Though yesterday wasn't the worst travel day I've ever had (that was probably our trip via United to Hawaii two years ago), it also wasn't the best. Fortunately, we've gotten much more used to the flight to Hawaii and back. Thus, though I had some concern about actually getting home, beyond that it wasn't that big a deal.
The morning started off pleasantly and quietly. My dad, Mary, Kimberly, and I had our typical breakfast (bagels & fruit) looking out over the ocean. I casually talked with Dad quite a bit later and we only headed out of the house at 9.45 or so, a few hours after we'd woken up.
At the airport, we found that the Lihue TSA was once more sending everyone through their backscatter machines. They did this last year, then abruptly stopped before we got to the head of the line. This time, they continued on right through our own turn.
Now, I have a strict policy against totally unnecessary radiation that's only being administered as part of a Security Theater that continues to erode at our personal rights month-by-month and year-by-year. Especially when studies have shown that the radiation machines are likely to cause 4 totally unnecessary cancers for every million people tested. While results have shown ZERO lives saved. Especially when newer studies have shown it's really simple to hide stuff from the backscatter radition anyway (amusingly, as we traveled yesterday, word came out that the TSA was trying to censor videos showing how useless their x-ray machines are and also seemed to be threatening news organizations lest they talk about it.)
So, I opted out. Contrary to the horror stories I've heard about totally unprofessional gropes resulting from people exerting their privacy rights, the TSA rep who searched me was totally professional and polite. A bit rough maybe. I was surprised to find that I was nonetheless a bit shaken from the experience afterward. The result of a fairly aggressive violation of my personal space, I guess. Not the sort of thing we as Americans with supposed liberties should be regularly subjected to, just for the "right" to travel.
Anywho, it soon passed, and Kimberly I then read our current read-aloud book, The Hobbit, while waiting for our plane to Honolulu.
Unfortunately, the problems started there, in Honolulu. We had a pretty leisurely start to the afternoon: lunch in the food court, then some more reading outside in one of Honolulu airport's attractive gardens. But then we headed to our gate ... and the waiting started.
A few moments after boarding was supposed to begun, Hawaiian Airlines announced that things were delayed because the stewardesses were still doing "security checks". Then a bit later they said it was going to be an hour delay for "security checks". An hour later they now said that they were doing repair of "avionics equipment" and it'd be another hour. Less than an hour later we heard one more time that stewardesses were doing "security checks" and we finally started boarding the plane about 2 hours late.
I have to say, I was disappointed by how mealy-mouthed Hawaiian was. This was the same company that a year ago openly admitted that someone had died on the plane and got us a new one within 20 minutes. Now, they told us pretty much zero about what was going on and took a very long time in doing so. Mistakes happen, and they've still got my faith for the moment, but given that Melody & Jared had troubles getting home from Hawaii just two months ago on Hawaiian, I'm a little less trusting of them than I was before. Especially since they didn't try to apologize in any way (say, with free headsets) and were pretty much pretending that it hadn't happened by the time we got to Oakland.
We got home so late that BART and most buses were no longer running and so had to spend $48 on a taxi. Thanks Hawaiiain.
(As I told Kimberly before the trip, we were thankfully flying into Oakland, which put us on the right side of the Bay. Turns out, that was important, else that would have been an $80 taxi ride.)
And no flight would be complete without a very bratty child sitting behind you, kicking the seat. The thing was, this kid was way too old not to know better. But he might as well have had no supervision, as it turned out.
Both the kid and his mother had the look of the very poor: a grayness, an unhealthy obesity, and a real dullness to their affect. It was also obvious that they'd never flown before. Part of the kid's problem with seats was that he grabbed mine every time he moved, a sure sign of inexperience, but he also fucked with the seat beyond that. Meanwhile the mother once spent 5 minutes screaming at the stewardesses ("Hey! Lady! You with the cart! LADY! I'M TALKING TO YOU!!!") while they were trying to serve dinner and thus not going to come to anyone's individual assistance unless there was a heart attack or something.
I was also struck by the really unhealthy dynamic between the mother and the son. It seemed largely reversed, with the parent unwilling to parent and the child instead telling her what to do. When Kimberly complained about the brat kicking her seat, the mother's response was ... to change places with the kid so that he could kick my seat instead. When the kid then started kicking my seat, I violated rule #1 of dealing with other peoples' kids by directly telling the kid to stop kicking my chair, rather than going through the mom. I was polite, mind you (though Kimberly says I raised my voice after the kid backtalked me, which I can believe). The mom meanwhile looked on dully, not saying anything to either me or the kid. She then gave me a death glare every time I looked back for the rest of the flight. I decided to just start offering a broad smile.
Kimberly later gave me the report that made it obvious that the kid was a sociopath in training. When I got up and went to the bathroom, the little brat apparently started aggressively and continuously kicking my chair as hard as he could. He said something about being able to do so because I was gone. Kimberly said that her chair was getting jostled around too. The mother ignored everything.
My last interaction with the twain was just to quietly laugh as we taxied about Oakland and the mom got on her phone and told someone, "We're going to that place where the plane drops us off." Gate? Terminal? Airport?
As I said, they clearly never flew before.
Among the other fine fliers was a Japanese girl (a teenager, at least) sitting just across the aisle from me who's apparently never been taught to cover her mouth when she sneezes.
As a result, I made a few stops by the lavatory just to wash my hands, mainly before I handled food. Hopefully that'll keep the germs away.
We got in around 1am. The cats of course were happy to see us.
Cobweb is sadly as scrawny as ever. However, she seemed the most aware that we'd been gone & the most able to pleasantly note that we were now home.
Munchkin complained vocally, and has been doing so ever since. Poor critter was pretty hoarse by mid-afternoon, though she's getting better now.
Lucy was a little skittish, as always. By bed time, though, she'd settled down. Until about 6am that is, when she started LOVING and LOVING and LOVING me, writhing about and repeatedly touching me with her wet nose. (Ick!) I hid under the covers, which usually foils her attack, but she just went under them to get me. So I started sleepily tossing her off the bed.
Lucy's loving apparently woke Kimberly up too, and when she got up and out of bed, Lucy followed her, for a bit at least. Soon after I was woken by Munchkin, who'd started complaining to Kimberly as soon as she got up.
Sigh. Not the best night's sleep.
Good to be home, though.