By Jeff Girod
Only 1.62 million saps decided to fly on Thanksgiving. And going through airport security has never felt more like a colonoscopy/16-year-old trying to undo his first bra strap. So I figured, when better to toss all my crap in a tote bag and board a plane to Nebraska? (With a slight detour through Minneapolis.)
3:31 a.m., LAX: I have opted out of the full-body scan and requested the more hands-on rubdown. Apparently TSA screeners draw the line at requests such as the Swedish, deep-tissue variety or if, in the middle, one offers a helpful hint such as “you’re getting warmer . . .”
6:42 a.m., onboard a 737, somewhere over the Rockies: Which call button do I push to make the pilot stop talking? We get it, Captain. You’re flying. The temperature outside is somewhere between zero and 100 degrees and the local time is 3-5 hours from when we took off. Just put her down with most of the landing gear intact and we’ll all be impressed.
11:19 a.m., Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: I just flew 1500 miles to stand inches from a drunk guy who smells exactly like a 40 of Mickey’s I drank in 1994. Now he’s breathing into my mouth as he talks on the phone, making plans to stay at “the Ritz,” which must be Midwestern code for “buy mouthwash and exchange my Rick Springfield jean jacket for more mouthwash.”
11:42 a.m., Minneapolis: Thought for the day while killing three more hours until a connecting flight to Omaha: What do they call people from Minneapolis? Minneapolites? Minnepeons? Minnepolitians? Most of these people look like a “Doris” or “Frank.”
12:12 p.m., Minneapolis: Keeping my own running tally of people getting off of the escalator: 57 Franks, 42 Dorises. Also, apparently pajama bottoms are perfectly acceptable at the airport, even in snow.
12:28 p.m., Minneapolis: I just saw Mary Tyler Moore! No wait . . . it’s another Doris.
12:41 p.m., Minneapolis: For the love of all that is holy: Nicole Donnelly please return to the security checkpoint to retrieve your forgotten item.
1:01 p.m., Minneapolis: Hour Two at the Minneapolis airport and I’m going to attempt to assimilate into their crude and mysterious culture by ordering something called a . . . and I hope I’m spelling this correctly . . . a “Big Mac.”
1:32 p.m., Minneapolis: If you have a relative living in the greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, just a stocking stuffer to consider: The Bedazzler. Apparently the trend is still going strong—even with men.
2 p.m., Minneapolis: I’m inventing a third category of Minnepolitians: The Dorfrank…or the Froris.
2:11 p.m., Minneapolis: I just made $300 in flight coupons to take a flight leaving 3 hours later. To pass the time, I’m watching my original plane—full of passengers who are all now at least an hour late—sit on the tarmac.
2:58 p.m., Minneapolis: The correct way to answer every question from an airport security screener is to end it with the phrase “ . . . in my pants.” Observe: “No sir, I’m not carrying any illegal liquids or gels . . . in my pants.”
3:43 p.m., Minneapolis: Several travelers sprinting down the airport hallway. I ask myself, where are these people running? Two words: SkyMall Sale.
4:01 p.m., Minneapolis: The security level is orange. Orange seems high. Let’s make it something more soothing. The security level is mauve.
4:22 p.m., Minneapolis: You know who’s important at an airport? Everyone on a cell phone.
5:09 p.m., Minneapolis: Guy on the cell phone next to me is apparently planning to have spaghetti for Thanksgiving. That seems suspicious. I’m alerting a TSA official. At the very least, he should have his “junk” touched.
5:35 p.m., Minneapolis: Preparing to board! As a preemptive security measure, I have been touching my own junk since I got here. It’s for the safety of our nation, people!
6:59 p.m., aboard another 737, on the runway: 55 minutes while a crew sprays a mysterious pink liquid on the wings to de-ice the plane. We have taken a vote as passengers and decided we prefer the pine smell after they finish Armor All-ing the tires.
7:43 p.m., somewhere over Sioux Falls: Omaha-bound, finally! The Captain would like us to know the local time is the same as Minneapolis—only warmer.
Contact Jeff Girod at email@example.com.