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Of pleasures and pains

I flew from San Luis Obispo to Las Vegas today. It took two flights - one to Phoenix and the other from Phoenix to Las Vegas - and four and one-half hours. I had already accepted this amount of time and so was not troubled by it. The flights were, however, unexpectedly "pleasant".

I put quotation marks around the word because it has such connotations. It's rather like "nice". Yet I actually mean that I thought they were both good flights. If someone had asked "how was your flight?" I would have said, "good!" and meant it.

Both left on time and I arrived in Las Vegas a little ahead of schedule. Neither flight was full so I had a vacant seat next to me.  I had ginger ale on both flights - something I seem to reserve for airplanes - and a little bag of pretzels on the first. So the airline itself was running smoothly.

And so was I.

I did not feel any discomfort at being in the cramped seats and it didn't take much time for me to adjust to standing when they were done. My knees did not give me grief while waiting in line to check in my bags in SLO, nor did they cause me to limp with pain while I negotiated the speedwalks or whatever those things are called.

I had a little trouble reaching the motel (by phone) to ask where their shuttle bus was, but it wasn't their fault - I called information on my cell phone and they connected me to a fax line. Once I got to the real hotel number (I had written it down and I remembered that the paper was in my baggage) I was able to locate the place at the airport where the courtesy shuttles hang out. That airport could do with a little more real signage, by the way, directional type. For dodderers like me.

Oh, but speaking of that airport. This is an international airport that accomodates a huge number of flights per year. Yet when I stepped off the plane and into the gate area it was quiet. I was able to find seats in several places where I could sit down and have a normal conversation on the phone. I notice these things because they are so rare. There was no music playing and there were no announcements. At the Phoenix airport, by contrast, there were constant announcements. Just when I thought I was safe I had to prick my ears again, just in case the announcement applied to me. The quiet in the Las Vegas airport was stunning, honestly. It was only 7:30 at night, not midnight, not two in the morning. I can't really account for this.

All in all a good experience.

I noticed something disturbing, though, on my second flight. And now that I think back, it happened on the first one too. I flew United for Ted, the economy United. The flight attendants took up a fair amount of the time at the beginning actually offering what amounted to a commercial. They both told about how fliers could get extra miles on their frequent flier cards by buying something from the flight catalog during the flight. We just had to ask for an order form from the flight attendant and turn it in when we left the plane.

In addition to the commercial break, we were treated, on the second flight, to a drop-down tray that advertised Sony headphones. Advertising on the tray.

I am one who does not see advertising as harmless, even though I am personally fairly immune to it. I hate that supermarkets have advertising on those divider sticks that separate orders. I hate that they have ads plastered on the floor! I hate that most cities give in to advertisers by letting them buy them bus shelters on which they display their huge ads. And that so many school systems still push soft drinks and other products to make bucks for school supplies.

I am, of course, bugged by advertising directed at children, as well as at those little blips on the bottom of the screen advertising upcoming shows, and of course so very much product placement. It's all advertising. That's what I don't like. There is so little that isn't permeated with advertising. Whole shows have sprung up that are simply long ads, and I'm not talking about infomercials, bad as those are.

So that's why I was bugged by the advertising in the flight attendant's speech and on the tray. Nothing is safe.

I am staying at a motel here in LV that is pretty far down on the acceptability level. It's a non-smoking room but I smell smoke in here. The veneer is peeling off the side table. The television only plays HBO and is about 20 years old. Everythign in here is old and on the cusp of grungy. Maybe already over the cusp in some cases.  But the room is cheap! And there is cheap food available in the morning. And there is a little bar where I can sit and have a beer with mary later, maybe. So it's okay. Okay for a night.

Okay flights, okay room. So far good. I am even able to get online.

 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 29th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
Glad your flights were good.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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