June 24, 2007

For those of you who recommended Beard Papa’s in downtown San Francisco, holy crap, were you ever right. I bought a vanilla cream puff when I was there last week, and the memory of eating it still brings a tear to my eye—and not just because I accidentally inhaled a lungful of powdered sugar off the top of the damn thing and nearly choked to death in my hotel room (but quickly revived in order to lasciviously tongue-probe its gooey, custardy center).

I remember when I was a kid how much I used to love airports. They were so exciting and full of promise, from the swirls of busy people rushing to their departure gates to the stomach-dropping miraculous moment when the plane left the tarmac and began its inexplicable climb into the sky. I used to travel by myself to visit my grandparents in Michigan, and the sight of their eager faces when I walked into the gate, their opened arms and exclamations of delight, was even better than the flight itself. Even better than the thrillingly salty peanuts, or the nose-burning cup of ginger ale, or the blue plastic wings a stewardess would always offer me.

Of course nowadays only ticketed passengers can hang around the terminal, and you don’t get peanuts because someone could go into anaphylactic shock, and any excitement associated with flying has long been replaced by the ever-present feeling of dread and discomfort as you stand in line after line while uniformed men shout aggressively into the crowd about how any liquids need to be in plastic bags or SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES, and the whole time you’re standing there in your bare feet trying not to think about how many other people’s bare feet have touched the exact same section of the floor you’re on. Never mind the flight itself, where you’re so intimately crushed against both the seat in front of you and the stranger on your left, even if anyone did give you peanuts (which they will NOT) the sodium bloat would probably cause permanent injury.

What I’m saying is that I think it’s going to take a lot of convincing to get me to do another business trip anytime soon. The next time I deal with air travel I want a big payoff on the other side, like say for instance a week in Hawaii. I mean, that cream puff was pretty goddamned good, but definitely not worth the hassle of getting there.

In other news, we taught Riley to make a War Face. “Show me your war face!” we cry, and he immediately pulls his brows down and peers at us suspiciously (clarification: even more suspiciously than normal), his little lips pooched out. Then we yell about bullshit, you didn’t convince me, let me see your REAL war face, we’ll PT you until your asshole is sucking buttermilk, we didn’t know they stacked shit that high, and so on, because if you’re going to quote Full Metal Jacket a little, you might as well go whole hog, you know?

Oh, we don’t really. In all seriousness, though, the War Face is completely awesome. I told JB that this is the first party trick that officially elevates Riley above Well-Trained Dog status. Sure, my son might not be able to balance a snack on his nose then toss it in the air and eat it in one gulp, but he can by-god make a war face.


48 Responses to “Sound off like you’ve got a pair”

  1. Jane on June 24th, 2007 8:56 pm

    Photo please. Must see war face.

  2. Mary O on June 24th, 2007 9:09 pm

    Riley’s war face sounds hilarious.

    I agree about airports. I have not been on a flight lately that has not been delayed at least an hour. It’s so rediculous these days.

    Although, that cream puff sounds delightful.

  3. Mack on June 24th, 2007 9:13 pm

    The airport is the single most stressful experience on the face of the planet.

    And at your destination, waiting for you opened arms as you get off the plane? Nothing but more people hating the experience as much as you do! Except for the guy that got cavity checked. He gates it more than you.

  4. heather on June 24th, 2007 9:16 pm

    sigh. i’m going to have to go to beard papa’s tomorrow. damn it. it’s been three months…i was doing so well.

  5. TinaNZ on June 24th, 2007 9:46 pm

    The writer Terry Pratchett defined an airport as a place where you hurry up and wait. The way things are going, a cavity check will be mandatory. And does anybody have any statistics on just how many deaths were cause by those peanuts?

  6. Bekki on June 24th, 2007 9:46 pm

    OMG! I can totally sympathize, we had one heck of a lame air travel experiance this weekend (let’s just say the plane was meant to leave SeaTac at 2:40 on Friday afternoon…we actually took off at 6 am on Saturday.)

    At least we made it to my friend’s wedding on time (with 5 minutes to spare!) or else there would have been hell to pay. Actually, the airline people were as nice as they could be considering the circumstances, (hundreds of unhappy people yelling at them) and things could have been much worse.

  7. Meg on June 24th, 2007 10:28 pm

    I totally get peanuts when I fly. I did on my flight in May. Is Southwest the last airline handing out peanuts?

    Anyway, I know what you mean. I used to like flying, too. Now every time I’m at an airport, I can’t help realizing that I hate most of the people in the world. Or I’m grumpy when I fly.

    I’m grateful to still have that same childhood joy of the plane taking off, though. I really love that part.

  8. Kirsten on June 24th, 2007 11:42 pm

    so, uh, I’m like totally waiting for a pic of the warface.

  9. Alex on June 25th, 2007 1:26 am

    This post was brilliantly written.

  10. Emily on June 25th, 2007 1:57 am

    War Face! I am so proud. Although my own war face is more of a disgruntled grimace.

    By the way, a good alternative to air travel is Greyhound. Less annoying security, more intoxicating smells!

    (HA! Totally kidding. Greyhound makes me want to stab myself in the eyes.)

  11. Emma on June 25th, 2007 2:50 am

    Ooooh – we’re needing photographic evidence of this war face ‘cos, y’know, we won’t believe you otherwise ;)

    But I totally agree about the travel – I’ve done so much recently I’m having trouble remembering what timezone I’m in and everytime I stop for breath, it’s invariably because I have to hang around an overpriced airport *again*!

  12. Elizabeth on June 25th, 2007 3:30 am

    I scrolled down expecting a picture of the War Face and I found nothing. What’s up with that?

    I don’t know if you have it or if someone else suggested it back when you asked for suggestions, but I just discovered Eric Carle’s “Papa, Please Get Me The Moon.”

  13. Niki P. on June 25th, 2007 3:35 am

    MY SO travels quite a bit for work and he has masterered “travel post 9/11.” If he is gone for more than 2 days he will mail his crap to his destination so he doesn’t have to use baggage claim. They have “misplaced” his luggage more times than I can count. He has airport shoes and carries antibacterial wipes with him. No, he is not a neat freak- it’s just that the general public is GROSS!
    Want to see the war face……….

  14. Elizabeth on June 25th, 2007 4:39 am

    I add my vote — we demand a picture of the War Face!

  15. diane on June 25th, 2007 4:46 am

    Come on….we’re waiting for the War Face pic!!!

  16. Claire on June 25th, 2007 5:10 am

    When exactly DID they stop serving actual food on flights? I went to London right after 9/11 and I still got a scone with clotted cream but on my bazillion hour flight to Hawaii, I got some stale little bag of rip-off Chex mix.

  17. Emblita on June 25th, 2007 5:35 am

    Yup, they have managed to make airtravel an hellish experience without actually increasing security that much (an danish reporter walked through security with an 18cm long ceramic knife and wrote a story on it- eeek). Same security level, more pissed off passengers.
    In a couple of months we’re going to Thailand so we can add total abject fear of someone having put drugs in our luggage and being put into a Thai prison… shudder (I’m paranoid about that stuff).

  18. Deon on June 25th, 2007 6:27 am

    Southwest is the only airline that still serves peanuts. They were downright belligerently rude about it too. They basically told me it was my problem when I informed them that my daughter was allergic to peanuts. We couldn’t cancel the flight at that time so we flew anyways. Of course, my child got hives during the flight. I vowed never to fly them again and to bad-mouth that airline every chance I get. F*** them and their hillbilly, free for all boarding procedures too!

  19. kendra! on June 25th, 2007 6:28 am

    I always think about the foot traffic, literally, that has spread its fungus before me. If socks with sandals is a fashion faux pas, I think the security line at the airport must forgive this.

  20. Eric's Mommy on June 25th, 2007 6:31 am

    Ha Ha! When Eric was really little we taught him “blue steel” from Zoolander, it was a big hit.

    As for flying, I hadn’t flown since 9/11 until about a month ago when we took Eric to Disney. What a pain in the butt! I hated that stupid thing that you walk into and it shoots air out at you. I also don’t like how nobody can meet you at the gate anymore, I used to love getting right off the plane and seeing my family, now you get to go claim them along with your luggage.

  21. Bethany on June 25th, 2007 7:15 am

    I think what I really love is driving by airports to watch the planes landing and taking off. It excites me for a reason I have not figured out yet, but always makes me point and clap like a five year old so I figure what the hell.

  22. Deanna on June 25th, 2007 8:58 am

    You totally have to update now with a photo of the war face!!!

  23. mcgee on June 25th, 2007 9:48 am

    let’s see a photo of the war face!!

    also, the near death by inhalation of powdered sugar? i do that every time. they should put a warning about it on the bag.

