JERK OF THE WEEK: The Tampa Trilogy, 2014: Part 1 - Philadelphia International Airport
I had a great time visiting Charlie, my NFL Draft senior analyst, last year down in Tampa. From the great nightlife, to the amazing food and beaches, to the chicks walking around in just thongs - it's called "Trampa Bay" for a reason - there were plenty of things to write about, which is why I was able to create the Tampa Trilogy - a four-part series about my awesome time in Tampa. You might be asking why there are four parts in my trilogy, and if so, screw you. If Star Wars can get away with having six movies in their trilogy, I can have four entries in mine.
This trip was going to be radically different than my first because I wasn't going to Tampa alone this time. I went with my girlfriend, and because of that, I was actually looking forward to this vacation even more. My girlfriend had never been down in that area before, so we planned to go to Disney World during one of our five days there. I had only gone to Disney once before - I was 14 - so reliving those memories was something I wanted to do.
Something else I desired was to find plenty of Jerks of the Week material. My wishes came true, as I ran out of room on my memo app on my new cell phone when jotting down notes for Jerks of the Week throughout my vacation. I'm not kidding. I had so many Jerks notes written down that it stopped me from texting with the following error message: "Maximum canvas size exceeded." See? My phone is even freaking out over all of the Jerks material I collected.
Of course, I was able to find some jerks before my girlfriend and I even landed in Tampa. That's because we initially had to go to the Philadelphia International Airport...
Philadelphia International Airport:
Going to the Philadelphia International Airport is never a pleasant experience. Half the people who work there are mindless automatons, while the other half are brain-dead crack addicts who only have a job because of some POS union. I had no idea how bad it was until two airport employees didn't know how to direct me to Terminal D a year and a half ago. One of them was a fat woman who was too busy eating a doughnut to answer me, while the second led me around in circles after responding to me with a "whatchu want?" after I came up to him and asked him for directions.
Something I find amusing at the airport is that the employees who check the IDs ahead of the security line look at everyone with their soulless eyes and ask, "Can you pronounce your name?" I've been to several other airports, and the only one that features workers who do this is the Philadelphia International Airport.
I suppose this is an attempt at some sort of security measure, but how can it possibly work? What sort of terrorist is going to be tripped up by this question? I can only imagine...
ID Checker: Whatchu want?
Terrorist: I want to go into the security line.
ID Checker: Lemme see your ID.
Terrorist: OK here.
ID Checker: Can you pronounce your name?
Terrorist: Yes. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
ID Checker: That ain't what your ID say.
Terrorist: I mean Chris Jackson! It's Chris Jackson, I swear!
ID Checker: OK this is correct, please pass true the line. Keep in mine that we gonna check some bag, but probably not yours because you ain't white.
TSA actually checked my bag. I found one of those slips when I opened my suitcase in the Tampa hotel room. This really pissed me off. I felt like keeping that slip of paper in my luggage and writing, "Worthless TSA, can you please check bags that can actually belong to terrorists; not normal white people. Thanks."
What? That's racist? That's not racist in the slightest. It's just smart. It's a fact that white people were not part of the group that committed 70 percent of terrorist acts in 2011. This is not to say that every member of a race or religious faction is a terrorist or anything, but when one group leads the league in terrorist acts, they should be checked with more frequency. If white people or Russians committed more terrorism than anyone else, I'd totally understand if they checked me or my bag every single time. But that's not the case. This would be common sense for most people, but there are too many individuals with tons of sand in their vag for things to be like they should.
At any rate, I went through the security checkpoint without any issues. My girlfriend and I had about an hour and a half to kill, and we were both hungry, so we went to a mini restaurant called Villa Pizza in the U.S. Airways terminal. The food there looked delicious. In addition to pizza, they had some Stromboli, baked ziti and Caesar salad. I opted for the latter two items, which came with a garlic bread roll. My girlfriend, meanwhile, bought a slice of pizza with her salad.
As I was telling the woman behind the counter that I wanted sauce on my baked ziti, I overheard my girlfriend having some difficulty with the woman at the salad station. This woman was black and sounded like she came from the French part of Africa. She didn't seem to have any sort of grasp on the English language, as I quickly discovered when she and my girlfriend had the following conversation:
Girlfriend: I want a large salad.
Villa Pizza Worker: Yes you get salad.
Girlfriend: No, not the small salad. I want the large salad.
Villa Pizza Worker (pointing at me): He get small salad.
Girlfriend: OK, but I want a large salad.
Villa Pizza Worker: OK I give you salad.
Villa Pizza Worker: OK here salad.
Villa Pizza Worker either didn't seem to comprehend that my girlfriend wanted a large salad instead of a small one, or she forced a small salad upon her because I ordered a small salad. I absolutely have no idea what my order had to do with hers, and I doubt Villa Pizza Worker did either.
I'd take this opportunity to rant and rave about how people in America should at least be able to know enough English to not be any sort of hindrance like this, but the other Philadelphia International Airport employees who actually speak English (or some form of it) are just as incompetent.
My girlfriend and I talked about our difficulty with the Villa Pizza Worker as we struggled to eat - the croutons in our Caesar salad were extremely stale - and this prompted a discussion about how the airport restaurant employees are screened. We both agreed that terrorists who want to hurt people should find someone to work at these restaurants. The people at these restaurants might have an easier chance smuggling in bombs into the airport, and even if that's not the case, they could easily poison lots of people there. If I were one of these douchebag terrorists, I'd finish f***ing my goat and then spend time brainwashing a restaurant employee, telling them how bad America is for allowing Celebrity Apprentice to run for so many years. That's what all of this American hatred is all about, right?
