Airline Travel and The Two-Month Catchup

“I’m bringin’ sexy back
Them other boys they don’t know how to act
I think it’s special… what’s behind your back
So turn around and and I’ll pick up the slack.”

-Justin Timberlake, Sexyback

Airline travel is no fun anymore. Remember when you were growing up and going on a plane trip was actually fun? Now, it’s a major pain in the ass in every way possible. What began as major security measures after 9/11 have now turned a once pleasurable experience into a mind-numbing ordeal.

I once heard a train of thought that basically intimated that ‘the terrorists had won’ because of the hoops people have to go through to fly and the overall fear they helped instill in us all following 9/11. While I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, I think there is a little bit to that notion. Us Americans are constantly on the move, irritated by the slightest bit of waiting, hesitancy and being held up. Checking in, scanning through and getting on a plane is like sandpaper across our impatient asses. Now, imagine being able to irritate an entire culture by simply restricting their freedoms AND making them fear flying as a result? Sounds like a win-win for the bad guys, right? I don’t know if they planned it this way, but if so, they’ve succeeded. If you had told me a year ago that water would be restricted on airlines, I would have called you crazy. With restrictions about to get worse (it’s only a matter of time before laptops and other electronic devices like I-Pods are kyboshed from carry-ons), I can’t think of a less desirable travel option than to fly.

Other notes on flying (can you tell I recently flew?):

-Is there anything worse than kids screaming in airports? I was in Baltimore Thursday, awaiting a flight back to Manchester, and I thought I was a judge in a Crying Kids competition. You could FEEL the cringing from the people in line. This is what I have to look forward to? That’s why I always bring along an I-Pod, because the only thing worse are kids screaming inside the actual plane itself.

-Random Delay of The Trip: Waiting for a hour on the tarmac because a necessary light bulb had to be changed and five service calls to the mechanics went unanswered. The delay was longer than the actual flight itself (35 minutes). Unreal!

-Lonely Feeling Alert: Getting off the plane and seeing those people waiting for their loved ones, then realizing that there’s no one there for you. Say it with me: awwwwwwwwwwwww.

“I chime in with a ‘Haven’t you people ever heard of closing a goddamn door?’
No, it’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality.”

-Panic At The Disco, I Write Sins Not Tragedies

So what’s been going on this summer? Well, I’ll give you the same version I’ve been telling most people: a lot of work. After a few conversations this summer, I realized that I never really wrote about my promotion here. Long story short, I was promoted in March when my boss surprisingly left to go home to New York. I now oversee the creative aspects of the team from game presentation to advertising to market research to database to everything else I could possibly handle. It’s definitely been an interesting experience so far and one that I think is preparing me for (say it with me, 20-somethings) Whatever Comes Next.

Side note: Through plenty of convos over the years, I’ve found that most of us Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers are extremely non-committal when it comes to careers unless we recently moved into a specific genre. It’s something about keeping our options open that is a defining characteristic of our generation. Don’t believe me? Remember this when talking to your friends. You’d be surprised.

My summer journeys, as they always seem to do, provided me plenty of time to think about the past, current and future. A lot happened as I looked back upon the last few months: a few weddings, some births, holidays, a few Sox games, plenty of hangovers and the usual mixed bag of fun that comes with summer. One recurring stream kept flowing through my head at all of these different events: the importance of friends and family in life.

Side Note 2: As I was writing that last sentence, I thought, “Did I write the same exact thing last year?” Well, not quite, but….

“I’m still with the Monarchs, now promoted to Director of Ticket Sales and Market Development. No, I don’t get games off now and it will still be a lot of long hours during the winter. But I now get to take some trips to other cities to observe their product and see how it can apply to our own. Sometime last year, I became interested in the ad/creative agency world and I did some informational interviews this summer with firms to see if that was even a possibility. While I didn’t get completely dissuaded, I realize that I need some more experience in order to really make the leap. As a result, I discussed this all with the team higher-ups and instead of shutting the door on me, they opened up some new possibilities including the afore-mentioned trips, more say and input on creative design and taking over responsibility on our website which just got added on to the pile last week. It seems that every year, I always say, “This is going to be the last year…this is it” and it never happens. Why? Because the team continues to work with me and help me shape my future. So despite the stress and missing out on functions (the Brewfest date is killing me to miss), it’s still aiiight to like what you do.”

