Vol. 11, No. 2,553 - The American Reporter - January 5, 2005

Make My Day

by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Columnist
Syracuse, Ind.

SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Dear fellow traveler: You may not remember me from this morning. I'm the guy you cut off both in the parking lot and again at the airport. You took my parking space, and then ran to get in front of me at the ticket line. You also rolled your suitcase over my foot and didn't even apologize.

At first I thought this was very rude behavior, since we were both on the same flight, and we were two hours early. However I realized this was your first trip since your suitcase was brand new. I also heard you tell the woman at the counter that not only was this your very first plane trip, it was even your first time leaving the state.

As a result, you probably weren't aware of traveling etiquette or what is considered unacceptable or rude behavior to your fellow travelers. I overheard you say that you were going to Boston. I've traveled extensively over the years, and have even been to Boston.

Taking your first trip can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. And since I'm the forgiving type who never holds a grudge, I want to give you a few tips that can help you on your vacation. These little hints will help you avoid the, um, incidents we had this morning, and will make your week in Boston relaxing and stress-free.

1) Airport security personnel have hard jobs, because they're keeping our skies safe, but people do nothing but complain and whine. Help ease their mood. Crack a few jokes while you're standing in line. They especially like jokes about the fake bomb you've hidden in your suitcase, or how you were asked to hold a package by a foreign stranger with a funny accent.

2) Even though your ticket says you have an assigned seat, you can actually pick any seat you want. Pick one of those big ones up front. Or if they're all full, pick one in the exit row. Someone may complain and try to tell you it's their assigned seat. Stand firm! Tell them they should have showed up earlier if they wanted the good seats.

3) You will no doubt be renting a car during your stay. The people who work at the car rental place also enjoy a good joke. So squeal your tires as you leave the rental place. This will get a big laugh from the people who work there.

4) Something else about rental cars: As you leave the lot, look on the ground for the pointy-looking comb at the exit gate. If the person at the gate doesn't help you immediately, drive over that pointy-looking comb. That's the mechanism that registers customer complaints. It calculates how fast you drive over the points and then translates your speed into your Dissatisfaction Quotient, so be sure to drive very quickly.

5) Boston drivers are very friendly and forgiving. They understand the stress of big city driving, and so will allow minor flubs and driving errors. Find yourself in the wrong lane? Don't worry, just put on your turn signal, and some kind Bostonian motorist will slow down to let you in. This is true whether you are cruising down the highway, or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

6) Hopefully your rental car came with New York plates. Boston drivers can sympathize with drivers from New York City, so they will afford you even more courtesies than someone from, say, New Hampshire.

7) Boston sports fan are good-natured, and enjoy their rivalry with other sports fans. To start a friendly conversation and meet new people, put on a New York Yankees baseball cap or Los Angeles Lakers t-shirt and walk into a Boston sports bar. This is especially fun to do during the playoffs when your team of choice is in the big game, and the Boston team is not.

8) If you have the time, be sure to visit Cape Cod. It's actually not that busy, especially during the summer weekends. Just leave town around 4:00 on a Friday afternoon, and you'll have clear roads and smooth sailing the entire way. But be sure to leave on Sunday at 4:00 pm, because it will start to fill up with all the weekday tourists.

9) Things tend to be pretty cheap in Cape Cod as well, so don't worry about taking a lot of cash or credit cards with you. Twenty bucks should do. You can last for three days on just $20 and no other means of payment.

Well, fellow traveler, I hope these tips help you out. As I said earlier, all is forgiven. I've completely forgotten how you cut me off twice, and the throbbing in my foot has nearly subsided. So I hope my hints will help your stay in Boston be a memorable one.

Copyright 2005 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.