Random thoughts from the road —
An Asian friend asked me by text this week “When speaking of someone from another country, do you say ‘foreigner’ or ‘alien’?” I assured him we say ‘foreigner’ if we use any term at all.
If we in the USA say ‘alien,’ we are referring to little creatures from outer space….! 👽
Bacon is bacon is bacon, at least at hotels. I prefer my thick-cut, cherrywood-smoked bacon at home.
Airport gate attendants are sassy when they don’t think anyone is over-hearing. And sometimes sassy anyway.
Boorish people are just evil.
Cleveland drivers are more polite than those in Saint Louis.
The best grounding for the day is reading Morning Prayer in the quiet of a hotel room.
Dammit people, we don’t want to hear your conversations or the sounds your phone makes. Turn off the damn speakers on your phone, or use earbuds. And recognize that polite people stand up and walk away to a quiet location if they need to have a conversation on these silly contraptions we call cell phones.
Yes, face-lifted person four rows away who has been chattering incessantly since you sat down. I can hear you from thirty feet away. Go to a corner at an empty gate!
Advice: after two solid days of driving, sitting in meetings, and not doing much exercise, get a massage.
TSA staff at some airports seem to revel in being surly, almost provoking grumpiness in travelers. Thus it was on Friday at CLE. No smile. No greeting. Just a grunt.
And when I joked, with a smile but a glint of ‘why?’, about having to walk the back/forth serpentine route of the entire checkpoint, even though no one was in line, I got a curt response of “We never take down the retractable belt from the standchion.” That was clearly the end. I didn’t even bother with that ‘why?’.
Whatever. It’s one of the most dismissive words in the English language, when used in the context of “I don’t care to engage you any more” or “What you are saying doesn’t matter to me.” Used as a filler, as a substitute for ‘etc.’, it’s even less specific. The former is rude, the latter frustrating and unhelpful.
We have better words, people. Specificity is a powerful thing. And words matter.