I've learned a few things about traveling over the holidays. I present the following:
Amy's Top Ten List of Things to Bring While Travelling:
1. A toothbrush. I feel like I have green furry things growing on my teeth.
2. Noise-canceling headphones. I would have loved to make that stupid computerized voice welcoming me to the airport and reminding me that it was a non-smoking facility shut up.
3. Something that can double as a blanket. I was lucky not to have room in my suitcase, so I grabbed two winter coats and a hat as I was running out the door. When we got stranded, both of us had blankets, and I had a hat to pull over my eyes. I wish they'd shut off the lights in these airports.
4. A neck pillow. Seriously. They're great for sleeping (or staying awake) on the plane, in what may be the most uncomfortable seats ever engineered. And it doubles as a sleeping pillow should you get stuck. This is the second time I've used mine on the floor of an airport. That curved neck pillow may be the best $13 I've ever spent.
5. Food. And cash. If you're not going to sleep, you may want to eat. Sometimes, nothing but hot food will do.
6. A water bottle. Empty, of course. So you don't have to pay the exorbitant prices they charge for water--if you can find a drinking fountain.
7. A laptop, and some movies to watch. 'Nuff said.
8. A change of clothes.
9. A hat, to put over your hair when it gets greasy and yucky.
10. Some books, and your scriptures.
And now, a few things I've noticed:
Does anyone really need to be told, never mind every ten minutes, that:
1. Don't smoke in the airport
2. Don't accept packages from strangers
3. Don't try to bring guns through security
...? If you don't know these things, perhaps you shouldn't be traveling unaccompanied. Just sayin'.
Another PA announcement I can't understand is the one (and they have it in every airport I've been in) that talks about that ridiculous Homeland Security Threat Level system. Apparently we're at a threat level "orange," which means there is a "high risk of terrorist attacks." This is as compared to yellow, "elevated risk," and red, "severe risk." Whatever the difference between those is.
This color system is Tom Ridge's brainchild, and is supposed to provide a "comprehensive and effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to Federal, State, and local authorities and to the American people." I'm not sure how knowing that we're at "orange" helps me have any relevant or useful information whatsoever regarding terrorist attacks. Are we supposed to be more alert...more alert than what, exactly? The threat level has been at "orange" almost nonstop since the system was created. How much does it matter in the lives of ordinary people? Am I supposed to feel an "orange-y" level of scared now? Do the Feds feel orange-y scared?
And, for the record, is it possible to make a LESS comfortable seat for an airplane? I swear, the engineers are sitting around calculating d(comfort)/dt=0. (Yes, I'm a nerd. Props to anyone who got that.) Optimization, anyone?