Saturday, November 25, 2023

Christmas Blather

 I am kind of, sort of, almost definitely a traditionalist when it comes to when to start seriously thinking about Christmas plans each year. I hate Christmas decorations being put up and on display before Thanksgiving. I do not like sales geared toward Christmas before then either' although I will admit I sometimes start Christmas shopping in July or August. That was due, in great part, to a store local to NYC called Crazy Eddie's that used to advertise "It's Christmas In July" or was it August - whichever that was long ago but the influence stuck with me. Anyway, I like to celebrate the Christmas season during the actual season and when I was a kid the local neighborhood Christmas lights put up by the powers that were did not get turned on until the day after Thanksgiving.
Well, it's that time now. So I decided to plan my Christmas staring today. Along those lines I have planned to spend Christmas with my favorite uncle, my mom's brother, in West Palm Beach, FL. I purchased my airline tickets today and was able to use a $150 credit toward them from the airline I used when I visited him last sometime in the last two years or so after which I filed a complaint for delayed and pretty crappy flights in general. I did not expect to get anything but they gave me that and it was going to expire this December so I used it for this trip. I don't travel by air much or it would have been used already. I am happy I still had it as it wound up that an 8 day car rental (for a compact or larger - manager's choice) will cost approximately $200 more than the airfare (after the credit). Damn, a regular rental of a compact car for the few days before & including Christmas and then a couple after Christmas is over $600.00! Mine is a bit less due to the manager's pick deal. What ever happened to the $79.00 a week car rentals in FL or even the $129.99 per week deals! I guess they are gone like the days of my youth - never to be seen again on the face of this earth.
Regardless, I will enjoy the trip or at least plan to do so. If some nut gets up and runs around the plane  and then another passenger shouts out she is possessed by the devil  and starts screaming out the praises of the Lord and the evils of demons - or if they stick a sweaty huge fatty in the seat next to mine who is bulging over the armrest resting his or her flab on my person or intruding into my seat and heaven's forbid I complain about it, or the flight attendant who is a guy starts rubbing my thigh with sexual delight to sexually assault me (I had one almost try when I flew as an Air Marshal after 9/11 but a few choice words to him and his captain kept him under control) - well,  those things or a terrorist or three might make the trip somewhat less than enjoyable. Of course an off duty pilot trying to crash the plane could also make it a real bummer. Don't think that things like that could not happen; all or most of them (or very similar events) allegedly have taken place on flights over the USA recently or at least fairly recently (click on the links if you doubt it).
I don't expect anything bad to happen but you can bet - short of a terrorist attack, I will make a video of any such behavior. As for a terrorist attack, well I may be too busy to make a video. If called upon, and maybe if not, I will be willing to give my all to back up the Air Marshal if there is one or the flight crew as need be if I am still alive and breathing. Scared shitless as I was back in October 2001 on my first flight after 9/11, I made up my mind to do whatever it took when I  volunteered to fly as an Air Marshal. The big differences now are my age and the fact I'd pretty much be unarmed - at least as regular weapons go (you can almost always find something to fight with even on a commercial flight). I do not think my determination to help protect the flight and passengers will have changed much since way back then though; anyway I'd hope not. I am not looking for trouble nor hoping for it; mind you, I do not have a death-wish but I do have my head on a swivel (even though the damn swivel is a bit rusty with arthritis now) and would rather be a survivor than die crashing into a skyscraper if the SHTF. 
Once in FL, I intend to have fun visiting my uncle and a few friends down that way. My uncle is almost 90, not in good health so this may be the last chance I get to see him and enjoy some time with him. If I did not have my dog to get back to ("my son will be watching her) I would have planned a two week trip. This one should be nice  no matter what since it will be over the Christmas holiday. Unlike when in the cabin of the plane, I will be armed in FL. My carry license is honored therein and I will bring along a pistol or two (I like redundancy when it comes to being prepared) in my checked luggage.
Before I take off on my journey, I have a bunch of Christmas shopping to do. I need to order something nice for my nephew up in NY; I already got something for my wife & daughter but will get them a bit more that they will undoubtedly enjoy. Then there is my son & his girlfriend and my uncle too. I also have to get something for my daughter's and son's birthdays - both December babies. I guess maybe I should get shopping soon - right about now is not a bad time to start. So later for all of you.

All the best,
Glenn B