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Back on a Plane

Mar 15

In Rants, Thoughts, Travels at 9:59am

Back on a plane. This time through Atlanta to Albuquerque. Gonna teach my lighting workshop at Santa Fe, which I always look forward to. More on that tk.

Early morning rush at the Delta terminal in Laguardia and I’m shuffling towards security, my pants down at my ankles, holding a tray of meager possessions. Only thing missing is some split rail fence, the pungent smell of cow flop, and the occasional moo.

In the background I’m hearing the drone of the TSA lady. “Please keep moving. Walk forward. Please keep moving.” Superfluous advice, no? I mean, of course I’m going to keep moving. What do they think I’m gonna do? Riverdance?

Actually, the TSA has gotten much better to deal with. They have it as streamlined as it’s gonna get, I think. They are certainly working on being a bit more friendly. Guy who checked my ID today was genuinely decent about it, so, you know, I’m inclined to be pleasant back. We bantered a bit, and I thought, he’s a hard working guy, probably got up even earlier than I did, and he’s out here getting his ass kicked just like I am. So there you go.



The best was yet to come, though. Got onto a way overstuffed jet to Georgia, I mean packed. We’re talking pickled herring back there. Overheads are spilling stuff everywhere, and we’re trying to get outta Dodge and the flight staff is urging everybody to move out of the aisles so we can shut the door.

So there’s this lady. She is one of the last people on board. Bling city. Bandana in the hair, Hollywood sunglasses, hubcaps for earrings, pink bra, with some sort of tied up piece of material that I guess serves as a shirt but leaves her back pretty naked, a burp blanket over her shoulder, a 4 month old baby, and a carry on the size of your average Midwestern city. She’s got two flight attendants in tow, one of whom is carrying her baby, and the other is trying to sort out what to do with the bag. They are probably just as exasperated with this passenger as everybody else, but for now, they are hewing to the path of sisterhood and trying to help her out.

I mean, if I had tried to get on at that moment with that size bag, they would have hand checked it immediately and, as soon as it was out of sight, switched the destination tag to Duluth, just to teach me a lesson.



But, you know, there might be formula or diapers in there with the rest of the jewelry and lipsticks, so they encourage her to disassemble it and stick various small pieces in a variety of overheads. Everything that comes out of this bag was incredibly colorful. There was a hot pink purse with gold corners, a Betty Boop backpack (not kidding), multi colored scarves, you name it. I’m watching this and thinking, shit, the circus in town?

She’s breaking this thing down like a Russian matryoshka doll, and bending over and bending over and then standing upright to reach the overheads repeatedly. I feel like I’m watching an accelerated version of the “bend and snap.”
And then, of course there’s the thong. She’s got low slung, painted on jeans and she is standing in the aisle next to my seat putting stuff in the opposite overhead which means of course I am eyeball height and inches away from the old butt crack. Talk about fill the frame.

And there it is! Again and again! Peek-a-bootie! She certainly didn’t look like a plumber! There was this little swatch of material supported by 3 strands of floss. Good thing I didn’t have anything stuck in my teeth, but that would have been too forward on my part, I imagine. Geez Louise. Thankfully my eyes don’t focus that fast, that close too well anymore.

And of course I find this funny and just start giggling like an idiot and the flight attendant leveled me with a look that said, “One word outta you and I call the air marshal.” She was stressing pretty bad with this passenger.



Ahh, the ongoing adventure of the skies!

Back to basics in the next few blogs…got some lighting stuff etc. Enough of this levity!

Debbie Hartmann says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:12 am

Thanks for the Saturday morning laugh! Your story totally cracked me up!

Tom says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:12 am

lol! Your adventures parallel mine in far too many ways.

Billy Mitchell says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:17 am

I went through the metal detectors once with my hands over my head and they guy said I looked like I was trying to hide something. Go figure!!

Cynthia Sobkowich says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:26 am

LOL – Joe – you are just so funny. My eyes have the same problem and sometimes its a blessing.

At least you missed the tornado in Atlanta!

Love your book – learning a lot.


Michael Sebastian says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:37 am

Great post Joe. Enough to make one hope for a fellow passenger with a briefcase full of C-4.

You know it’s bad when one’s dirty-old-man impulses (I’m 45) are, uh, wilted by the stress of travel. Only thing better would be if they sat right behind you, and the poor kid’s underdeveloped eustacean tubes subjected the entire steerage section to piercing screams of agony for the whole ride to ATL.

