The Winds of Change
Lighting a candle this morning (my personal War on Doggie Smell, which will likely drag on longer than any conflict in the Middle East) reminded me of this week's most interesting headline:
Flatulence, lit matches cited in flight diversion
This gem ran in the business pages of our metropolitan paper. Just above the headline: AMERICAN AIRLINES in bulky capital letters. To make a bizarre story shorter:
A Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after passengers reported smelling burning matches. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off the plane and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened. The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted that she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor." She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.
Now I know the world has changed drastically since 9/11. But, really — they made an emergency landing and called in the FBI?
I remember when the airlines wouldn't land a plane for any reason. Pregnant women and sick people just had to tough it out. Women gave birth to breech triplets and were told to bite on a package of pretzels and make the best of it.
Not only did passengers pass wind without attention, they routinely passed away without a fuss. When a person died in mid-flight, flight attendents simply put a blanket over the dearly departed's face and continued to dole out tiny bottles of Bloody Mary mix and miniature Salisbury steaks as if nothing had happened. Those were the days.
Lit matches? I can remember when dozens of travelling smokers kept a fixated gaze on the international "NO FUMAR" symbol above, drooling like Pavlov's dog waiting for the "ding!" that came with the light going off. Sixty five people would then light up at the same time, to the clinking of ice in small plastic cups, awaiting the first of several cheerfully served cocktails. Cigarettes weren't the only things getting lit.
Not that I enjoyed all that secondhand smoke and drunken travelers. Certainly, some changes were in order. But what in the world has happened to airline travel? I don't dare try to take my knitting needles on a flight. I'm sure that anyone showing up at an airport with such sinister pokers of death would be subject to a thorough cavity search and a possible investigation by the CIA.
Mom and I had a good laugh about the "unspecified medical condition" in the article.
My mother — who is kept young by her sophomoric, 13-year-old boy sense of humor — suggested that now terrorists might get the idea to eat platefuls of beans before boarding, sit strategically and blow up an aircraft by, well, you get the picture.
Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas!