pundits on a plane!

last week, bad weather and some inept airline problem solving left passengers aboard several flights departing from the east coast stranded on their frozen, immobile plane for up to nine or ten hours. while most of these unfortunate passengers were unimportant rubes who have never appeared on tv, much less reported from the floor of a political convention or served as a republican congressman from florida, one of them was msnbc’s joe scarborough. below are some highlights from scarborough’s vivid blog recounting of his tragicomic runway ordeal:

  • there were dogs. “The Westminster Dog Show had just ended at Madison Square Garden the night before and apparently Delta Air Lines let it be known that Flight 693 would be the airplane of choice for canines waiting to escape Gotham. As I closed my eyes, the Dog Whisperer seated next to me began breathing sweet nothings into her little critter’s left ear until the pilot came on the intercom to tell dogs and humans alike that we would be sitting at the gate waiting for a break in the weather.”
  • there were movies: “Man of the Year,” “Marie Antoinette,” and (inexplicably) “Love Story.” “Then came perhaps the worst news yet. Three movies into our odyssey, the only film left in Delta’s VCR catalog was Ryan O’ Neal’s smarmy ‘Love Story’—an appropriate movie since I am still waiting for Delta to tell me that they’re sorry. The news of this latest cruel twist sank our spirits like a lead balloon. More groans filled the cabin. From the back someone yelled ‘The humanity!'”
  • there were biblical references. “Even the dogs snarled at the sight of Technicolor turtlenecks and Ali McGraw’s impish face. Like Lot, I averted my eyes but others were not so lucky. The mood darkened.”
  • there were eagles metaphors. “The pilot kept preaching patience to an increasingly tired and hungry group of passengers who had now been on the plane over four hours. By this time the pilot gave us, in effect, the Hotel California option of being able to check out anytime we’d like. But we could never leave….While we were playing the role of Don Henley at the Hotel California, our pilot played Freddie at In and Out Burger, telling us that some of the crew would be leaving the plane for a while to grab lunch for the flight attendants.”
  • there were rememberances of calm, liberal, dope-smoking family members in an effort to put life’s minor obstacles in perspective. “Late one afternoon in the summer of 1978, my family and I were rushing back from Pensacola Beach to get my Dad’s younger brother home for a big date. Uncle Chuck was not only a good bit younger than my dad, he was also a heck of a lot calmer than anyone in my family. While we were screaming, sweating and swearing at every red light that stopped us, Uncle Chuck sat in the back seat with a peaceful smile on his face. Since Chuck was from California, I automatically suspected the Evil Weed was keeping him cool. But Chuck was always calm, almost Zen-like. So I finally put it down to a personality defect. ‘How can you stay so calm at a time like this?’ I asked in an exasperated voice. His answer made the episode stick in my mind over the chaos of my last 28 years. ‘What’s the use of worrying, Joey? It won’t get me there a second sooner.’ Left Coast freak.”

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