Tag Archives: travel

A Letter to a Friend from Houston

7 Sep

Dear Friend,

I can’t stop thinking about you. I think of you every time I turn on the news and see people plucked from rooftops by helicopters, rescued by neighbors on boats. I think of you every time I see a highway that was passable a few very long days ago that is now indistinguishable from an ocean if it weren’t for the drowned exit signs and street lights that won’t see power for days if not weeks. I think of you every time I see people crammed into convention centers and furniture stores and churches, not knowing the status of their family and friends or their homes, schools, jobs, churches; not knowing anything about what comes next. I think of you every time I contemplate the long journey back from here. I think of you always.

Because, in a way, I know what it is. I know what it is to come home to a place you understand with every inch of your being and have it be forever changed, forever scarred. I remember when the towers fell. I remember the fear of waiting for phone calls from family and friends, of returning home and seeing my city smoldering, of arriving back in my small town and seeing the cars left abandoned at the train station by people who never came home for them. And of course you know that, too, because you were here. You were here for all of that and I am sure it left a mark on you like it did for the rest of us. That mark of knowing what once was will never be again. That knowledge that nothing will ever be the same, that you will never be the same. That something happened that has changed the world, your world and the world at large, for a very long time. Like September 11th changed everything about the way we interact with our fellow humans whether by choice or through the force of law, these storms – one after another after another like clockwork – change our collective feelings of safety and security in our environment, make the need for action even more dire. This storm will be a mainstay in our conversation about the imminent dangers of climate change, and it will be a marker of time in your conversations about your city.

And so I think of you flying over your city for the first time and having to take that in alone. And I so wish I could be there to hold your hand. And I feel in some weird way that it is a gift that I will be there to meet you at the airport, that I will be in the car with you as you see it all at ground level for the first time, so I can be whatever support I can be. If you cry, I will cry with you. If you need to laugh, I will come prepared with jokes and stories and memories like that time we hitch hiked with priests in Guatemala; that time our car broke down on the freeway; that time we were walking through Houston and a dog ran at us and you puffed yourself up and yelled NO in a voice so grounded, so powerful that he ran away with his tail between his legs and we were safe. And then we will take a deep breath, stand up straight and head out into the world and help as best we can because all we can do right now is offer ourselves to others as support and love and relief. And I hope I can be that for you.

I am here for you. I am thinking about you. And I love you.

Love always


Living that Hive Life

20 Apr

It has been a rough go in Rebekah-land recenly, friends. Why? Well, the title of this blog is a dead giveaway. That’s right, I keep breaking out in hives and oh my god it is terrible. It all started on Monday, March 21st in a small place in Iceland called Geysir. Yes, Gey-sir. (Chuckle, chuckle, snort.) My constant travel companion Carrie and I had just finished walking around this super prehistoric-seeming landscape, oohing and aahing with other tourists as the earth shot a buttload of water like a hundred feet into the air every 6-8 minutes. It was a sight to behold and a smell to experience. Iceland, in case you were wondering, has a nasty case of the sulphurs.  Anyway, so there we were in Gey-Sir, (chuckle, chuckle, snort) walking through the gift store when all of a sudden my knees started itching something fierce. They were the itchiest knees I have ever had. And then my hands were itching. And I looked at my hands and I had these little red bumps all around my knuckles. I wrote a whole thing about it here that you should read if you really want all the background information. But to make a long story short, basically I broke out in hives over my entire body and Carrie and I had to race across the Icelandic tundra to this random pharmacy that was about to close and the lady there asked me if I had tried to wash the hives off. I mean, I had washed my hands a few times but obviously the hives had not gone anywhere because they were attached to my skin. Hives aren’t something akin to dirt. You can’t just wash them off. And if I’m being completely honest it did give me a little bit of pause that the only lady available to me in my moment of need was someone who thought I could wash the hives off my hands with sulphur water but whatever, I was desperate. Anyway I took some Icelandic antihistamine and they cleared up. Hooray!

