First World Problems?

Am I the only person that enjoys the absurd?

I traveled this past Tuesday from Syracuse to Minneapolis to visit one of my organization’s field offices. Syracuse is not exactly the travel hub of the country so usually any flight out of SYR entails connections. Today’s trip was no exception- SYR to O’Hare in Chicago then on to Minneapolis after a 90 minute layover. I got lucky with the airport logistics today. Usually connections through O’Hare feel like you are landing in Wisconsin and leaving from Indiana but today my arrival and departure gates were only a short stroll from each other.

I grabbed a sandwich on my way to my connecting gate and, once finding where I needed to be, sat down for a leisurely lunch and some people watching. The Gods of Humor did not disappoint as I was barely into my sandwich when a whole lot of crazy sat down three seats away from me. Sit back and enjoy the show…


A well-accessorized woman in her mid-60’s sits down with a bundle of exasperation and irritation. Her hair is perfectly coiffed. She’s got about as much gold as Mr. T. Her cell phone is already out and ready to do some damage. The woman (let’s call her Goldie) unloads on the person unfortunate enough to be on the phone with her. Her statement to the effect of, “And it’s coach!” is what really grabs my attention.

I am interested in her tribulations (after all, she is now my lunchtime entertainment) and discreetly grab my notepad to document the crisis. The problem appears to be that her original flight from O’Hare was delayed (“They said crew and mechanical problems!”) which, in turn, would cause her to miss her connection in JFK to Athens. Goldie is now incensed because, in addition to having to sit at O’Hare for 5 hours, she now has to go through Charles De Gaulle in Paris in order to make her rebooked connection to Athens.

I am truly fascinated- I inhale the last couple of bites of the sandwich so that I don’t miss anything in her rant. In addition to the apparent absurdity of her first world problems, Goldie swears like a truck driver. Or a soldier. Having been both a truck driver and a member of the military, I am sincerely impressed. She’s pissed. Now she’s screwed. But this, my friends, is why she “hates fucking flying”.

Using my natural stealth, I snap a couple of pics. I’m confident that she is anonymous enough in this picture that I can simply publish it…

Trust me- you do not want to be on the other end of that phone…

There are a few comments that make me (quietly) chuckle. Goldie laments that her “ass is chapped. Now [she’s] stranded.” Another favorite, “…and it’s going to be coach!” Also, “This is why I hate fucking flying. I’m stranded now.”

Over the course of 15 minutes, Goldie makes 3 calls to at least 2 different people. She continues the same basic theme in each call. (Yes- I think one lucky customer got the same rant twice.) After the 15 minutes, she stands up abruptly and disappears into the terminal to spread her joy in multiple concourses. I ponder what I’ve seen in the aftermath of her departure.

Goldie gets points for really committing to the rant even if she loses points for lack of originality in the content. My 13 year old has shown more creativity blowing up at me. Frankly, I’m less amused by the content of her rant than I am based on her perspective in general.

I am not a classist. I don’t begrudge those that seem to have more than I have. I think it’s contrary to our American perspective. If I want more, I can work harder or more creatively. I don’t think she’s funny because of her apparent material wealth.

I find her absurd because of exactly what she’s bitching about. Her first-class trip to Athens has been ruined. SHE HAS TO FLY COACH! In the grand scheme of things, I think she was ridiculous.

So… my questions to you, dear readers, are:

  • Am I a bad person for being amused by her obvious distress?
  • Am I being judgmental for dismissing the magnitude of her complaints?
  • What would YOU do?
  • Would you have found it funny?

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Filed under Funny- ha ha

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