Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Public Nuisances 63 and 64

Travel this past couple of weeks and considerable jet lag prompt a few entries in an occasional series...

Public Nuisance Number 63

The single greatest improvement in the quality of life for the traveling masses of humanity will be the abolition of those public announcements about "cars left unattended (being) subject to towing". The seven and a half minute frequency of said announcements is a blight on society.

It must drive airport employees mad to hear this business. No wonder bags get misplaced and creative thefts occur. I'd rebel if I had to hear it 72 times a day, 360 times a week, 10,000 times a year. And that is at the laidback airports I've been patronizing where a few hours of flight delays prompted my timing investigations. What, I wonder, is the typical frequency of such announcements, say, at Logan airport in Boston where guilt about terrorists attacks past reigns. Good Lord.

Really, does one need to warn about towing? If you come out on any street and don't see your car, well yes, it's probably been towed, if illegally parked, or stolen, or borrowed if you're lucky. Regardless you're either stupid and/or unlucky. Such is life. Why do you need to be warned? Or is the message intended for a different audience? Is it simply a piece of security theatre deftly designed by security experts to heighten a sense of vigilance, in the best reading, or fear, in the more probable reading. Or is it one of those vestigial announcements that no one questions but that spread inexorably out of bureaucratic inertia. Somewhere a soul dies every time that recording plays. I know that my fortitude was tested...

I can understand the "be on the lookout for suspicious __" or the "don't accept packages" items but that business about towing cars needs to stop. It pollutes our ears. It pollutes our minds. It's that simple. Stop it. Erase that message from the system. Please. Pretty please.

Public Nuisance Number 64

Is there a more diseagreeable verb in the English language than deplane? I believe it is beyond objectionable, nay it is simply indecent in any good company.

Deplane indeed. What's wrong with disembark? The sole saving grace in this sad tale is that board or embark have fewer or the same amount of syllables than emplane which has consequently not seen the same adoption as its obverse (although a Delta employee used it on a recent flight).

But back to deplaning...

May catastrophic bankruptcy befall all airline companies that deploy that verb as part of their linguistic arsenal. Moreover, may the authors of the style guide of said airline companies, those syllabic bean counters who foisted those words on humanity be consigned to a sojurn of no less than six months and a day working at the most gruesome meat rendering factory — I can think of several if consultations are required. Further, may all airline personnel who utter said verb and follow the airline scripts be ignored by their progeny come Mother's or Father's Day.

Deplane! No wonder one hears about air rage even in this post 9/11 world, forget alcohol, I'll deplane you. United Airlines, consider yourself on probation. Continued toli patronage is hanging on a very frayed thread, indeed Jetblue beckons.

Sigh... It's been far too long since my last boycott day. What are you boycotting today?

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