The Texas Side of Things

Jim Banner, Southern Livestock Standard

July 25, 2023

     I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to fly commercially as much as I used to.  Back in the 80’s and 90’s, I flew often on my way to cattle sales in the southeastern states. But then things changed and eventually I had enough auctions in Texas that I no longer needed to travel.  In addition, flying became a serious problem after 911, security was tighter, airlines were cancelling the number of flights they had been providing and the airlines stopped being so understanding about accepting other airlines tickets or even changing a customer’s flight arrangements without issuing a hefty payment.  So, I just decided to stay here in Texas where I can drive to the sale, return whenever I choose, and I don’t have to strip down to get through the security check point.  However, this summer has been different because I have been hired on several sales in other states such as Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and recently, North Carolina.

     Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of flying, I just get frustrated and on high alert when it comes to flying commercially.  First of all, you are advised to arrive at the airport at least an hour and a half before boarding to check in. Next, you may have a problem finding a place to park, so you might be a mile away in some parking lot, wondering if you will remember which lot you parked in. Then, you will either need to walk or ride a shuttle bus to the front of the airport.  Yet, that’s not the worst of it!  The worst part is the security. You are required to remove your shoes or boots, wallet, coins, handkerchiefs, snuff can or cans depending on the length of the trip, keys, phone, belt and hat.  I will admit, my blood pressure goes up when I’m going through the security check point. I guess I have anxiety issues with all the uniformed personnel standing around the place that makes me feel like I’m trying to escape from prison.  At some airports you see drug sniffing dogs that act like they are looking for a fire hydrant to pee on and I think to myself, “Can these dogs really smell drugs and explosives or are they only there for show?” I’ve considered carrying a Milk Bone dog treat in my pocket just to see if they would react, but I haven’t tried it yet.  So, once you have made it through security, you must then replace the items you had to remove, meanwhile watching to make sure no one comes by and steals your can or cans of snuff…to say the least its nerve wracking. 

     So, let’s agree that flying these days is tense.  Even after you’ve boarded the plane there is an uneasy feeling about being on it.  We’ve all seen video clips of angry fliers that go crazy on the plane and either beat up on the flight attendants or have to be subdued by another passenger and hauled off by security.  My point is, flying is not relaxing, it’s nerve wracking.  On a recent flight, I had settled down in my aisle seat and was really looking forward to relaxing and maybe even take an hour and a half nap on my flight back to San Antonio.  It just so happened that across the aisle from me and one row back sat a little boy that was maybe six years old.  I assumed he was playing a video game because I could hear him say every now and then, “I see you behind the trash can blue zombie” and then I heard him later say, “There you are yellow zombie, hiding behind the stairway.” So, as the airplane was starting to push back from the gate, suddenly, I heard this blooding curling scream from the little boy and then I heard him say, “Where did you come from red zombie?” Everyone, including myself, jumped out of our seats expecting to see a terrorist coming down the aisle trying to commandeer the plane but instead, only the flight attendants came running towards the little boy.  The plane stopped momentarily until the flight attendants could give them a green light and finish backing out away from the gate.

     Of course, the parents apologized to the flight attendants about the incident and of course they took the laptop and game away from the little boy but that didn’t help me at all when I tried to shut my eyes and fall asleep.  All I could think about was, “People really think that Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd and the Roadrunner cartoons are dangerous to our children because they promote violence?!”  I don’t ever remember having any nightmares about Yosemite Sam chasing me and shooting at me with a pistol.  Oh well, flying isn’t as much fun as it used to be, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Southern Livestock

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