But the relief was short lived. Dun dun DUUUUUUN.

Over the past 4 weeks I have broken out in hives at least a dozen times. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I can’t seem to identify any common factors. (Except for the fact that I am certain I am dying a slow and itchy death.) I haven’t changed my diet, detergent or lotion. I am beginning to think that perhaps breaking out in hives, as opposed to always getting shat on by animals in trees, is my real superhero power. Wouldn’t that be a gas? But of course as I was formulating that hypothesis I realized that I had put my cell phone down in a fresh pile of bird shit so, you know. That theory is still up for debate. It’s almost as if my other superhero power, my actual proven power, was feeling the pressure of being ousted from its position in my life and was like

Nah, I gotchu. Just put your cell phone down right…..there. That’s right, girl. See? We’re good.

I am not certain when I determined that my superhero power was actually an independent being with its own voice, personality and motives but I am just going to go with it.

So here is the thing: breaking out in hives really sucks. Like really, really. First off, they are super uncomfortable. They like morph my hands into a giant mosquito bite. Second, they look really gross. Third, they make me feel like I am this freak of a person because itchy red bumps just sprout up all over my hands and knees at random. Who wants to be friends with the girl with random itchy red bumps? No one, that’s who. And four, they are like a total mind fuck! It’s like, I know I am poisoning my body with something because my body is all,


And then I’m all like

Yeah, but how am I supposed to know what it is if you don’t use your words, body? Use. Your. Words.

But my body has no words. It only has horribly itchy red bumps.

So my favorite hive experience was this past Saturday when I was out for lunch with my friends Katie and Shannon. Katie, it just so happens, is a nurse. So when I met up with her I did a very similar thing as when I encountered the Icelandic pharmacist: I put my hands in front of her face and looked meaningfully between her and them. Katie looked a little worried and proclaimed

Oh! Hives!

because she knows shit. I told her I had taken some Claritin so I was pretty sure it was going to be better any minute. She looked doubtful and concerned. Over the next 45 minutes or so, my hands got progressively itchier. So itchy, in fact, that I kept sticking them in my armpits in hopes that somehow doing an imitation of Mary Katherine Gallagher would fix everything. It did not. This was the first time this approach has ever failed me. As we were sitting down to brunch it only got worse. I looked at my hands. What had started as small, itchy bumps on my knuckles had spread to the palms of my hands and the insides of my wrists. I have learned in my month of living the hive life that when the wrists go, certain doom follows. I panicked. I jumped off my seat and said, as dramatically as I could,

Order me a coffee! I need topical cream!

and rushed to the local pharmacy where the pharmacist did not ask me whether I had washed my hands but instead said that a trip to an allergist and perhaps some Benadryl was in order. This, of course, was in response to me practically breaking out in tears in front of her because I was so itchy and also freaking about randomly having horrible allergic reactions to an unknown source when all I was trying to do was have a Bloody Mary with my girlfriends on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t buy Benadryl because I had to bartend that night and it makes me super sleepy so instead I got this crazy topical cream which I now carry with me at all times like a weirdo. A hive producing weirdo.

So, anyway, I haven’t gotten any hives since Monday night so I am feeling pretty positive about things in general. And I have an appointment with a doctor today who helped me with my stomach problems in college by doing some shit with magnets. I feel like life is looking up, friends. I feel like although hives might be winning right now, I am going to make a late-in-the-game comeback. I am going to show them who is boss! I am going to say

Fuck you hives! You are not my superhero power!

and hopefully get shat on by a bird. Just to prove the point.

The Difficulties of Buying a Travel Guide

30 Dec

I am going to Puerto Rico with my super awesome friend Dee this coming Sunday straight from work. Which means my flight is at 5:30am. I would just like to comment on the fact that I always book flights stupid early and I always, always, ALWAYS regret doing it. One of the times I did this I ended up sleeping on a marble slab in the Cancun Airport and the only way I managed to get the small amount of sleep in that I did was because I did not, at that point, know that the Cancun Airport is infested with cockroaches the size of New York City rats. Seriously they are fucking huge. If I had known they were there everything would have been different. And I mean everything.

Anyway, in anticipation of my trip I walked up to the bookstore to buy a Lonely Planet guide for Puerto Rico. I know, I know, we totally have phones for that but I still like to hold on to those days before smart phones and WiFi when I had to rely on guide books and really poorly drawn and labeled maps. I suck at maps and would always end up hopelessly lost but then something super fun and awesome would happen and it would be worth it. So I still buy the books. I don’t care that they are overpriced and non-returnable. All of that aside I found myself standing in the travel section at the book store and had the following questions:

Where do I even look for Puerto Rico? Will it be in the international or domestic travel section?!

Puerto Rico is not a state but it is an unincorporated US territory. Puerto Ricans are not able to vote in US elections but they do pay federal taxes to the United States government. So in my mind Puerto Rico is pretty much the same thing as Washington DC only with more beaches and less lawyers and Washington DC is definitely in the domestic section. So I looked in the domestic section. (This is actually how this all went down, by the way.)

In case you haven’t visited it recently, the travel section at the bookstore is very confusing. For me, anyway. In grade school, using the magic of music, I learned all about organizing library books (and, by extension, books in the bookstore) and how there are different rules for different types of books. We sang songs. We marched around. Here is an excerpt from the song about nonfiction books:

Nonfiction books
Are books that are so true!
They’re on the shelves in number or…
Number oooooor-derrrrrrr

And here is the one about biographies:

It’s a real story!
About real people!

We never had a song about travel guides though. I’ve had to learn this one on my own. So the way that they do travel guides, I have found, sort of depends on what bookstore you go to. Mostly it depends on how much people care about keeping it organized. The travel section is always getting all sorts of fucked up. I blame the wanderers who spend time leafing through the books. So in the domestic section the books are organized alphabetically by state, and then under the state the big cities are also organized alphabetically. So if you are looking for New Orleans you would look under L for Louisiana and not under N for New Orleans. Sometimes. Sometimes things are also organized by region. I don’t know, it’s weird and confusing. The international section is generally easier, as long as you stay away from Europe. The Europe section is all fucked up also because a lot of Americans go to Europe and so there are all kinds of country groupings, and regional groupings, and books about specific areas within certain small countries (France and Italy have a lot of little mini-books for more specific travel). Other areas of the world that seem less relevant to the majority of American travelers are not nearly so broken up and so are easier to find in the alphabatized world of travel books. So, for example,  it’s hard to buy a book called ALL OF EUROPE but you can get a book called ALL OF SOUTHEAST ASIA AND ALSO A FEW OTHER PLACES. It is located under A. For ALL OF.

As it turns out Puerto Rico was in the international section. The travel section was all like

Fuck you Puerto Rico you are not a real state.

But the thing that was crazy about it was that right near Puerto Rico, in the same international section, were all the books on Hawaii. Now that threw me for a little bit of a loop because last time I checked Hawaii was, in fact, a state with a star on the flag and everything. Also voting rights. So then I thought to myself,

Self, maybe the staff at Barnes and Noble only considers the contiguous United States to be domestic.

I mean, that is absolutely incorrect but I suppose I could see a small amount of logic in there? Maybe? So I looked around in the international section for Alaska. Alaska is not part of the contiguous United States. Alaska was also not in the international section. It was domestic. There goes that theory. So then I figured perhaps they only considered the continental United States, which is the lower 48 plus Alaska, to be domestic. Still inaccurate, by the way, but whatever. Which also brings me to wonder about why we call the contiguous United States the lower 48 when Hawaii is also lower, geographically, than Alaska. It should actually be the lower 49, if we are being specific. But perhaps that labeling came about before August 21, 1959 when Hawaii officially became a state and we just never stopped saying it.

So then I thought maybe the staff of Barnes and Noble just decided that the United States is not a country that brings to mind islands and so anything that is an island — Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam — is obviously not part of the actual country and therefore should be located in the international travel section. And besides, Hawaii is not in the Americas but instead in Oceania which sounds like somewhere you would need a passport to visit. Also it doesn’t follow daylight savings time although neither do parts of Indiana and Indiana is squarely located in the domestic section…I mean, it would be…I think…if there was a travel guide written about it.  Maybe it’s the volcano that does it? Or the fact that Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian.

Hold on a second!

Puerto Rico also has two official languages! English and Spanish! Or, more accurately, Spanish and English.

And then it dawned on me! Obviously the person who organizes the travel section is a linguist and made the domestic/international call based entirely on whether or not a place has more than one official language! Or, on the shittier end, maybe the person is not a linguist and is, in fact, one of those fucked up “English-only” people who doesn’t believe anyone should officially speak anything other than English in the United States, or its territories, and therefore places that do not abide by that rule must be relegated to the international section with the rest of the fascists and their subpar, fascist languages. (Have you noticed that closed-minded people are always throwing accusations of fascism around? I have.)

I think I might write a letter.

Photography, Random Run-ins, and Cousin Cookie

6 Nov

Back in 2003, I, along with 22 other intrepid students, went on a year long expedition around the world, learning about politics, economics, ecology, feminism, and all sorts of other things. More than anything, though, I would say that we learned how to be proper human beings. We learned what it meant to go into other people’s countries, other peoples homes, and understand that we were guests there. We had to learn to suspend our own cultural norms in an effort to try and fit, as best we could, into our new and extremely different surroundings. This proved easier in some situations – Cambridge, England, for example, where our biggest concern was remembering that in England the word “pants” is actually synonymous to the American “underwear” – than in, say, Zanzibar, Tanzania, where in incredibly hot temperatures we kept our heads, shoulders and knees covered in an attempt to be respectful towards the majority Muslim population there.* I’m sure that as a group of 22 American, and one super awesome Bulgarian, students traveling through England, Tanzania, India, New Zealand and Mexico we unintentionally offended some people but the point is that we tried. We asked questions of our hosts and attempted to understand local norms and customs as best we could so as to represent ourselves, and our countries, to the best of our abilities. Overall I think we did a pretty good job.

One of the things that we learned about, and something that I have kept with me ever since, involved photography. We were taught that in certain cultures, people believe that when their photograph is taken, a piece of their soul is taken with it. Whether or not we believe this to be the case, it is important to respect the beliefs of those around you and so we were taught to always, always ask permission before photographing anyone. Consent is key. It might mean that sometimes you don’t quite get the photo that you hoped, but who the hell cares, really. There is something sort of fucked up about taking photographs of people without asking them first, especially when we are surrounded by those who have lived incredibly different lives than us. To me, it reeks of voyeurism. I know that when I have been traveling and have caught people taking photographs of me I have felt somewhat dehumanized. These people don’t know me, don’t know my name, where I am from, what I am about, and yet they want to capture this image of me and what? Show their friends? It’s this idea that an image of me could be in someone else’s home and I could have no idea that always makes me think twice about snapping a photo of someone I don’t know, someone who didn’t consent to it. The idea that a part of our soul is taken every time that flash goes off starts hitting a little closer to home.

Let’s maybe take this down a notch in seriousness, largely because I haven’t had enough coffee yet and this is making my brain hurt. So in New York City you come to find that the longer you live here, the smaller and smaller this town becomes. Partially that is because as we live here longer, our personal map of the city changes. There are certain parts of the city that we know nothing about  – for me it’s just about everything above 34th street and most of North Brooklyn – and then other parts where we can practically dictate the store fronts in order. The city just becomes smaller and the more we circulate within the territory of our truncated maps, the more people we end up seeing until the point when you go to the grocery store and run into about 12 people on the way home, all the while Toffuti Cuties are melting in your environmentally conscious shopping bag. In your own neighborhood, and especially when you are a neighborhood bartender, this is pretty normal. But it is always super fun and exciting when you run into people randomly in other parts of the city that you rarely frequent. Like that time I ran into some girls I went to high school with on the 6 platform in Manhattan, or the time my mom came to visit and we saw her massage therapist, who works in New Jersey, on University Place. I mean, really, what are the odds?! And every time this happens I think to myself

“Self, mere seconds in either direction, one different decision, one missed or caught light, and I never would have run into that person.”

