I was making my annual trip to score AP essays in Salt Lake City by traveling from Richmond via O'Hare in Chicago. I was traveling with Jim, and we had supposed that the hour and twenty minute layover would be sufficient to prevent our normal sprint with luggage through the giant airport. After a brief delay we boarded the plane. And then…
We deplaned. Since Memorial Day weekend, I have boarded a plane and taken off the first time only five times. Over the same span, I have boarded and deplaned three times. Over 50% of the time I'm scheduled to fly somewhere, you can count on everyone getting on the plane, carefully arranging all of their stuff, and then being asked to leave the plane. I'm an expert on disembarking planes that were supposed to take off, so if you have any questions about how to store your carry-on or when you should actually feel optimistic about the plane leaving the ground, I'm your man.
On the plus side, when the delay hit the four hour mark, United announced that they were providing meal vouchers. This was exciting news until I got the voucher.
- The Stopper – motto: is that a shiny penny? – These are the people who are walking with a crowd of other travelers when they suddenly stop walking as if someone had shut them down, forcing everyone behind them to take evasive maneuvers.
- The Beeliner – motto: Heel-tow, heel-toe – This person would step on your child's head if it would get them to their gate one nanosecond faster. They plow through any obstacle – luggage, lines, humans – Terminator 2 style.
- The Phone-looker – motto: I'm the only the only person here! Senator Phone-looker has important Facebook status updates to attend to and can't be bothered to see what's happening in the real social network.
- The Serpentiner – motto: YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!! – The Serpentiner erratically staggers back and front, confounding pedestrians trying to pass. When a Serpentiner meets a Beeliner, it's like antimatter combining with matter.
My anthropological study complete at O'Hare, we finally boarded a plane that improbably took off for Salt Lake.