Friday, January 20, 2012


I left my house at 4:30am Monday morning to catch a 6am flight to San Francisco - it was 14 degrees. I was wearing a sweater and a blazer and I was fine. Granted I only went from the house to the car and from the car to the terminal, but it wasn't windy so it wasn't bad.

When I landed in SF it was somewhere around 50 degrees. To me this was terrific for middle of January, but my weather app said that there was a severe weather alert warning of low temperatures.

In the three days I was there I kept waiting for it to get cold. At night it did get as low as the upper 30's. San Franciscans were walking around in hats and scarves and probably the heaviest coats they owned.

It felt like fall to me - my blood having that New York consistency, which keeps me from having to wear a a coat until mid-December. The funny thing is though, that once I cross the line into coat wearing territory every day become this frozen nightmare, which lasts until sometime in march.

I hate the winter. I hate cold. I hate snow. I hate ice. I hate having to wear a coat. I hate having to wear socks.

This winter hasn't been as bad as some. Today we're getting the first snow all season. We did get like 5 inches or so in October, but that's fall. Although I did think that snowfall was sign of things to come - a potential repeat of last year when it seemed to snow a foot every third day. And because my wife was pregnant, I was out at like 4 am clearing the driveway. It's still cold. It's still dark. It's still winter, though.

The one thing this trip helped me to realize about winter is that I don't necessarily need the constant summer like Florida (having lived in Key West and experienced months of beautiful weather in a row, I know it gets old), but I like the idea of mild weather. I can do upper 30's at night to mid 50's during the day.

That's how January should be. The good news is that this coming Monday it's going to be in the mid-50s here in New York. Of course being NY there has to be some flaw - it's going to rain.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Slightly Nauseous and Strapped Down for Six Hours

I guess like most people I like traveling, but hate flying. I don't care that flying isn't a skill humans evolved, so it's completely unnatural. I usually don't think about crashing or anything like that (I find statistics comforting).

Part of it is the check in process: going through the lines taking off my shoes, jacket, hoping that I've put my wedding band somewhere safe (can't imagine having to explain losing that), and then the occasional TSA feel up.

But it's more than that. It's being strapped down for hours on end. It's flight attendants that read rules as if they were just brought down the mountain by Moses and you will literally go to Hell (or federal prison) if you have to pee while the captain has the seatbelt sign "illuminated." It's that slight bit of motion sickness. It's the anxiety of baggage claim (if your bag has ever not come out onto the carousel, you know what I mean).

There have definitely been improvements lately. Mobile boarding passes rock. Economy plus (for those of unwilling to pay for first or business class) or what ever they call the cheap seats with extra legroom on other airlines. The fact that I'm writing this from 35k feet is also an improvement.

Improvements are great, but there's no way to feel like you're not trapped. I'm not claustrophobic. When I was I a submariner, I never felt trapped (at least physically) on the boat and I was there for months at a time. Maybe airlines can take some lessons from submarines - paint the interior bright green, white lights, give everyone a job. Maybe that would just work for me.

The good news is now I have less than four hours left on this flight.