the manufacturer is paying you, why advertise their name? Tattoos that play peek-a-boo over pants tops, or in there among the cleavage, should be left at home with the cell-phones. And while we are on cell-phones – if you are the one who is so darned pivotal to your company that you must take non-stop calls, why are you flying coach in a middle seat?

And those T-shirts covered with witty sayings – if you are a large-breasted woman wearing one, us old guys aren’t rudely avoiding eye contact, we are squinting to read the fine print. (Insert boarding pass joke here).

At least that’s the story I’m going with.

Mike Drummond is a Nevada County writer whose column appears on Tuesday. You can write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or e-mail him at miked@theunion.com.


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