Did you know that most of the airports in the great and glorious and super tech U.S. do not have Internet access, and if they do, we have to pay for it! This is the United States of American in the year 2009. Years ago I went to Amsterdam and the Internet was available at free computer stations and I thought I died and went to heaven.
Can’t we do something about this situation of no Internet access in airports? We are supposed to be the leaders of the free world and we can’t even access our Internet for free in our airports! It’s a pathetic and shameful situation. But what is more pathetic and shameful is that no one does anything about it. No hue and cry; no letters to the editor; no flood of email to our so-called legislatures. When are we ever going to give something away for free in this country? Hey! Aren’t the airwaves free anyway?
I was sitting in the Las Vegas airport last night waiting for a delayed plane. Every Southwest plane was delayed because there were very strong winds and dust storms in the lower and upper deserts. Los Angeles weather was just as bad. I thought I’d get on standby on the flight before mine, but I was #20 and it wasn’t going to happen. Out of a sense of desperation, I asked the man sitting next to me if he thought I could get Internet access in the airport. “Not in this B Gate,” he said with authority. “You mean there are other gates with Internet access?” I asked excitedly. “Yeah, you can get it at Gates A and C.” The obvious question was “What happened to Gate B.” I felt stupid asking but I asked anyway. “They ran out of money,” he replied. “My company wired A and C Gates and they ran out of money right after that.”
I wanted to know who ran out of money, but I figured it was the McCarren airport with its usual shortfall. Airports always have money problems and that’s why most of them look half finished or in need a facelift almost immediately after they are built. If you’ve been to LAX recently, you’ll know what I mean. Outdated and outmoded.
But where was the outrage not only at the lack of sophistication and technological expertise, but it was also one of the most chaotic scenes I have ever witnessed in an airport and I’ve been to many airports around the world in my long life. Okay, India and Cairo are really bad. I was stepping over bodies all over Gate C. People were practically pitching tents it took so long for Southwest to get organized with their out of control flight delays. I waited an extra 50 minutes after my plane landed because there was no crew. They were coming in on another flight that was delayed and then delayed before that. It took five hours to get home on a flight that was 46 minutes.
Did we Boomers march and protest in the good old days or was it my imagination? What makes us so complacent now, so lazy, so like lemmings being lead to the edge of the cliff and told to keep going and we do and we fall in to Iraq or Guantanamo? We’ve been content with less than adequate situations and immoral and unethical conditions for decades since our Vietnam protests and our Civil Rights days, and we’ve become immobile and satiated with too much food and good times to care a wit that we are actually sitting in pig shit.
I was starting to get radical sitting on the floor with my computer on my lap, my butt and legs numb from the hours of waiting. I tried desperately to stir up some opposition to the enervating atmosphere. No one took the bait. No one seemed to care that we had been reduced to shells of our former selves, filled with stale pizza and sub sandwiches with too much doughy white bread and pepperoni. Hours before we took off, our cell phones ceased to interest us so all we could do was just stare into space and find solace in the din of white noise.
Even I was beyond impatience and hostility. I, too, crossed a mental line after failing to muster any support to picket the poor woman giving out hourly flight updates, which no one was responding to because the florescent lights had given us a lobotomy. It was simply no use to shout, “Let’s burn our bras and take over Southwest.” There wasn’t a Boomer in sight who could have lasted an hour in a Gate C sit in. What happened us? Where is our edge? What will finally make us take up arms against a sea of trouble and by opposing squash the incompetents.
Or maybe I should just focus on finding a really cool and smart male companion to get me off of my mini-rant. I’d at least get some satisfaction.