Department Of What Got Me A Free Meal + Glass Of Wine On My Flight Home
Dateline: Tuesday afternoon; returning from a trip to SoCal.  I am on an Alaska Airlines flight, seated in aisle seat of one of the two exit rows (a “privilege/responsibility” for which I willingly pay extra).  The flight attendant assigned to our section of the plane stands next to me in the aisle and begins her responsibilities-of-sitting-in-an-exit-row spiel. When she gets to the part about how we should all should remove and read the safety pamphlet in the seat pocket in front of us, she glances down to indicate the seat pocket closest to her, which is mine, and notices that my safety pamphlet is already opened and in my lap.
Alaska Flight Attendant, pointing at me: “Wow – look at her!
Someone is prepared; I’m impressed!”
Moiself: Hey, this isn’t my first exit row rodeo.
AFA (along with my fellow exit row seat occupiers) burst out laughing. It was a nice way to begin a flight, if I do say so moiself (and I just did).
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Department Of More Fun With Flight Attendants
After said round of laughter quieted down and the AFA finished her spiel, she asked my name, and seemed both surprised and pleased with my response. “We have the same name!” she gushed.  I scanned her uniform; she was not wearing a (visible to me) nametag. I asked how she spelled her version of our name.
“I bet you spell it the “wrong” way,” I teased.
“Well, how do you spell it?” she countered.
“With a Y,” I said. “R-o-b-y-n.”
“Me too,” she said, “only with more: R-o-b-y-n-e.”
“Oh, that’s even wrong-er,” I laughed.
When it came time for the first beverage service and she gave me a cup of water, I said, oozing with solicitousness, “Thank you, Robyne,” followed by, “Oh, how I love saying that.” She responded with, “You’re so welcome, Robyn.” For the remainder of the flight we exchanged rounds of Thank you Robyne/You’re welcome Robyn at every opportunity.
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Department Of One More This About That
On my section of the exit row (seats A, B & C) I was in the aisle seat; the middle seat was unoccupied, and there was a gentleman in his mid-late 60s occupying the window seat. Near the end of the flight Aisle Seat Gentleman and I engaged in some chitchat, and he asked, in a way that made me assume he expected a positive answer, if I worked for Alaska (Airlines).  I told him no, and asked what made him that think I might? He said it was the “kind and confident banter” I exchanged with the flight attendant and other passengers.
I thanked him (“I’ll take that as a compliment”) and added, “I figure, we’re all stuck on what is essentially a big bus with wings, so why not make it easy on everyone?”
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Department Of What The TSA Missed
On the return flight from SoCal to Portland I fully expected to have my carryon bag searched. During my visit I had purchased a small piece of art, from a Laguna Beach gallery featuring artist Rodney “Rodrigo” McCoubrey who works with reclaimed/recycled materials (www.rodrigosrecycledart.com ). Buoy Fish was indeed made with parts of a buoy, but also metal plates and screws and had protruding nails….
I packed it right on top of my carry-on bag, so it would be easy to remove and show the TSA folks when they detected the potential shrapnel metal in the scanner. Nope; nada. The TSA dude operating the scanner was practically yawning as my bag and Buoy Fish sailed on through. Which kinda fit in with my theory of how the TSA was working during the government shutdown.
Even though I have TSA precheck (I signed up for the Global Entry program last year, and thus always get the precheck line), on my flight down to SoCal I was concerned about how the security lines might be because of the shutdown. TSA employees are in the category of federal employees deemed “essential,” and must show up to work despite not getting paid. Rumor had it that they might take out their frustration by calling in sick, etc., but on both the flight out of PDX and the one back from SNA I carefully watched both “my” line (precheck) and the regular TSA line, and there seemed to be the usual number of staff.
When I fly I always watch both of the TSA lines, to pass the time and also because it’s entertaining: guaranteed, there’ll be one guy from Texas  who apparently is the only guy in the US of A who has not flown in the past 20 years – also, he has also not paid attention to the instructions of the TSA agents, nor the many signs he has passed while in line, nor the actions of the people shuffling in the line with him…so he gets to the front of the line to go through the metal detector/scanner and spends five minutes struggling to remove his cowboy boots and his dinner plate-sized, brass American eagle, you’re-supposed-to-think-I-won-this-at-a-rodeo belt buckle.
However, these recent two times in the TSA lines I saw how everyone and everything just breezed on through security (I even heard one passenger comment to another about how they’d neglected to fully empty their water bottle, but “nobody caught it.”). Basically, it seemed to I that unless you were wearing a vest made of 20 sticks of dynamite attached to a ticking timer on your chest and chanting Allahu Akbar,  the TSA dudes  were like, Move along folks, nothing here to see, it’s all good.
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Department Of How To Sound Like Your Parents
Are we headed for the last week in January, already?
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May you never sound like your parents…
even though sounding like someone else’s parents is totally fine;
May you enjoy an exit row rodeo before you die; 
May you find ways to make it easy on everyone, including yourself;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 To attend a niece’s baby shower. Moiself cannot remember the last time I attended a baby shower…I managed to (mostly) behave moiself.
 I enjoy the extra legroom, and frankly, have y’all take a good luck at your fellow passengers when you travel by air? I trust moiself to get people out of the plane.
 We Robyn/Robins tend to get quite attached to one another when we meet, as we have usually grown up being the only one in our classrooms/jobs with that name.
 I found out his wife had retired from Alaska and their daughter currently works for the airline.
 In actuality or in spirit.
 A once rather benign phrase in Arabic ( translation: “God is Great”) hijacked (sorry) by suicide bombers and other Islamic terrorists who shout it right before they are about to kill or maim.
 Dudes used in the equal opportunity sense – there were both male and female dudes.
 But not, like, right before you die. I mean, don’t enjoy it, and then die….