I’m surprised, as much as you fly, that you haven’t signed up for the preferred flyer ID or whatever it is the TSA offers–y’know, where you do the background check thing and pay a fee and they speed you up a bit. Or maybe you did, and it ain’t worth sh–.

Love the book, love your work.

Barrie says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:45 am

OMG – that’s a hysterical story! Thanks for the morning laugh. Don’t you just love flying? It’s even better than the bus sometimes.

John says:

on March 15, 2008 at 10:49 am

Wow. Delta still serves snacks? Who knew?

Rick says:

on March 15, 2008 at 11:18 am

Breakfast? Airline food blows… Entrainment is always good!

Agos says:

on March 15, 2008 at 12:01 pm

ROTFL, you cracked me up! 😀
It takes a man to whitstand a situation like that with a smile… 😉

George says:

on March 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Joe … branching out into a second career as comedian? Hilarious.

Libby says:

on March 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Thanks for the Saturday laughs! Unfortunately, airline travel just isn’t fun anymore – but it’s far better to turn it into a laugh-out-loud blog entry than to whine, that’s for sure!

Mariano Kamp says:

on March 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm

>> Back to basics in the next few blogs…got some lighting stuff etc. Enough of this levity!
Please don’t. Keep this stuff coming instead 😉

Btw. Clicks, fantastic book. Read it twice by now. I hope it’s ok I only paid once?!

Ross Goodman says:

on March 15, 2008 at 9:36 pm

That reminds me of what happened to me neice last year she was visiting from London and was delivering my mother-in-law’s hat for a family wedding. When she got to the plane, was confronted by the “1 piece of hand bagagge” rule.
Result she put her ban in the overhead and wore the wedding hat!
Apparently it didn’t really go with her jeans but everyone and everything arrived safely.


Harry says:

on March 16, 2008 at 10:23 am


You’re telling us about, “…low slung, painted on jeans…” and all we get is a picture of your Breakfast and Lunch? Dude! Wasn’t that, “The Moment It Clicks”? Then again maybe you spared us.
Seriously. This blog is great…you should really go back and do a column at “The Daily News”. You are way better than Dave Barry and you can shoot too.

Valerie says:

on March 16, 2008 at 10:32 am

Joe your blog is always so entertaining! Loved the book and love your work!

I say that woman was from either LA, Miami, Houston! I think that get-up is standard issue from the wanna-be-fab club. Unfortunately it only comes in one size and I live in a city which holds the title “fattest city in America” (aka Houston)! There is now no such thing as a “family friendly” venue! I feel sorry for the kid!

Chad Phillips says:

on March 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Glad to see the powerbook is being used as a multi-purpose tool! Why is it that certain people like to get all dolled up for a plane flight? Never understood that.

E. Collins says:

on March 17, 2008 at 4:31 am

Great levity to an otherwise monotonous event….

Kelly says:

on March 17, 2008 at 9:23 am

Joe you just crack me up…..I just love your sense of humor. Its refreshing!
Oh and btw I love your book too!

Steve says:

on March 17, 2008 at 9:34 am

Levity is always welcome, that’s part of what makes your book and site so great.

Tim Vailoces says:

on March 17, 2008 at 10:31 am

I had to recheck the address of the website i thought I was on Drew Carey’s site. I had to this while tears of laughter were running down the side of my cheeks. You are one funny guy Joe Mcnally!!!!

Dennis Hoover says:

on March 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Joe, you just bust me up……But no photo of said Lady!?
Keep the laughs coming.

Susan says:

on March 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm

I am crying here laughing over this…I will be flying for the first time in a long time in May and I can only hope to have as much entertainment!

Kingsley says:

on March 18, 2008 at 6:34 am

LOL – I’m with Dennis…. no photo of the lady!!!!


Scott says:

on March 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm

That ka-ka is mucho ha-ha.

Ray says:

on September 20, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Thanks, it was funny AND painful to read.

dating advice for men says:

on December 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm

I think that KaKA is the best player in the world

Alethea Drake says:

on March 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm

I have to say, every time I come to Back on a Plane | Joe McNally’s Blog you have another remarkable post up to read. One of my friends was talking to me about this topic a few weeks ago, so I think I’ll e-mail my friend the url here and see what they say.

David Begum says:

on December 4, 2010 at 4:16 am

i am afraid of travelling by plane by i might just get an airline travel when i go to europe this month ‘:*

Carver says:

on September 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

I’m very pleased with the articles on your website. I receive a lot of tips which helped me to.

Judith Jones says:

on May 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm

In fact your imaginative writing capabilities has inspired me to begin my own blog now.

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