Saturday, June 14, 2014

There's more to life

than sitting astride two wheels.

It must be me, although my BRW tells me that Mercury is in retrograde.

I'm part of the Oil Spill Emergency Response Team, and every so often the Feds call and say something like: "There's an (fake) oil spill at....... please deploy your team.", which means that yours truly, and others receive a phone call and hear something like: you're booked on the 6 AM flight to...... pack for about a week.  Good luck."

So, Thursday afternoon found me in beautiful downtown Galveston, Texas, aboard the "Texas  Responder".

By 4:00 PM Friday, we had saved the universe, having pumped zillions of nonexistent oil from the Gulf onto the ship and, halos brilliantly shining, (and the federal government happy), were rodding merrily to the Houston airport.

At 6:30 PM, we were told that our 7:35 flight was delayed until 8:20: At 8:15 our flight decided it wouldn't be much ready to boogie before 9:45.  Long and short of it, we got into our Philly hotel at 2:37 AM, put in our wake-up call order for 5:30 and crawled into bed.  Hi Mercury.

The shuttle bus got us to the airport at 6:20 this morning and by 6:40 we were ready to go through security.  Here comes Mercury...

Okay, so I have that Italian Mafioso look, which is why my BRW won't let me wear a fedora, (brim down low), and why I'm always pulled out for "special" checking, but, that's the price...  Id please.... hand over passport... a sure sign there's something wrong.  What? you don't have a driver's license?  Sir, will you kindly remove your sunglasses for a moment?  Okay, look 'em straight in the eye, don't smile.  Or maybe I should smile?  Your boots sir....  Sorry, age has it's privileges, not required to do so.  Step in sir, feet on yellow spots, hands up and crossed.  Thank you... Will you be kind enough to follow this lady sir, we need to check some items.  Thank you......  Yes, my boots have steel toes.  Yes, that is a medal around my neck.  Saint Anthony, my patron saint.  Yes, that is a ring, actually, it's a wedding band.  Sorry it glowed.

Ah, Mercury, are you keeping an eye on the clock?

Sir, your water bottle has liquid in it.

Yes, radiation, besides leaving me with a permanent Donald Duck voice, also destroyed my salivary glands.  I must constantly sip liquid or my mouth and throat dries and cracks.

Sir, your water bottle has liquid.. yes, water in it and you must leave it here.

Whoa, that's a $20 steel water bottle, it's not staying here....

Your only option is to take it back out and empty it in a garbage bin.... There's garbage bin right over there... Sorry sir, you must empty it in a garbage bin on the other side of security. I'll be glad to take you out.... Okay.  Then, after I dump the water into the garbage bag over there, do you take me back?

Sorry sir, but you'll need to go through security again...

What is this Retrograde stuff anyhow?  And what did I ever do to Mercury?

Walk 30-feet, dump water, present passport, remove sunglasses, keep boots firmly affixed, boots on yellow spots, hands up and crossed, yes that's a chain and a medal, and that's a wedding band, and it is now 9:17 and my flight leaves at 9:30.

Can you direct me to Terminal F?  I see, down these stairs, follow the two moving sidewalks, down one more level to the shuttle bus and bingo! I'm there.  Thanks.

Did I tell you what my BRW said about Mercury?  Yeah?  Good.

Got to the gate with about 4 gigantic minutes to spare.  Just enough to text my wife that I'm about to.........

During the process of moving me through the process, my pocket and belt-hanging stuff (read iPhone and standby water sprayer) were put through by one officer, while my change and other loose stuff was put through by a different officer, AND, never the twain shall meet.  I got my change and loose marbles, but my iPhone and spray bottle were somewhere safe and sound with security.

But, I'm made of firm jello and hardly quivered as I watched my flight depart, then headed for the shuttle that would take me to the terminal named "A", so that I could follow the two moving sidewalks back to my friends at security.

Go! Mercury! Go!

Monday, June 9, 2014

97.791% versus 69.391%

Okay.  I made the percentages and numbers up, but not the reality.  The reality is this:

I traveled over 3,000 miles, rode through 13 states - twice, and met and passed a whole herd of two-wheelers, both motorcyclists and scooterists, and found that motorcyclists, almost to a person, either initiated or returned a wave from me, a scooterist, while almost half the scooterists I met couldn't be bothered to acknowledge my existence.

Yesterday, my BRW and I traveled over 200 miles and met umpteen motorcyclists.  Only three didn't return a wave.  We met 7 scooters.... not one returned our wave.


Theories, anyone?