Sam Grittner:
My phone just auto-corrected “I’m not trying to be a dick” into “I’m not trying to be a duck.” Even when my phone is wrong it’s right.

Kattni in reply to ?

@SamGrittner Ouch. My phone ducks fuck. But at least it keeps its hands off dick.

The most amazing fireworks I’ve ever seen.

Torello is a small village down the mountain from Ravello on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Every third Sunday in September, there is a reconstruction of the first invasion of Pisani. The Virgin Mary is paraded around the village and the festivities begin when she reaches the central cathedral. All the houses of the hamlet are illuminated by lights that change colour and a massive fireworks display to represent the sequence of the four historical events: the battle, the fire, the pillage until the defeat and the driving out of the Pisani.

This is only a small part of it, ending with the fire.

Queue up and wait.

This one I’ll never get. Everyone will get on the plane. They’ll spend 10 minutes calling your name over even after everyone but you has boarded, before they close the door. And yet as soon as they call general boarding, everyone lines up and waits.

Even better is getting on the plane first. Now you get to sit in a hot space with no moving air while everyone else shuffles past you to get into their seats. No real air movement until the plane starts up. Not to mention the inevitable guy who packs tangible body odor as his personal item.

I do have to say they’ve at least started to address it with group boarding. Divide the plane into groups, board the back first. Less people sitting while everyone walks by. You’re still stuck on the plane for a bit if you’re sitting in the back.

Even then everyone queues up. There’s a huge mob around waiting for their group to be called.

Everyone will get on the plane. Seriously. Relax.

On my way to Italy, a la Paris.

The flight out of Chicago was delayed. We were eventually informed that one piece of luggage needed to be removed from the belly of the plan because it’s passenger had not boarded. “They’re looking for, they have to find where it is, well, they know where it is, they just need to find it…” We took off an hour late.

Inflight feature film was something with Queen Latifa. I didn’t bother with the headphones but glanced at it every so often. It went as such: Queen meets man, man falls for hot chick, Queen is the nice reliable friend, hot chick turns out to be a bitch, man moves slowly in on Queen, they perform the nasty, hot bitch comes back, man goes back to her, man realises that he’s happier with Queen, ends up with her. Curtain. Part of my capability to figure it all out is that I have rudimentary capabilities to read lips. The other part is, that’s the template for nearly every Queen Latifa movie.

We landed about 20 minutes late. Which will never cease to entertain me. Why do they say the flight will take 8 hours, leave 2 hours late, and still get to the destination in 6.5 hours. If you could have done that in the first place, why not just do it. It’s probably like express vs. ground shipping. All the boxes could be at destination immediately, they just leave the ground ones around for posterity.

I called aisleses way early on. No backsies.

We sat in a bulkhead row which meant a few things, good and bad. Crucial: The seats recline. Good: It is the divider between cabins, so there are no seats in front of you, meaning more leg room. Bad: No seat under which to stow your personal item. So everything has to be put overhead. Bad: The trays fold out of the arm wrest and are nothing to write home about. Good and super-spy: There’s a tiny compartment at floor level just across the aisle that fit all of my carry-on needs. I kept that quiet.

I sat on the right on an aisle, my mum in the middle, and on the left at aisle was our new Friend For Flight, Patty. She was definitely interesting. She talked a lot. Initially when we sat down I thought maybe choosing the aisle wasn’t the best option because I had to lean over my mum to talk, and mostly it ended up being the two of them. As time went on, I realised sitting one seat away from her was a godsend. She never stopped talking. She is a resort bartender from northern Wisconsin who was asked by an older gentleman to come with him as a companion on a trip to Europe. As the flight went on it was clear she was looking for some reassurance as to the real purpose of the trip. And she wasn’t to sure about being on a transatlantic flight either. I was more glad than ever for the sleep mask I brought. If that doesn’t say, “I don’t want to talk,” nothing does.

Mum says pack everything up. We don’t leave for another half hour, but she gets anxious about being ready to go. Insert some phrase about choosing your battles, or let the small things slide… I can’t remember what the phrase is. Anyway this event isn’t worth it. So pack up I shall.

Again With The Italy, or What’s All This Then?

The power of circumstance has landed me in Italy again this year. Twenty-four days to last year’s ten. This is officially the longest trip on which I have ever embarked.

The clouds outside look like bubbling geysers of whipped cream.

I realise that I start almost all of these adventure posts with cloud comments. Turns out there’s not much else to look at from an aisle seat on a puddle jumper.

I need to learn the names of all of the cloud formations. Not because it’s crucial information, but because it sounds pretentious. Which is always useful.

Again with the tiny plane. My mum adores flying out of Flint Bishop International Airport. Granted the entire thing would fit in a school gymnasium, and there’s only 10 gates, three of which go out the same downstairs door directly to the tarmac, but it means double the ear pain in a short amount of time. Then do it again. Most of these flights don’t even have a cruising altitude. It’s just a bell curve with the outliers being my total flight time percentage of ear pain.

This ink looks green. It’s bright outside and my vision can’t adjust quick enough after looking outside.

A man in front of me has an enormous bald spot with a pitiful and scattered attempt at a combover. One single hair in the dead center of the top of his head is sticking straight up.

Time zones make flying interesting. Our first leg took off at 12h20 and landed at 12h25.

I was led to believe there was only one restaurant at Chicago O’Hare, and a mediocre one at that. I do not support the prospect of sitting 8+ hours on a plane with mediocre airport food sitting in a lump at the bottom of my stomach. So, I packed sandwich materials – turkey, swiss cheese, bread. Also carrot sticks. Nyah, airport food, take that.

There was however a problem, and a potentially detrimental one at that. They considered my lunch bag to be my “personal item” and gate-checked my backpack. With my 2000$ camera. And a month’s worth of crucial medication. I asked if they could guarantee that it would not be lost. “Oh, no. They never get lost. Well.. Maybe once a year.” And will it get squished? “Not usually.” Neither were entirely confidence inspiring. I asked the guy who took it from me at the gate to be careful with it. He said he would. I am not entirely sure it’s up to him in the end.

Pitiful Combover evidently does not understand the meaning of “seats and tray tables in the upright and locked position”. I am currently still squished. Best part is, he pressed the button on the seat, leaned forward, then sat back before releasing the button. So worse, I suppose, than not understanding. He just doesn’t know how to operate the seat.

It just occurred to me that there are no screaming children on this flight. And we’re already descending so I can’t jinx myself.

Gusty winds. 66 degrees. Turbulence. Ear pain. Not much longer. Then sandwich time.