  24. lea on June 25th, 2007 10:00 am

    Do you ever get that feeling when you go through airport security like you’re going to a nazi internment camp or something? Like the next thing they’re going to do is strip you naked, shave your head, and hand you a small piece of soap. It’s creepy and airport security should be doing something to help us feel better and less stressed, not like we’re all criminals…

  25. AndreAnna on June 25th, 2007 10:29 am

    Without the peanuts, flying is just a salt-less trip to hell.

  26. Becky on June 25th, 2007 12:28 pm

    The last time I flew Southwest would not pass out peanuts because we had someone on board with a peanut allergy…instead they gave us the crackers shaped like airplanes. My least hated airline is Midwest…all because of the fresh baked cookies….LOVE THEM!!!!

  27. Kim on June 25th, 2007 12:59 pm

    Okay, I TOTALLY clicked over here from my RSS reader because I completely expected to see at least one pic of the war face. But no, I’ve been denied.

    Hello? War face, please??

  28. Amy M. on June 25th, 2007 1:44 pm

    I agree – war face!

    And Midwest Airlines gives out WARM chocolate chip cookies! Much better than 5 peanuts in a small, hard-to-open package.

  29. Deon on June 25th, 2007 1:45 pm

    Until the “War Face” get posted, here is something to hold you all over:


  30. Blue on June 25th, 2007 2:59 pm

    I hate flying and the only time I have in the past 35 years was because of my dad dying and I had to get there. If I cannot drive, I just don’t go. Kinda rules out my “once before I die” trip to the pyramids, though. I don’t even know what it is exactly that I dislike about it, but claustrophobia and lack of control come to mind!

    Um, “war” face? Just curious about why you would want to call it that.

  31. serror on June 25th, 2007 3:07 pm

    It was so refreshing flying in New Zealand. We flew around the country in these little 18 person planes, and you actually walk out on the tarmac and up the little plane stairs. It made me feel like air travel in the 50’s in the states… Also, they do have security but much more like our pre-9/11 security. Reasonable stuff. Sometimes the agents at the little one room, airports would even forget to check IDs (they were 30 minute commuter flights in the country)

    What drives me nuts about all the upped US security, is that I don’t really believe it is doing any good. If it is ok for women to wear bras with gel or water in them, or if people could strap anything to their body that they want to as long as it isn’t metal, why put liquids from carry-ons in little tiny containers in quart size plastic bags? It just seems like if someone is determined, we aren’t doing anything to stop them unless they are carrying metal, but making life inconvenient for those of us just trying to travel.

  32. Christy on June 25th, 2007 5:33 pm

    I’m glad to learn that I’m not the only person who minds taking off my shoes. Last week when I flew I had on flip-flips, for cryin’ out loud–where was I going to hide something? They’re foam and rubber!

    Ick. The thought of all those bare feet touching the same carpet and tile. It makes my whole body cringe.

  33. MotherGooseAmy on June 25th, 2007 6:29 pm

    On one trip home from Ft. Lauderdale, airport security was handing out little footie thingys so when you removed your sandals you didn’t have to walk in everyone elses nastiness.

    I have taken two business trips to NJ recently and painstakingly got myself an exit-row or bulkhead seat so at least I’d have a few more inches in front of me (even though I could really use it next to me –hips, you know). Both times some person boarded before me and sat in my seat. Upon polite confrontation (“I’m in 3A, see my ticket…?) the person made up some story about how they just came from Spain and they are so tired and need to stretch out, or … my kid can’t sit in our assigned seat because of the oxygen mask (or some sort of B.S.) So both times, like a complete schmuck, I gave up my seat. The last time, I was really miffed because I ended up skulking back to that person’s seat and was gently tap-tapped by the person behind me requesting I not recline my seat. Aaaarrgghhh!

    Do you still visit your grandparents in Michigan? I’m in Michigan. Next time we’ll do lunch….!

  34. Carolyn J. on June 25th, 2007 6:48 pm

    What you do is, you take that icing-sugar-covered confection through the security gate and through the air-puff thingy. That way, the icing sugar blows off in a giant cloud onto the security people! It’s a twofer!!

  35. Averill Hecht on June 26th, 2007 8:42 am

    Go to my website and you will see you are not the only one who feels like you when it comes to “ticketed passengers only”, and the joy of the airport experiance being taken away!

  36. Anonymous on June 27th, 2007 1:21 pm

    I used to love airports when I was little too. Leave it to religious zealots to kill everybody’s buzz. Dicks.

    And war face sounds pretty sweet. Almost as funny as tongue probing your cream puff, which was both hot and gross at the same time. Leaning more towards gross. Try and get your readers a good war face photo. I am not sure I believe Riley can look more suspicious than normal. Physical proof might help.

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