In Houston

February 27, 2022 • 6:30 pm

I’m cooling my heels at the Houston airport during a 3.5-hour layover until the flight leaves for Santiago, and testing the internet and my computer. Everything seem to be “nominal”.

The United flight from O’Hare was full as a tick, and, unfortunately, some of the passengers weren’t wearing their masks properly, some of them holding them under their chin so that their nose and mouth were open. Comme ça (not my photo):


I asked the guy across the aisle from me to pull up his mask, which he did for about ten seconds and then pulled it down again. At that point I gave up. Otherwise the majority of the passengers were compliant, but it was an uncomfortable flight: the seats seem to have shrunk in width still further. They did, however, serve soft drinks.

In contrast, the airline gates in Houston are a thing of joy. Plugs all over the place, comfortable seats, and you can even order food delivered to your personal table.  Here’s a photo:

There’s a nine-hour flight to go, and I’m told that it may take several hours to clear Chilean customs. It’ll all be worth it when we’re out on the open sea, passing icebergs on the way to the first of many landings.

As the Germans say, “Bis bald!”

24 thoughts on “In Houston

  1. Yes Jerry, many travellers loathe the mask, which, to be fair, is annoying, and has to be removed if you want to read with glasses, necessary, right?
    Well I am just wondering whether all of us decent-minded, rule-obeying, idiot-hating so-and-sos, which includes me. could just get over our annoyance with our thoughtless fellows.
    Otherwise, we silly-billies are going to spend the rest of our lives tssking at ordinary people.
    Just a thought..;

    1. I guess you should tell the flight attendants to chill out too, as they were quite busy scrutinizing the passenders to see if they were wearing masks.

      This is probably one of about two or three times during the pandemic that I’ve asked someone to wear their masks, and this guy was sitting three feet away from me. No, I don’t spend my time fuming at ordinary people, but neither do I want to put up with tut-tutting by people like you. That comment is about the most passive-aggressive commeht I’ve seen, and it’s your first one. Silly-billies indeed.

  2. I see these poor mask wearing techniques on the rare occasion I’m in a grocery store on a weekend. This is why I wear an N95 secured over the head (despite the hair style issues). I should wear my winter cycling goggles too.

  3. Glad to hear that your condition in Houston is nominal. You mentioned the sloppy mask wearing. My wife and I were on a flight to Kauai last December. On that flight we had the pleasure of enduring three idiots in first class who were drinking the entire time, not wearing their masks, roaming up and down the aisle, and disrupting the flight. The poor flight attendants had to treat them like babies in an effort to prevent worse behavior from erupting. I was hoping that TSA security would be waiting at the airport to escort them to a secure location for a severe beating by authorities but, alas, they were allowed off the plane without issue. At this point, it seems that flight attendants declare a flight a success when morons like this go away without causing rioting on the plane. It’s a low bar.

    Good to hear from you!

    1. Yeah, I often think about how much of this bad travel behavior we could prevent if airports and flights went completely non-alcoholic. But that’s a “here’s why we can’t have nice things” problem – what an annoying social cost that would be, to the 99% of us who don’t overindulge during/before air travel.

  4. “I asked the guy across the aisle from me to pull up his mask, which he did for about ten seconds and then pulled it down again.”

    Another self-regarding and self-absorbed narcissist and citizen of the “Indispensable Nation,” refulgent with “American Exceptionalism.” Are such a majority or a minority in the U.S.?

    Some months ago I read such a human primate talk about Asians being (overly?) “compliant” about such matters. I’d rather say that they are most reasonably cooperative. Whatever the truth of the actual Covid death rates in China and the U.S., I suspect the rate is significantly less in China.

    1. >Are such a majority or a minority in the U.S.?

      Can’t speak for the U.S. but it’ll be all of us human primates here in Ontario by 15 March likely. (Vaccine mandates are gone tomorrow.) Mask requirements will be history in all areas of provincial jurisdiction, save for high-risk settings like hospitals. Federally regulated things like intercity trains (which hardly anyone uses) and airplanes seem likely to hang on a while longer. (The feds have to avoid looking like they gave the trucker occupation a win.)

      1. Count yourself lucky. Here in England they’ve got rid of all COVID regulations. Legally, you don’t even have to self isolate if you’ve tested positive for COVID19.

        It’s utterly bonkers and all done to save our tub of lard in chief.

        1. You got through Omicron without any detectable bump in ICU admissions. You (collectively) must be doing something right.

    2. If you ever want to make THOSE people seem sensible and compliant by comparison, come to Florida. It’s not inappropriate that Homer Simpson described it as “America’s dong.”

    1. He probably looks forward to those encounters! 😬 not!

      PS “Plugs all over the place” -surely Jerry means sockets?!

  5. By habit, upon rising and getting some coffee, I checked weit (to see if Matthew had posted a Hili dialogue), and was happy to find last night’s message from the boss himself. Thanks for keeping us up on behaviors in the outside world.

  6. Sloppy mask wearing drives me round the bend. Since the start of the pandemic every time I’ve boarded a bus there has been at least one dolt wearing a mask over his mouth only. Do these fools believe they don’t breath through their noses? Properly wearing a mask is so simple, yet idiots (or inconsiderate jerks?) still can’t get it right.

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