Confessions of a Cocky Cross-Country Commuter

For anyone that has seen the 2009 George Clooney movie Up In the Air, you’re already well aware of the kind of life I’ve been living for the past eight years.  Known as a Road Warrior, I typically travel 50 weeks a year all over the US – from down the street from where I live to the frozen tundra of Alaska and everywhere in between. Traveling is part of my job – I train doctor’s offices how to use their new computer software.  Over the years, I’ve experienced my share of travel adventures and travel woes. When I’m not traveling, I’m usually Mr. Nice Guy. However, when I do travel, I must confess that I morph into that cocky cross-country commuter that everyone hates.

I Hate to Fly

At first, I was scared to fly – especially during take off. I would often whisper to the passenger next to me “Excuse me, but I really hate to fly. If I happen to grip your hand during take off, please forgive me.” This approach worked well until a hunched-over, 100-year-old elderly woman with a walker, missing dentures, and a wrinkled smile slumped down beside me during a flight to Dallas. Unfazed by my confession, she turned to me and boldly quipped “Quit being a pussy and man-up!”  I took her advice.

Everyone’s in My Way

When I arrive at the airport to catch my flight at the last minute, every single traveler is purposely in my way. While pushing and shoving myself through the crowd, I often run over the feet of other travelers with my roller board suitcase. On one occasion, a fellow traveler chased me down the terminal and screamed that I had no respect for his Aunt Dottie. Allegedly, she was wearing flip-flops when I ran over her feet.

Barbie Dolls, Ken Dolls and the TSA

In an honest effort to lighten the mood of my travels, my wife frequently spikes my carry-on luggage with unscrupulous surprises. More than once, she’s planted naked Barbie and Ken dolls in my carry-on luggage. Horrified, embarrassed and (I must admit) amused, I could only imagine what the TSA agents were thinking while they analyzed my luggage as it slowly traveled through the x-ray machine.  I wouldn’t be surprised if my name has been added to a secret international ‘Watch This Freaky Guy Closely’ list.

I’m ‘Double-Dipped Gold, Platinum-Plated, Diamond-Encrusted’ and You’re Not

Because I fly every week, I earn the top-tier frequent traveler status of my preferred airline. Instead of referring to my status by the airline’s silly title, I award myself Dave’s Double-Dipped Gold, Platinum-Plated, Diamond-Encrusted status. On one occasion, I took a flight from St. Louis to Phoenix to Charlotte to Orlando just to earn more miles and to protect my valuable status. Surprisingly, there’s a lot of competition among frequent fliers, and I’m no exception. I’ve picked fights with other frequent fliers because they either received a standby seat, were awarded a First-Class upgrade, or were granted the luxury of boarding my flight before me.

Walk on the LEFT, Stand on the RIGHT

Next time you’re at the airport, read the sign. And yes, I will mow you down if you don’t follow these simple directions as I rush down the moving sidewalk behind you.

Delays, Delays, Did I Say DELAYS?

As a frequent flier, delays are inevitable. However, it gets quite aggravating when the delays are due to a late-arriving flight crew, a broken bathroom door handle, or when the emergency escape chute deploys after the main cabin door is shut and the flight is ready for departure.

‘Pay No Attention to the Emergency Vehicles on the Runway’

Shortly after takeoff on a flight from Harrisburg, PA to Atlanta, the Captain announced “We’re experiencing an unusual vibration and there will be an emergency landing in Baltimore in five minutes. Pay no attention to the emergency vehicles on the runway.” Because I regularly watch Air Disasters on the National Geographic Channel, I translated the announcement in my own language: “In five minutes, this plane is goin’ down so you better start praying.”  I prayed, and thankfully, the Flight Gods listened.

Please, Take Beano BEFORE Your Flight

As a frequent flier, I am one of the first to board and always cringe at the thought of who will be seated next to me.  I’ve endured many foul-smelling passengers, talkative convert-to-my religion passengers, and passengers that fell asleep on my shoulder. On one recent flight, I mistakenly sat in the wrong seat instead of my assigned seat that was in the row in front of me. While the other passenger agreed to the switch, he smugly taunted me: “Because we switched seats, I betcha a hot chick is gonna sit next to me and you’re gonna miss out!”  I really hated his guts when he turned around and gave me the thumbs up after a hot, tight-jeaned, bikini-topped blonde sat down next to him.

Turbulence and the Restroom

Unfortunately, my job requires a suit and tie as part of the dress code. Because my preferred travel attire are sweatpants and a t-shirt, I avoid flying in a suit and tie as much as possible. I’ve leaned the hard way that nothing is more challenging than using the cramped airplane urinal dressed in a suit and tie during a turbulent flight at 35,000 feet. As a result, my aim pretty much sucked.

Yes, I readily admit it. When I travel, I become a cocky cross-country commuter. I don’t blame you if you hate me for my cocky attitude. Next time you’re at the airport and some guy runs over your feet with his roller board suitcase, it will probably be me. But in the end, it’s worth it. Don’t be jealous when I enjoy my First-Class La-Z-Boy CatNapper recliner with free drinks and a five-course meal while you’re crammed in coach with a bag of peanuts.

Photo: ©Dave Pasquel All Rights Reserved