I Hate Airports

I’m going to be honest, I wrote this post this morning. I had planned to write it last night, but after twelve hours of airplanes and airports I didn’t have the energy. I got home, unpacked, and then went to bed.

Thankfully, I knew exactly what I was going to write about. We talked about it the few times you caught me on one of my layovers, Daniel. I want to talk about why I hate airports.

#1 – They’re way too big

No this doesn’t apply to every airport. The airport I flew out of on Monday had only two gates so it was very easy to navigate. I guess what I really hate is that, when you have a layover, it’s ALWAYS in some big, sprawling, metro airport and your next gate is THREE MILES AWAY.

This is even more annoying when you consider how much junk I usually have to carry on the airplane with me. Checking bags is expensive and, more often than not, not that necessary. I literally spent three days away from home this week. I could easily fit everything I needed in one of my duffel bags, saving me money, but dooming me to lug ten pounds of junk with me as I walked all the way to my next gate.

Come on, people. Why can’t airlines just keep all their gates within a reasonable distance? I literally flew Alaska there and back and still had to take the tram in the Seattle airport to get to my next gate.

This is also annoying when you have a really short layover. I learned the hard way, specifically after having to run through the Minneapolis airport to catch my connection to Wisconsin, that you always want a minimum of an hour to navigate to the next gate. Yeah, a shorter layover means a quicker arrival, but you will take years off your life with all the stress of having to navigate the airport. Especially if it’s crowded, which leads to my next complaint…

#2 – The people are rude

I’m not sure why this happens, but people become so RUDE when they step into an airport. It’s like they completely forget there are other people around them and they’re sole focus is being first. It’s literally like the Hunger Games and I’m not going to pretend I’m not immune. I also become rude when I step into an airport, but that’s because everyone else is rude. Rudeness begets rudeness, I suppose.

One thing that absolutely drives me up the wall is when people stop in the middle of a walk way to look at the flight announcement boards. I get why they do it, but they need to let me know when they’re about to do it and move to the side of the walkway. I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly been knocked off balance because someone abruptly stops to check their flight gate. Dude, use a blinker or something.

#3 – Getting on and off the airplane is chaos

As you may remember, airplanes aren’t that big so getting on and off them is a pain in the butt. What specifically makes it awful is how, again, people completely forget their manners and just LINGER IN THE AISLE. Put your stuff in the overhead compartment and SIT DOWN.

Same for getting off the plane. Be ready to grab you stuff and move when it’s your turn. On my way down to California this year, a woman stood in the aisle and waited for everyone ahead of her to get off the airplane and THEN STARTED PULLING HER BAGS NOW. I nearly screeched in frustration. I already had my bag in hand and was ready to motor. She could’ve done the same thing.

Those are my three biggest complaints about airports. I have plenty more, like the cost of airport food or the bathrooms at airports, but I’ve covered the three most irksome in my opinion.

Sorry for posting this late, Daniel. I’m definitely in need of a nap after yesterday.



A Mathematicians Guide to Being a Better Person

You pull up to Barnes and Noble.  You check your makeup, because it’s Friday, and it’s gonna be crazy.  You start to head in and your friend follows your lead.  You both adjust your new reading glasses because they drive the tellers wild.

You get to the door first and hold it.  Following behind your friend is another kid about to get his party on.  You’re nice, so you patiently wait for him.

But it turns out he was a little further away then you thought, and you face the most unbearable situation.  The one where you don’t want to be rude, but now its awkward because you’re waiting, he’s coming slowly, and you try to avoid eye contact because “hot fucking damn is this awkward.”

I can solve this.  How long do you wait?  How long is too long?  Am I jerk for walking away if I already held the door for someone else?

One of my life philosophies I’ve developed in the last couple years is that I believe we are going to succeed or fail as a race.  This is a team game, and people aren’t playing with the other kids.

So for me, I break everything down into positives and negatives.  That’s it.  Every situation is built of positives and negatives, and if you add them up you can make better decisions.

Back to the situation.

For me?  If I’m casually walking I can open a door, pass through the threshold, have it close behind me, and begin walking again in maybe 4 seconds.

So when I’m about to get my party on at Barnes and Noble, I open that door and I break down the situation.  Each person could theoretically go through the door 4 seconds at a time.  But if I hold the door, it cuts off about 1 second of their time to get through.  If 1 person comes through while I’m holding it, we have my 4 seconds, and 3 seconds for the other person.  That’s a net gain of 1 second for humanity.  

But what if the dude’s slow and still a ways away?

It takes you 4 seconds to get through the door.  It’ll take him 4 seconds to get through the door.  For there to be any positives you need to have the total time be 7 seconds.  Here is the critical question: is he 3 seconds away?

Yes?  Then hold the door.  Net gain +1.

No?  Then you can walk in not feeling like a jerk because there was no net loss.  

If you hold the door for more than 4 seconds you are wasting your own time, and you count towards humanity.

New situation: rush hour traffic.

How come people can’t merge in traffic?  Because they only think about themselves, and they don’t look at the bigger picture.  If someone is maintaining their speed next to you on the gentle curve of the merging lane, you need to let them go in front of you.  Why?  Because on a triangle the hypotenuse is the longest side.  So if they are going as fast as you on the longer piece of road, they are going faster than you.  If you don’t let them in, you make them lose speed.  then they lose an amount of distance and time equal to how much you made them slow down and for how long.

If you are going faster, then you continue your speed because them pushing in front of you will cause you to lose speed, time, and distance.

But Daniel!  If I have to let them in, than I have to slow down!  I will lose time, distance, and speed.

Yes, but you are holding the door!

If you or someone gets cut off at 55 mph, you have to brake hard!  However, if you play on a team, you slow down 10 mph to let him get in front of you, the other car maintains 55 mph, and your net loss is only a few seconds, a bit of speed, and a small bit of distance.  However, the other driver didn’t have to brake wildly, so your combined mph is higher than if someone had to brake or come to a stop.

Don’t think its relevant?  Check out truck drivers.

Truck drivers know that the groups speed matters more than their individual speed.  If you are a polite driver they almost always let you in because they know that slowing to 25 mph is better than coming to a stop.  You ever seen a truck try and get up to speed from a stop?  Takes forever.  They don’t want to stop, they just want to maintain movement.  They would rather everyone go 25 mph during the merge than having some jackass blaze to the front of the line and try and cut in.  Then all of us have to stop.  How fast are you going when someone causes everyone to stop?  Oh yeah, its freakin’ 0 mph, when you could all be going 25 mph as a group.  The jackass would sacrifice all of our momentum so that they can have an extra 20 feet.  And this isn’t even counting the hundreds of people behind you.

This post is already too long to list more examples.  We pass and fail as a race.  Selfishly furthering yourself doesn’t help the team pass.  We mess up our planet because people are too centrally focused to look around and realize their positive is many peoples negative.  I will gladly sacrifice a few moments of my day so that others can gain in subtle ways.  I don’t mind losing a little bit, if we as a team can gain then I will gladly keep this up.

Just crunch the numbers.