Of course, the employees aren't the only stupid people at the airport. I have lots of material on the fliers as well, though I wouldn't consider one of them to be a jerk. As my girlfriend and I were waiting to check our bags, we overheard a conversation between two Indian siblings: a small girl (about 6 years old) and her older brother, who was around 10. Here's the brief exchange:
Little Girl: HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT TO GIVE OUR SOUP CASE?
Older Brother: It's suitcase; not soup case.
My girlfriend said aloud, "Aww, that's so cute!" right as I reached into my pocket for my phone to jot down this Jerks of the Week material. I can see how the little girl managed to sound cute by confusing "soup case" with "suitcase," but I bet she would have gotten it right if she wasn't so distraught over the Washington Redskins team name controversy. The name must be changed so more Indians don't start calling their luggage "soup case" - though the sound of "soup case" does sound quite delicious.
Luckily, there were people at the airport I can make fun of without feeling bad. I walked into the bathroom to wash my hands prior to eating my baked ziti and Caesar salad, and I instantly spotted a man in his late 50s/early 60s brushing his teeth. This would have been weird by itself, but he acknowledged everyone who approached the sinks by proudly saying, "I always brush my teeth before a flight, ho-ho!"
He was extremely enthusiastic about this for whatever reason. He beamed at everyone and informed every single person who washed their hands that he has a habit of brushing his teeth before boarding a plane. I have no idea why he did that, or why he seemed to think anyone cared about his routine. Perhaps he was worried that the cavity terrorists would board his flight and invade his mouth, and he was trying to help everyone by convincing them to brush their teeth to avoid this from happening. That, or he subscribes to my theory that the most likely terrorist attack in an airport would come from a food vendor. Maybe I should start brushing my teeth...
Anyway, I took a leak, and he was gone by the time I was done. An airport janitor, a large black man, was washing the sink area. I didn't think anything of it until a guy in his 50s with wavy gray hair and glasses approached him and said the following:
"You're pretty heavy, man!"
I wish I were making this up. He flat out told a large black janitor that he was "heavy." He smiled and had a crazy look in his eye, while the large black janitor, who was twice his size, grimaced and shot back an evil glare.
I think this is the first time I've ever pitied an employee at the Philadelphia International Airport. Most of them are complete worthless a**holes, but this fat guy was just minding his own business, cleaning the bathroom, yet a crazy-looking dude came up and told him that he was "heavy." That would spoil my day.
It was eventually time to board our flight. We approached the gate and saw something I despise: Everyone there was standing up and awaiting for their zone number to be called. I've written about this before, and I absolutely hate it. These people should be sitting down. It's not like they're going to miss their flight if they remain seated. Instead, lingering around confuses others, who think they're waiting in line instead of just standing behind some Zone 4 doofus who just heard Zone 1 called.
My girlfriend and I nearly missed Zone 1, but we caught it in time. The woman who scanned the boarding passes greeted my girlfriend warmly...
Boarding Pass Woman: Hi, how are you!?
Girlfriend: I'm great, how about you?
Boarding Pass Woman: I'm great, thanks for asking! Here's your boarding pass back, and I hope you have a great flight!
I expected the same warm interaction from her when I handed her my boarding pass. Instead...
Boarding Pass Woman: Thanks...
Me: I'm great, I mean, how are you?
Boarding Pass Woman: Meh.
Boarding Pass Woman: Here's your pass.
I don't understand why she was so friendly with my girlfriend and so rude to me. I brought this up with my girlfriend as we sat down on the plane.
Me: I can't believe how rude that boarding pass woman was to me.
Girlfriend: That's because people actually like me, Walt!
She said that jokingly, but maybe she's right. What if people are dicks to me because they don't like me? If they did like me, perhaps they wouldn't check my luggage, get me lost while directing me to a particular terminal, ask me to pronounce my name, give me small Caesar salads with stale croutons and be rude to me as I'm boarding the plane.
Unfortunately, I don't know what to do about this. How do you stop people you don't know from inexplicably hating you? Is there some sort of online class that teaches you how not to be an a**hole to people? I'm sure Rosetta Stone has a CD they could sell me for $299.99, but is there anything available for a reasonable price?
As for the actual flight, it was a bit frustrating. The glare from the sun shining through the window in front of me hindered my ability to use my laptop. I had to keep moving it around to type stuff, and even then, I misspelled half the words because I couldn't see what I was entering into the computer. My girlfriend told me I should ask the woman in front of me to close her window, but she was Russian, and therefore she would have rudely declined (see, I can be stereotypical against my own people!)
Our flight was supposed to be 2-and-a-half hours, but it ended up being a bit more than three because there was a thunderstorm hovering around the Tampa airport. As we were circling around, two babies were crying in the back of the plane. Why parents feel the need to travel with kids instead of locking them in a kennel, I have no idea, but at least we got "soup case" out of it.
The circling was endless and monotonous. I got so bored that I started mimicking the baby, which made my girlfriend chuckle. I then made some farting noises, and then added, "That's all I got."
We eventually landed and greeted Charlie. The flight sucked, but enduring all of the jerks at the Philadelphia International Airport was worth it because we had a great week in Tampa and Disney World. You'll be able to read about it next week - assuming I don't die from the poisoned food I ate at Villa Pizza.