No matter how many people hate the idea of blogging, it’s f**kin’ amazing to see what your thought were a year ago. Oh hell, let’s go TWO YEARS back.

That leaves me here, typing away at 10:11 on a Sunday night in a light retrospective mood. I think what this summer has taught me is that it’s ok to look to the future and start thinking about what could be next, to not settle just because it’s the right formulaic thing to do and that moving on is just what it says – moving on. I could rattle off a bunch of cliches, but in the end, the conclusion is still the same.

To me, I’m at that stage that all of us find ourselves at, actually very similar to a poker match: make a bold move or stay pat. The roads and houses are littered with people who have chosen not to take a big risk and now regret their choices because of it. Others are happy with just staying in the stream and not hedging too much to the left or right, avoiding detection and not raising any red flags. Myself? I’m not any type of rebel and hardly could be considered as someone that lives life on the edge (like those who actually tell people they are. If you have to tell others that you’re extreme, you’re not. Go drink a Mountain Dew and litter or something.)

What I do want is to be noticed and start breaking out and that trip out West showed me that there’s a lot of places to head to. Am I taking a nomadic trip across the U.S.A. in search of the American holy grail? Hardly. What I am doing is taking the first mental and spiritual steps toward a decision that will happen, whether I want it to or not. And you know, I’m very ok with that.”

Now that is bizarre. Back to the original point, the past two years have really struck home how important having your family and friends are. Because when everything else goes away (your great career, your social standing, your fancy car, your 401k), your F and F’s is all you have. I think a lot of take being truly ‘happy’ for granted in exchange for ‘kinda happy, but it could be better.’ I’m still not sure where I fall on this, but in my recent air travels, I saw ‘That Business Guy.’ You know who I’m talking about: late 30’s/early 40’s with a moustache, polo shirt, a cell phone on their belt loop and a look that says, “I’m all about business, baby.” (After saying this, my hope is that you break out laughing next time you’re in the airport. I guarantee you’ll see this person at least 10 times.) I know that I don’t want to be THAT GUY, but I’m not sure where I’ll fall on that scale. I’m probably like everyone else, but I guess I like to write about it a bit more than others.

One thing that has stuck with me recently was a comment made from a Buddy of mine when on vacation last week. I was discussing a mixed martial arts class (yes, that is correct) that I may take. After telling him about this, he said. “That’s awesome, man. Can you do me a favor though? Can you follow through with it?”

Wow. Like Bryan Adams said, it cuts like a knife. A throwaway comment with no ill will has stuck with me for days, not in a bad way but in a ‘Holy shit…really?’ type of way. I continued to internalize this and have made a conscious decision to really follow up with what I say I’m going to do, starting with contacting that trainer and booking an appointment this week to check out the class. I hope I can keep it up, especially with a choice I made this weekend that I expect to pursue early next year. (I wish I could go into details, but it hasn’t progressed and/or developed to the right stage yet.) By the way, if I find myself at this same stage in September 2007, feel free to throw stingrays at me. Not fatal ones like what killed Croc Hunter Steve Irwin the other day, but just some that will sting a little.

“He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus
But he talks like a gentlemen
Like you imagined when you were young.”

-The Killers, When You Were Young

One of the great side-effects of taking a few months off is people asking, “When’s the blog coming back?” Well, three people, but who’s counting? Here’s a little preview of some subjects coming up:

-A trip around MySpace

-Battle of the Sexes (a much overdue piece)

-MTV: A 28-year-old’s view of an 18-year-old world

-The Nice Guy Syndrome…and a lot more!

Thanks for your support as Nason’s Blog goes into its third year of fun and frivolity. As always, tell your friends!

Thanks for reading,

p.s.: For any of you that have HBO, check out Dane Cook’s Vicious Circle show, the comedy concert he performed earlier this year in Boston. Two hours of funny shit….