Oh Ruby, Don't Take Your Super Sampler To Town
I have now had two different flights over the past couple weeks with a stinky flight attendant. Not B.O., lacking deoderant, unshowered kind of stink, but a more endemic deep-rooted kind of odor. The kind you would expect their whole lives smell like, whether they just showered or got off a 12-hour shift. People who have a lot of cats, and drive old station-wagons so filled with junk there is no room left for anyone to sit but the driver.
It wouldn't be a problem if I didn't prefer aisle seats. Up and down the aisle, leaning over you to close the bins, distributing pretzels a half an ounce at a time, soft drinks 4 ounces at a time (a whole can if you're lucky), then several times to collect trash: that's a lot of opportunities to get a good strong whiff.
I did arrive in Jacksonville eventually, after one relatively pleasant-smelling leg, and one a little more malodorous.
At the Ruby Tuesday for lunch, Jimmy Buffett was on the speakers. I realize that except for the pleasant weather in the 60s, I could have been anywhere. The restaurants are the same, down the the same replicas of classic ads and toys nailed to the way. The Hilton Garden Inns are the same, same layout, same rooms (except for the magnificence of LA's Technology Room).
Nothing particularly profound about that. The standardization of the American experience regardless of location is the point of chains.
People say, “oh, you got to go the L.A. and New Orleans.” They are less impressed with Jacksonville and Detroit, this week's destinations. Still, they don't get there is little fun to be had on these trips. You travel during the day, work from 6 until 10pm, then crash at the hotel for a couple hours.
OK, so I did enjoy a late supper in the French Quarter last week, but that is an exception. Focus group travel is a lot of club sandwiches at the TGIFriday/ Bennigans/ Ruby Tuesday, trying to sleep in the back of the coach section, and microwaved burrito at midnight in your room. Actually managing a focused discussion of two dozen random people on some uninteresting topic is the easy part.
I guess the smelly flight attendants wake me up out of the trip coma. I guess I should be thankful for the olfactory assault that shocked me out of the sameness.
But what happens if they become part of the ritual? Is there some clause in the ADA which forces airlines to hire those who carry a stench?
I guess if I've accepted all other aspects of a city a day travel, I can get used to this.
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