Flying Home: This Is Your Passenger Speaking

Every time we visit California it becomes more difficult to go home. We really like it here a lot in spite of the horrific traffic problems. Alas, the lifestyle we find appealing here is way out of our price range and only affordable in short chunks on vacation.

We passed through 10,000 feet. Out came the laptop. This blog post is being written from the sky. Southwest Flight 1727 is enroute from Chicago Midway to Bradley International. The ride is bumpy as we ascend. The flight attendants are snugly buckled in. Captain’s orders.

There was a tornado watch in effect at Bradley as we took off. It will have expired before wheels down. No mention made.

I’m on my way back to Connecticut after a week under the palm trees and sunshine of California. I came with Helaine, but she’s staying an extra few days to take care of loose ends.

Wearing a light loosely fitting long sleeve shirt was a mistake. It was enough to get me frisked.

“Go ahead, do what you need to do,” I said, cutting off the TSA agent as he began to explain what he wanted. I just wanted to get it over with.

Memo to TSA: Are you really worried about a middle aged terrorist on the return leg of a round trip ticket which has a plane change? I suspect most terrorists are on non-stops.

My flight is leaving from Southwest’s Gate 2 at LAX. This box of a room is by itself and removed from the general flow of traffic. It is the gate time forgot. There is no decoration nor any hint of warmth. It harkens back to the PEOPLExpress days.

A woman waited to board with two little dogs in a single underseat carrier. They barked incessantly in the waiting room. On the plane too!

With some notable exceptions (though not notable in this space) this trip was a terrific time. We did nearly everything we wanted to do and spent lots of time with Stef including her third annual 21st birthday! I got to see most, though sadly not all, of my friends.

Every time we visit California it becomes more difficult to go home. We really like it here a lot in spite of the horrific traffic problems. Alas, the lifestyle we find appealing here is way out of our price range and only affordable in short chunks on vacation.

I didn’t watch a lot of local TV, but enough to disapprove of a few local weather people. One former stud now looks like he could play the title role in The Wizard of Oz! Age is cruel.

I am a real fan of Steve Edwards who plays the “dad” on Good Day LA. He’s been there a long time and is exceptionally good at being the traffic cop that show needs. I’m curious how GDLA does in the ratings?

The radio was on a lot this trip. One midday jock first heard by me over 40 years ago sounded like he was going through the motions. That’s a shame. Charlie Tuna on KRTH this morning sounded tracked and not live. That’s a shame too though not unexpected on a Saturday.

Though Helaine bought our GPS from home we never used it. I’ve become hooked on the Gokivo app for the iPhone. Not only does it give tutrn-by-turn directions it also warns of traffic and will route you around it (where possible)! It usually had a little trouble when first enabled, but quickly picked the right route as soon as we were rolling.

I used the 30 day free trial. Sorry Gokivo. I won’t be subscribing (there is a monthly fee). Back in the Northeast I don’t usually need directions. I’d buy your service a month at a time if that’s available for my next vacation.

My suction mount on the windshield to keep the iPhone in view worked well. On the plane it allowed me to easily watch movies without having to hold the phone. Where electricity was available the iPhone was always plugged in. I had charger plugs for regular AC and the cigarette lighter in the car. IPhones gulp battery power at a ferocious rate.

There were a few unusual events during the trip. At Denver Internatonal while waiting to change planes a woman walked up to Helaine who was sitting next to me and asked her if I was me. I was six inches away! Do I seem that unapproachable? Did she think I couldn’t hear?

Don’t get me wrong, she was sweet and I was flattered–but why not just ask me?

Yesterday, while walking back from the men’s room at Las Brisas a restaurant employee stopped me and asked, “Are you Geoff?” When I said yes he told me to follow him. Something didn’t seem right so I lightly protested, but he insisted.

Finally, as we approached a strange table he pointed to a woman confidently. It wasn’t my table nor my wife. Wrong Geoff! That has never happened to me before.

Earlier in the week while Ross Ching and I sat outside chatting by the fire pit at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Westwood a man around my age sitting nearby pulled out a joint and lit it up. Then he looked at Ross, frowned, muttered something about moving away and retreated to get stoned in the parking lot.

You don’t see that a lot in Connecticut. On the other hand we don’t have medical marijuana dispencaries or a proposition decriminalizing marijuana on the ballot as they do in California. Golden State or Toasted State? A California cousin makes a very good argument the proposition, if passed, won’t bring anywhere near the tax revenue anticipated. He makes some very good points.

I’ll double check my photos and post anything interesting I left out over the next few days. Heaven knows there were too many clicks from “Clicky.” The folder with the pictures from the trip is over 18Gb!

Another half hour and we’ll be on the ground at BDL.