And then I start thinking about all the people that I probably just barely miss. And then I think about how if my life were a sitcom, which I sometimes like to think it is, the audience would be like

“No! Turn on that street! That guy that you made out with in college is walking this way and it might be a love connection!!!”

And then would come the sad, prerecorded


when I proceeded on course and missed what could have been the love of my life. Or some other bullshit. Anyway, back to photographs. So on a similar theme, have you ever thought about how many times you might be in other people’s photos? Like, just walking along and you get in the background of some group picture or something? Now, this is something I think about a lot, like, how weird would it be to go to someone’s house and look at an awesome family photograph on their mantel and then see yourself casually walking through the background? Mind blown, right? I mean, you could be on someone’s mantel right now! And not even know it! And they might notice you one day and be like,

“Huh, I wonder where that person was going on this day that is forever remembered as the day that Cousin Cookie drank too many pickle back shots and hasn’t been able to look at cucumbers the same way since.”

I don’t know, it’s just a thing I think about it. There was a This American Life on it a few years back but I was thinking about this long before I heard that episode. It just made me realize that other people think about it too and maybe, just maybe, some of you, dear readers, also think about it.

So this post totally just went on a really weird adventure from the ethics of photography to random run-ins and Cousin Cookie. Funny thing is that I was going to write about this weird thing that happened at work the other day and see what you guys all thought about it but now I have already written over a thousand words so it doesn’t seem the best time to ask you to read much more. So, that’s a post for next time. I guess just remember this: ask permission to take other people’s photos otherwise you might end up on the mantel of some family in the midwest that gives each other nicknames based off their favorite snack foods.

* I know that’s not that difficult but I haven’t had enough coffee yet so it’s all I could think of. Also, there were some people on vacation there wearing short shorts and tube tops and it was really, really inappropriate. Like, wildly.

I Want to Be Friends with the Person Who Runs the Jet Blue Twitter Account

4 Feb

I figure that since my blog is sort of blowing up thanks to a rather, um, unkind message I got on an old blog post, that I would take advantage of the situation to share with some of you readers, both new and old, a bit about the minutiae of my day.  So come along!

Tomorrow I am going to New Orleans.  Well, let me reword that.  Tomorrow I am supposed to go to New Orleans.  For those of you who don’t live on the East Coast and/or don’t program the location of some far flung friends into your phone so you can obsessively check their weather and alternate between intense jealousy and a sort of self-righteous belief that you made the superior geographic life decisions, there is a storm a’coming.  But didn’t the we just have a storm, you might ask?  Yes, yes we did.  It was yesterday.  Starting this evening we are supposed to have a sleet and snow extravaganza.  I decided that, given the forecast, I should probably go on the Jet Blue website and check the status of my flight.



So I poked around the website and since at that point I had not received any information about how I might get to New Orleans as soon as possible, I decided to call them up.  I was informed by the prerecorded lady that it was going to be at least a 30 minute wait.

Damnit again.

