June 23, 2010

Unnecessary Hostility & Little Yippy Dogs: A Commentary on My Return to the United States

How I went 22 years of my life without flying on board a plane with a pet, I don’t know, but sadly that streak has ended. The time is 5:13 am. I am sitting at gate E6 in the Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood (Hollywood? Really? That’s in California, not Florida. I don’t get it.) waiting to board my Air Tran flight to Atlanta with final destination Minneapolis – St. Paul when I hear the woman behind me talking loudly into her suitcase.

Turns out her “suitcase” is actually a pet carrier. She is speaking to it like the thing is a small child. Now in all fairness I don’t like pets, I didn’t grow up with one in my house, so in general animals kind of freak me out to an unnecessary extent. I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt – maybe she was moving and needed to take it with her. Then I got in line to board and it was yipping away all down the boarding tunnel thing. And on the plane. I thought it was nervous for take-off or hot or something. Oh no, it proceeded to make these God-awful noises for the next 83 minutes of my life. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!!?

Why is your dog here? Because even if you are moving, I would have left the thing behind. This is ridiculous!! I could not be more irritated. There should definitely be separate planes for people with small pets. And small children – specifically the one who cried in a similarly shrill voice to that of the dog on my three-hour flight from Cali to Florida.

Anyway, speaking of complete irritation, is being obscenely rude and unnecessarily hostile a requirement for people who work in airport security? Do they screen these people for demeanor and only take the surliest individuals possible? I mean HONESTLY. I was at the Fort Lauderdale airport going through security and a woman screamed at me at the top of her lungs because she wanted me to switch lines and go through a smaller shorter one. Then she freaked out that I am holding my passport in my hands and says I am not allowed to hold anything, Maybe if there were some universal rules about this stuff then people would know what in the world is going on!!! Every airport is a little different and it’s a little hard to keep track of, lady! Also, you want me to switch lanes to make it go faster? Are we not all going to the same place? There is a long line in security, so does it really matter where I go? And furthermore, its actually 4:45 am – how are you already having a bad day?!?!

As for the U.S. Customs agents – way friendly than the security guards and actually a less stressful process than in Miami. However, have you ever taken a moment to think about what our customs process is like for non-citizens and non-residents? Terrifying. Why do they ask you questions like you did something wrong? “What exactly were you doing in Colombia?” Teaching. “Teaching what?” Math. “Oh really.” YES, REALLY. Also, just for note, in the customs waiting room the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Border Protection? Really? Must we call it that?) there is a welcome sign in four languages – English, Spanish, French and German. Basically welcome Spanish-speakers and white people – everyone else, good luck. Not to mention that the sign in Spanish is misspelled and reads “Binvenidos” instead of “Bienvenidos”. Perfect. Oh hi, millions of U.S. citizens speak this language, but we don’t really care enough to double check the spelling. Welcome to the United States of America.


Anonymous said...

I had the same though when I saw the misspelling of bienvenidos. "Yes, we are welcome to all cultures here in Fort Lauderdale, but we're not going to bother ourselves with fixing this glaring misspelling of such a basic Spanish word".

I mean it's freaking South Florida, could they seriously not find a Hispanic person to double check that???

Your blog is pretty neat by the way, I just stumbled upon it from a Google search.

Kristin said...

There should have been a spell checker :) Thanks for the comment!

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