F.C.C. to Weigh Allowing
Cellphone Use on Flights
The New York Times, November 22, 2013
Maybe the Tea party is right. Maybe a government shut down is a capital idea. Just when you thought airline travel could not get worse the FCC may allow cell phones.
You arrive 90 minutes before the flight, wait in lines, take off your shoes, empty your pockets, take off your belt, trigger the alarm with you artificial hip, hear the cry "male assist," listen to the DHS misfit explain how he intends to grope you, respond that if you wished to blow yourself up along with an airliner, you would not first undergo a painful and expensive hip implant, receive a blank stare from the misfit as DHS has screened out all people with an ironic sensibility as well as anyone who ever had a date in High School, get groped by the DHS misfit, ride a packed subway car, walk half a mile to the flight, board with zone 5 by which time there is no room in the overhead bins for luggage, take your assigned seat between a sumo wrestler whose stomach blankets your arm rest and a colicky child who emits wails pitched at A above high C, wait 30 minutes on the Tarmac with no air conditioning due to "technical reasons."
Then when you reach 10,000 feet the woman in front of starts yelping into her cell phone:
"Alice, you wont believe it. There is a passenger on this flight who looks just like Roger."
"Didn't I tell you? I'm flying to Chicago."
"Roger Tuttle, you know the one who works in the produce department at Safeway."
"No the Safeway on Broadway."
"You shop at the other Safeway? I was sure you shopped at the one on Broadway. Nevertheless, you must admit it is eerie to be on a flight with someone who looks exactly like Roger. It reminds me of the time Ralph and I were driving to Tacoma on I-5 during a heavy rain. And it was cold--rainy and cold. Anyway, Ralph...Are you sure you don't shop at the Safeway on Broadway?.."
You put your hands over your ears but the sumo wrestler is shouting into his cell phone. It seems he is not a sumo wrestler but a management consultant who incoherently spouts:
"Drill down...leverage their assets...scalability...move the needle ... pushback ... repurpose ... metrics... thinking outside the box ... value proposition ... new paradigm ... ...granularity..."
You excuse yourself to try to find peace and quiet by standing near the john. But the woman ahead of you in line is doing the play by play on her cell phone:
"We are right above Bismarck now and it's cloudy. We were cruising at 35,000 ft, but we had to go down to 33,000 ft. to avoid turbulence. They just served beverages. I had a Diet Coke, but maybe I should have had a Diet Sprite. I don't know. Did I say 35,000 feet? No, I think we were at 34,000 ft and had to gown down to 32,000 feet. I'm no good with numbers. You know me. I'm a people person.
"We passed over Billings a while ago and was it cloudy. You could hardly count all the clouds. You know sometimes I feel like a Coke and sometimes a Sprite. That's just the way I am. We passed over Grand Forks about 20 minutes ago, and talk about clouds! It was really cloudy. I mean cloudy-cloudy. Some people, I won't mention names but you probably know who I am talking about, would ask for both a Coke and a Sprite. I'm not like that..."
You return to your seat. Now the man directly in back of you, a take-charge dealmaker, is shouting:
"That's a deal-breaker."
"Fuck the lawyers."
"Not one penny more"
"I told you, fuck the lawyers."
The management consultant, no longer billing hours, begins a 20 minute phone discussion on the question of whether some Huskie lineman's knee will heal in time for the Washington State game.
This is what air travel will be if the FCC allows cell phone calls. Personally, I am not worried because I have a defense. Peanuts, being a legume, cause me extreme flatulence. Peanuts are plentiful on airlines. I plan to consume one bag of peanuts for each cell phone call I overhear. I will soon have three rows to myself while the callers crowd into the back of the plane.
Lacking such a defense, you should you should contact your congressman immediately to express opposition to cell phone calls on airline flights.
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