So I did what any other reasonable person who lives in this technological world but is also tied to the phone and its accompanying hold music:  I took to Twitter.  What happened amused the hell out of me and made me come to the following three conclusions:  (1) Twitter is an incredible source of entertainment; (2) I want to become friends with the person who runs the Jet Blue Twitter account because that person is hilarious; and (3) I will make even more of an effort to fly Jet Blue because clearly they know a little something about staffing.  Like I always say (or, well, like I am going to start saying now): make me laugh and you’ve got a customer for life.  So this is what went down:

@franklyrebekah (that’s me!): Stuck on hold with @JetBlue.  Seriously, “The Power of Love?” Please do something about this hold music.
@franklyrebekah: AND now it’s Benny and the Jets.  Talk about instant gratification. Thanks @JetBlue #onhold #sobored #canceledflights #travel

(At this point my old high school friend, Seth, asked if it was Huey Lewis, Marty McFly, or Jimi Hendrix.  Unfortunately, it was Celine Dion.  I hashtagged that my ears were bleeding)

@JetBlue: @franklyrebekah Sorry about that one…
@JetBlue: @franklyrebekah… but we’re glad it got better so quickly! Thanks for hanging in there.  Someone will be with you as soon as possible.

Anyway, blah blah blah, then I told them that I talked to someone and she was really nice.  Then they told me to send along my confirmation number and they would pass the compliment along.  Then I admitted that I don’t understand how to use Twitter properly.  Then they managed to not mock me.  Also they sent funny hashtags like #NoMoreHoldMusic and, in regards to my flight actually taking off on Thursday AM (I got on a new one!) #FingersCrossed #ToesToo.

You know, this all seemed a lot funnier when it was actually happening.  But I guess here is the actual thing.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that on the other side of the computer is a real person.  I guess it was a nice thing to know that I (potentially) amused the person in charge of the Jet Blue Twitter account and that they, in turn, decided to amuse me right back.  In a world overrun by anonymity, it is nice to know that there are people out there that, even though they are anonymous in that they are the voice of a company and have to represent and promote a specific image and message, they still find the space to express a little good humor.  Also, and this is sort of an unrelated lesson that I learned this week, we should always assume that the person we are talking about online could potentially read the words that we type.  So we should be aware of whose feelings might get hurt and decide whether or not we care.  I know that, going forward, I will continue to write my posts with my opinions and observations and I will continue to put my name on it, but I will take a step back and really think about the impact my words might have on the person I am discussing.  With some people, honestly, I could give a shit.  But there are some who I don’t think I have necessarily been fair to.  So, I will work on that.

Anyway, thanks to the person who is in charge of the Jet Blue Twitter account for amusing me in the midst of an otherwise disappointing situation.  Keeping my fingers crossed for a Thursday departure.  New Orleans, here I come.

Today in Ridiculous: New Bill to End Flight Delays!

26 Apr

Hear ye! Hear ye! Read all about it!  Today, the day before the Senate leaves town for a week, they did the unthinkable: they passed a bill.  Unanimously.  What did they pass, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  As the title of this blog suggests, they passed a new bill to end flight delays.  Oh, thank god.  Seriously, you guys, that is like the most pressing issue I could possibly imagine.  On time flights for all!

Okay so listen.  There was this one time when I was going to visit my extra-super-awesome friend Meredith in Portland, Oregon in like, I don’t know, 2008?  So long ago.  I had been working at a restaurant in the West Village where my schedule was as follows: Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights 6pm-2am or later if needed, Sunday, Monday nights 4pm-12am, or later if needed, and Tuesday lunch, 10:30am to 4pm.  At the same time I was training for a marathon and had speed workouts on Wednesday nights and long training runs on Saturday mornings.  Needless to say I had very little “me” time.  I was very excited for my 4-day Portland adventure, which I had scheduled months in advance.  The day of the trip I traveled, by subway, to JFK to catch my nonstop flight to Portland.  Upon arrival, I was informed that my flight had been cancelled due to “lack of crew.”  Um, what? Instead, they flew me to Washington, DC to catch a connecting flight to Portland.  Fine.  When I arrived in DC they told me there was no flight to Portland, so I would have to spend the night in DC, fly to Chicago the next day and then on to Portland from there.  I would arrived at 4pm on Saturday, about 32 hours after I walked out the front door of my apartment building in Brooklyn.  Not going to work.  I asked the lady if I could just fly back to New York and change my trip.  No, because, somehow, flying to DC because the company had fucked up and then, as a result, flying back to New York would have used up the tickets I bought plus my free ticket and so I would have basically just flown to and from DC just for fun.*  Finally, after much attitude on the part of me, she got me on a flight to San Francisco for that night. I would then spend the night in San Fran at the airline’s expense, and then fly on to Portland the next morning. I would arrive there at 10am.  Twenty-six hours after leaving my house.  I took it, but not after I gave the lady a piece of my mind which resulted in me getting escorted out of the line by security.  It was not my finest moment.

