I have traveled a good deal over the last few months and I have spent a lot of time in airports and in the air. I have been in small airports, after a wet Wednesday in Santa Barbara, and larger spots such as the Dallas – Fort Worth airport, known by most as DFW. My favorite, at least for now, is Tampa International. Pick up and drop off are a breeze, and they have the best auto waiting area to hang out at as you long for your loved ones to land. The waiting area has a large parking lot and a monster set of screens that track all inbound flights. It looks like a huge tote board from a racetrack. Moreover, the airport has one of the best rental car arrangements around. The cars are onsite, the lines move quickly, and rental return is so simple – no confusing signage. Highway access to Tampa, St. Petersburg, and gulf beaches is quick – you can be in the water in 40 minutes if you try, a bit faster if you just jump in with your clothes on. The airport itself is cool, too. Check-in is easy, and the lines for security move fast enough. Even the background music is OK, no elevator tunes. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell can be heard above the din of shoe removal (thank you, Mr. Shoe Bomber), belt slinging, lap top revealing, and the jingle and jangle of all the crap we put in those four ounce bags. Even the TSA is good, no surly people who have gone off their medication.
Now to the real purpose of this entry, that wonderful magazine that we find in the seatback pouch in front of us, the one that we read when all is lost, the plane is late, we cannot sleep, and when we are desperate to read something, just anything, so that we do not have to make eye contact with the person next to us, the one whose leg is way too close, the one that we will have to sit next to for the next 90 or 150 minutes.
My apology to those of you that have bought something that you really wanted from the SkyMall, but I challenge you to find anyone who is not currently incarcerated or institutionalized who has bought one of the skeleton gnomes found on page 86 of the Summer 2013 issue. Take a look at that picture. Would you buy that, and put it in your yard or in your house? SkyMall offers a breathtaking range of products, including tongue-shaped dog toys, mounted squirrel heads, his and her faux tattoo tops, a Bigfoot tree sculpture, and Hermione Granger’s wand. I just don’t know where to start. Need to remove a mole, get rid of those pimples, or grow more hair? Look no further. You can even find an elevated dog bed to keep your pooch comfortable and dry. Can you imagine Forrest Gump thumbing through this shoppers paradise, trying to figure out exactly why w e need this stuff? My favorite section of SM, (yes, there really are sections), is Problem Solvers. That’s the place where one can purchase a toilet seat covered cat box, complete with a DVD that describes, step by step, potty training for cats as well as a scented fake fire hydrant complete with a turf floor that is great for dogs that live in condos or apartments. Soon enough, you or me or both of us will be getting on a plane again, humming the words to Jefferson Airplane’s Eight Miles High, and waiting to get our hands on the fall edition of Sky Mall. Enjoy.