Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Airport Philosophy

If you’re like me, traveling alone gives your brain all kinds of time to think about the most random things. Normally, this gives me the chance to ramble on about whatever the political topic of the day is and post it to my blog.

But I already did a bit of that this morning, and I make no promises either way as to whether or not I post about something else after the next leg of my journey. But for now, I’ll take a break from politi-speak to opine on a few other things, and give you a glimpse into the chaotic mess that is my brain.

(1) Why is it that, when connecting through an airport, you never really feel like you are in the city you’re actually in? Sometimes, you can be there for hours, and in my case, I’m in Minneapolis for the next hour and a half.

The thing is, there is really no mistaking the fact that I am in Minnesota, unless someone has hijacked this city and replaced it’s citizens with an army of people that sound unmistakenly like native Minnesotans.

(Apparently “unmistakenly” is not a word according to my spellcheck. I henceforth declare it to be one. It also says "spellcheck" is not a word. A self-hating spelling checker?)

(2) Why do they use so much gray color at airports? I assume it’s to conceal dirt, but really it makes the entire air travel experience to be a muted version of itself. I think this adds to the “I’m not really there” aspect of connecting flights.

(3) The NWA WorldClub at terminal F in Minneapolis sucks. Normally, I’m quite amazed at how these membership-only clubs manage to make the airport terminal experience seem more like sitting in your living room (although maybe this has only to do with their use of color instead of yet more shades of gray)..

In this case, my amazement is only that someone would pay for access to such things. I think there is less noise and fewer people outside the club than in it. Normally, I can take solace in the fact that this is one of the few places I’ve found where I can enjoy a non-skunky Heineken.

How so? Well, they have free beer at the club (its only saving grace), and they have Miller Lite and Heineken on tap (and if you only have two things on tap, why NOT make them both nearly identical lagers?). So, even though I could care less about Heineken, I’ve enjoyed the fact that I can taste what it actually is supposed to taste like at the NWA Club in Minneapolis.

But not today--they’ve got a padlock on both of the taps. Maybe it’s because it’s only 10:30 local time, but I’ve been up since 5am local and I want my beer. Come on.

I’m also sitting about 3 feet from the “Free Wi-Fi” sign and I keep losing my signal.

(4) If you’ve been in the business world, I’m sure you’ve heard someone use the phrase “I’m out of pocket.” In case you haven’t heard this bit of business hyperbole, it means “you won’t be able to communicate with me during this time.” I hear it all the time, and I don’t think I’ve used it myself but if I have, I apologize.

My question is, where in the hell does this phrase come from? Out of pocket? What pocket? And does that mean you can only answer your phone when you are *in* someone’s pocket? Is it some bizarre football reference, a la the quarterback is out of the pocket?

You hear some pretty stupid phrases in business, and I assume most of them have root in something that makes sense, but I don’t any idea where this one comes from.


craig said...

"Out of pocket" expenses are items that you have to pay for on your own dime (the company won't cover it). So, a person using it in this context is really saying, "I'll be out of reach because I'm too cheap to way for wifi."

Jeff said...


Nick said...

I just tell people that I'm too lazy to check my Blackberry.

I'm in my third airport in the last 24 hours. I don't feel like I'm in New York even though I had a cross-town bus ride. I'm starting to feel very disconnected. But that's what happens when you travel.

The savings grace of most of the private clubs is the fact that I can go in, take a nap, and if something majorly bad happens, they can work wonders and take care of reroutes and the like.

jay said...

Unmistakably is the word you're looking for. :-)

Also, you're using OS X, right? As long as you're typing into a cocoa text widget, you can esc-complete words. Go ahead, try it:


(You might have to use option-esc inside browser textareas.)