Anyway, that whole experience sucked.  (The trip to Portland was, as expected, so great! I want to go back!  Meredith, when can I come back?!) Anyway, so I get it, flight delays are awful.  But seriously?  THIS is the thing we are so excited about?  That the Senate managed to pass a bill to “ease impacts of cuts on air traffic?”  Okay, so let me just give you a couple of really fun little quotes from this article I read in, where else, The New York Times.**

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said “I am so happy that we were able to work together across the aisle in a bipartisan way to solve this problem.  It’s nice to know when we work together we can really solve problems.”

I just have to say that I am pretty sure that I learned the lesson of working together in like, kindergarten, but some people just take a little longer.  Also, I would just like to say that cuts to air traffic control that results in flight delays certainly results in inconveniences but I would hardly call this a problem.  Problems, to me, are cuts to education, to social security, to infrastructure development and maintenance.  You know, stuff like that.  But what do I know.

And Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, had these words: “At some point, we have to admit the best thing is to find another $2 trillion in debt reduction by looking at revenue, closing some loopholes and bringing down the debt with some spending cuts, but not ones like this.”

Oh, no, not cuts like that!  Never cuts like that!  I mean, cuts to air traffic control is totally insane and I can’t believe we ever in a million years thought about doing it, let alone actually did it.  I know!  Let’s take money from other parts of the transportation budget and just, you know, move it to air traffic.  Like, let’s not invest in high speed rail.  That was a dumb idea, anyway.***

Then there’s this. Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of “mismanagement of the cuts, at best and intentional infliction of pain at worst” (emphasis mine).  And then also, this: “Republicans — and some Democrats — have been pushing for much of the month for a rescue of the air traffic control system, charging that President Obama was intentionally extracting maximum pain on the traveling public to illustrate the costs of the cuts, called sequestration.”

I know that last paragraph is redundant but I feel like if The Times can have both those sentences in one article, so can I.  Anyway, here’s the thing.  Maybe the Senate wants to prove to the American public that, after the debacle involving the failure of the background check bill which 90% of the population supported yet still couldn’t get through the Senate because Senators are “doing what their constituents want” (!!!!!) that it can actually accomplish something.  Well done, Senate, you get a gold star.  But give me a break.  I mean, sure, when I fly I want on-time departure and on-time arrival.  I think we all do.  But let’s not act as though we are solving some huge, life-shaking issue.  Let’s not be so sensationalist that we start talking about how Obama is intentionally fucking with your life, travelers, to show you that spending cuts suck. What this is to me is the whining of a bunch of people in the leisure class who are pissed that their lives are inconvenienced by something that they themselves pushed for.  They wanted spending cuts, they just didn’t want it to impact them.  So why don’t we go ahead and solve this problem and let all our spending cuts occur on the backs of the poor.  So carry on, travel class!  We’ll get this economy back on track but don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.

*I was young and stupid back then and didn’t know the full potential of letter writing.  If this happened today, I would write the shit out of some letters (and, obviously, post them here).

**I know it might not seem like it but I do, in fact, read things other than The Times.  I read The New Yorker.  Also, books.  Also, all of the comments written on that grumpy cat internet meme.  I want that cat.

***I don’t know that this is where the money is actually coming from but I am feeling especially snarky this morning so, whatever.