We lie, we cheat, we steal

Summer is slowly fading away. It’s still hot. It’s still humid. But it seems that the intense heat and humidity has given up for a while. This makes me very happy. Every summer I question why I live in DC. Every summer I don’t get an answer. I think, in retrospect, that this was The Summer That Wasn’t. This summer absolutely rocked by leaving only vague memories of extreme heat, malaria, and West Nile virus behind.

In other news, Warren Zevon has inoperable lung cancer, in both lungs. He seems to be taking it in a way that I would expect him to: “I’m okay with it, but it’ll be a drag if I don’t make it till the next James Bond movie comes out,” said Zevon. For more info check this out. The List wishes him as well as he can be given the circumstances.

Painting and home repair… lots of fun. Presently, the Poo Poo Palace is undergoing a bit of a renovation. Chef-in-the-Dungeon Joe is painting his cave. It’s a very nice yellow gold color. Evil-Landlord Ian has been working on his guest bathroom. I had a two hour conference with IBM’s HR department to give an overview of the benefits that they offer their employees. (In case you didn’t see this, IBM is buying Access360.) Well, two hours of HR fun is just a bit too much for me. I muted the speakerphone and started ripping out old bathroom stuff from my guest bathroom: true homeowner multitasking. If anyone would like to help paint, spackle, or rewire the Poo Poo Palace, please let me know.

Have we learned nothing?

I just flew back through BWI. Now I am not a fan of BWI. Never have
been. The airport seemed like it was a practice airport, on the real
airport on-deck circle. Everything was for practice, nothing really
counted. A Junior Varsity airport. After this trip, I am reassessing
this position. I believe BWI is somewhere between a Little League and a
Tee Ball League airport. BWI, in a word, sucks.

#1 Services. BWI sucks. The best I can do for food is the City Deli.
I was served by a woman, and I am not making this up, who could not see
over the mound of lettuce in fixin’s bar in front of her. She
practically had to stand on a box to get my sandwich over the sneeze
guard that separated her from the hungry angry customers. All in all,
BWI doesn’t have much to offer a traveler. There’s the standard news
shop. There’s a few Starbucks. Not much to speak of in the way of bars.

#2 Ease of Use. BWI sucks. Okay, okay, so the government is testing
the new security procedures at BWI. Yes, it does make BWI appear to be
a safer airport. BUT, a) they are a huge pain in the ass, and b) why
didn’t the government choose an airport better suited to deal with
rules. (See Clientele #3) BWI is far away. Let’s not kid ourselves
here, it is in Baltimore. It’s so far away that there is a train to
reach it.

#3 Clientele. BWI sucks. You have two basic kinds of travelers at
BWI. The first are the cost conscious folks looking for a slightly
better fare with a higher level of hassle. These are typically frequent
travelers. They surf the web. They shop for deals. They didn’t want
to use precious frequent flyer miles on a short hop flight. They know
the usual procedures in an airport and can efficiently get the hell out
of my way and through security and onto the plane without causing a
ruckus.

The other kind of traveler is the first time flier. This is the first
time that they have left the trailer park (except for the little drunk
and disorderly thing that was cleared up a few years ago). These are
the people who complain the airplane seats aren’t wide enough for
“normal” people. These are the people who make flying Southwest safe.
The problem is that they usually don’t have a clue as to how to deal
with the good folks from TSA. They don’t follow the typical convention
of “get on the plane and shut the hell up.” Worse yet, they take up
parking spaces.

#4 Parking. BWI sucks. BWI sucks. BWI sucks. You have three options
at BWI. First, you can get robbed blind by the parking lot in the
middle of the airport. At $30 a day, there go any savings you might
have had on your plane ticket. Second, you can park in an economy lot
that is located thirty to forty miles away. In fact, it is easier and
more cost effective to park at you house and wait for a BWI bus to come
and pick you up. Third, there is the Extra Special Parking lot. And in
an ESP lot I did recently realize that we have learned nothing since
September 11, 2001. Nothing. Not a single solitary thing.

Sunday night, I was returning from Jess and Ed’s wedding (an incredibly
fun to-do – a big congrats from the List to them). I hiked across BWI
to get to Southwest’s baggage claim. Then the fun begins. Heading
outside, I grab a bus to the ESP lot. So far, so good… ish. We weave
and wind our way to the lot. The nice driver man tries to lighten the
mood of my weary companions, and sadly just makes things worse. We stop
at one space and a rather large lady in pants cut from a shower curtain
barges from one end of the bus, over my legs, and out the door.
Whatever… I just wanted to get to my car and get home.

So I pile out at my car and then get in the line from hell. You see,
BWI only has one cashier for their parking lots and he has to run from
lot to lot to lot to help people get robbed blind and then run to
another lot and do the same again. While sitting (it took me nearly
thirty minutes to get out of the lot all told) I noticed a very strange
driving spectacle in front of me. When the Trail Blazer two cars up
would roll forward a foot, the car in front of me would roll two feet.
I thought at first that the driver in front of a me was distracted, took
her foot of the brake, and absent mindedly rolled too far forward. She
surely wouldn’t do it again. But I was wrong. The Trail Blazer rolls
up a bit, and this time the car in front of me, driven by none other
than the grumpy woman, rolls smack into the back of it. The Trail
Blazer keeps his cool and says nothing. But it happens again! This
woman rolls into the Trail Blazer again. Well, the two drivers exchange
words. At this point I just want to go home so badly I am considering
walking.

But it’s at this point that I realize why the grumpy woman was rolling
forward so aggressively. There was another car coming from the opposite
direction that was trying to merge in. He, like all of us, wanted to go
home too. This lady was smashing into the car in front of her to
prevent this guy from getting in line. No common decency. No
courtesy. No, this lady had to be first and she was willing to bash
into another car to stay in front. That’s America folks. That’s BWI at
its best.

Have we learned nothing? Where has our generous spirit gone? Where has
our desires to be good to one another gone? Is there any compassion
left for our fellow man? Sadly, I think I know the answer. We have
learned nothing. September 11 taught us nothing. We are still
self-centered. We are still unwilling to sacrifice a little of our own
bounty for the good of others. I hope a race of mutant dolphins comes
and takes over the world… oh and, BWI still sucks!