I have to go to Chicago this week to look at a helicopter we’re thinking about buying. Quick up-and-back. On the phone with my friend Matt, he suggested that I get a cheap flight that connects through in Atlanta so I could come see him. “You are flying, right?” At which point I launched into one of my patented diatribes about how I will NEVER fly on a goddamn airliner ever again, period. I worked myself into high dudgeon, cursing like an ex-sailor-turned-New Jersey mobster, blood pressure setting off alarms at nearby hospitals and clinics, CIA eavesdroppers yanking off their headsets and blushing in embarrassment. Long-suffering readers will know that this is familiar ground for me.
At one point when I inadvertently paused to take a breath, Matt said in a quiet voice, “Sorry I asked.”
Well, he should have known better.
The last time I flew on the airlines was before the implementation of these new body image scanners (Advanced Imaging Technology) that allow the TSA perverts to look through your clothes and see you naked. This was before the newer, more-invasive "bad touch" pat-down/feel-ups of incontinent grannies in wheelchairs, nuns and little children. No, the last time I flew we merely had to remove our shoes, belts, watches, etc and sneak through the metal detector, hoping our iron-rich blood wouldn't set off the alarm. I wrote about it here. It pissed me off so much that I vowed to never set foot on another airliner. It angers me still.
Fuck the TSA! That’s what I say. I’m tired of this shit.
Those last three sentences are basically what I said to Matt. Only I took about thirty minutes to say them.
I will drive to Chicago. It will take a day and a half each way. It will take a total of 30 hours of driving – in my own car on my own schedule. I may remove my shoes – but if I do so it’ll be so I can drive in comfort not because some idiots are afraid that there’s a bomb in them. I will bring as much luggage as I like including substances packaged in containers exceeding three ounces. I may even bring my gun, or my guitar so I can practice in the motel rooms.
Gas will cost $220 (at $3.50/gallon). I will spend three nights in a motel…figure a total of $300. Food…I dunno…figure $50. Total trip cost: Call it $600. Could I fly up and back more cheaply? Maybe not. The cheapest flight/hotel/car package on Orbitz.com was $573. The cheapest similar package on Travelocity.com was $610. Could I book each item separately and find cheaper deals that would result in a lower overall cost? Perhaps. But the total isn’t going to be that much cheaper than driving. The difference would be that I could do the trip in two days instead of three. But I’d have to agree to being felt up or seen naked by the TSA. The choice for me is easy.
You can't see it with your fancy xray machines, and you certainly can’t feel it with your rubber-gloved hands, but you can kiss my ass, TSA. I will drive.