|Dawn on the ramp.|
Walking out on the ramp at NAS Oceana was the same, go back two years before that and going out to pose with The WSO next to one of the Guppies, sigh... Memories, so many memories.
|T-2 Buckeye (aka "Guppy"), The WSO, and Your Humble Scribe|
All this talk here on the blog lately about TSA and the ee-jits that one has to share oxygen with on commercial airlines got me to thinking. Some folks commented that "if I can't drive there, I won't go there" in regards to having to deal with airports and airlines. Oh yes, TSA as well, a federal entity, and we all know how efficient those are, right?
You see, I used to work for the government as part of a federal entity. Okay, it wasn't the TSA it was the USAF. The Nuke still works for the feds. I have a lot of friends who work for the feds. I don't think I know anyone who works for the TSA but it's possible. I haven't kept track of all the folks I've known over the years, could be one or two drifted that way.
Now everyone complains about the TSA types, well, most everyone. I don't. Sure some of them are pricks but I'm pretty sure none of those work in Providence at T.F.Green. Why do I say that? Because the one's I've dealt with there have all been pretty good. And I've seen them deal with people who probably aren't firing on all four cylinders. People who are being complete tools and act like they've never been in an airport before.
Deal with idiots all day and you try and keep your temper in check when one more idiot comes your way and pushes you over the edge. Not easy.
Do they serve a purpose? Yes. Was the TSA instituted so that DC could say, "Look, we did something to improve safety"? Yes. And maybe they actually believed it. Maybe it actually does serve a purpose.
Have the TSA ever stopped some terrorist dickweed from getting on a flight and destroying it? We don't know. "Probably," would be my best guess. Do you really believe the locks on your home will keep out a thief? Probably. It won't deter the really determined criminal from getting in and stealing your stuff. Just as the TSA probably can't deter the really determined a-hole who wants to blow up a flight.
So I don't chide the TSA too much. Does there seem to be a lot of them just standing around? Well, sure, hello, it's a government job. Ever drive by a state road repair crew? Twelve guys with clipboards, three guys leaning on shovels and one or two actually doing something.
Then again, it's not an easy job dealing with self-important "I'm in a hurry" asshats all day long. I'm sure there's a pretty high turnover rate so there is always someone in training. Perhaps there are new procedures to improve security, everyone has to be trained. So I'm sure while there may be a few of them standing around, wasting oxygen, and drawing a paycheck, most aren't. (Look around your own place of employment, you'll see the type, they're everywhere.)
But I've blathered on about the TSA too much. I think they're a necessary evil. Do I miss the days when mom and dad could go down to the gate and wait with the kids and grandkids until it's time to board? Sure I do. I also miss the days when idiots from some Third World hellhole didn't want to kill Americans. If we don't have the will, or the resources, to "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out" then these are things we need to deal with. (Not to mention the fact that if we did "kill 'em all" then this would no longer be America. It would be something else, and I'm not sure I'd want to live in a place like that.)
Again, enough about the TSA.
Dealing with the airlines is usually quite painless. I've had them seemingly "drop the ball" once or twice in the last 18 years or so, that is, since I retired from Uncle Sam's Aerial Follies. When I was being moved about by that august organization (who still pays me a bit o' green every month as a "thank you for playing" award) things were less amenable than me arranging for transport all by myself these days. Flying crammed into a seat which is just roomy enough so that the airline can't be charged with war crimes ain't quite as bad as sitting on a webbed seat which probably was designed by an actual war criminal. Surrounded by 200 of your closest friends, various, sundry and divers units of aerospace ground equipment. Baggage, tools and supplies to help keep the birds we're off to support flying their appointed missions filling every available space. Then factor in the noise, heat/cold, vibration, and the fact that if you're on a C-130, it's going to take quite a bit longer to get there and United, American, Delta, and Jet Blue don't look quite so bad. Just sayin'.
|At least the general has some leg room... (Source)|
I so love being up there, in the great sky, that I will suffer the vagaries of airline travel, the occasional inefficiencies of airline employees (always on the ground, never in the air), and the supposed iniquities and alleged thuggishness of the TSA folks. (And I've never seen that, no, really. Ask me about immigration officials in Seattle though and I might tell a tale or two out of school. Ignorant buffoons some of 'em. Brutish to boot, especially to folks with all the right paperwork but who's English might be a bit lacking.)
For all the supposed problems with the TSA, go visit an Asian country or three, they've refined corruption and bribery to such an art form they don't even feel guilty about it I'll wager. Then come talk to me. All countries have their jackbooted thugs, not all of them work at airports, but there are a few. (Yes, France, I'm looking at you.)
To be up there, winging across the skies, looking down at the ground so far below...
Especially traveling in the company of the love of my life...
Down to DC, or out to Fresno, or San Francisco to see the progeny and their wee bairns...
I'll tolerate damned near any minor inconvenience, for truly, for the most part, that's all they are. Minor inconveniences.
While driving down to DC is an option, parking where my daughter lives is a problem. While I have driven down to to Virginia, it's just too damned convenient to fly. From rolling out of the sack to boots on the ground at Reagan, five hours, give or take. Driving is at least twice that, but if you hit New York and New Jersey just right, it can take even longer. I know. Been there, done that.
And drive to California?
No, just no. Maybe when I'm retired and someone donates a motor home to amuse me in my dotage...
But no thank you. I'd rather fly.
At least for me.