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The Column

Flying Forward

I was very tired this morning. I woke up after three hours of sleep for a flight that left much earlier than it would have had the scheduling people consulted with me first. But I still managed to avoid being an idiot.

People constantly don't think ahead. I don't mean a month ahead or a day ahead or an hour ahead. People don't think a minute ahead. For example, some of you don't even realize how funny this column is going to get just six paragraphs down.

A car cut me of while I was on my way to the airport, only to get caught behind someone making a left turn. I breezed by in the now vacant right lane. It was fun to watch the car in my rear view mirror. It was even more fun when it happened to another car within a block. That's right - even glancing behind me, I was still able to think ahead.

I don't understand people who leave windows open when they leave the house and wonder why it's cold when they get back. I don't understand people who don't close the potato chip bag and wonder why they all the chips are stale. I don't understand people who watch Dr. Phil and wonder why they got bogus weight loss advice from a phony doctor that's a real fat guy. That's right - I said it.

Life is cause and effect. The longer you live, the more causes you should learn to produce your desired effects. My first flight touched down, and there was a full ten minutes between arriving at the gate and the row in front of mine deplaning. But a woman in front of me waited until no one else was in front of her to get her bag down. I know I was only delayed by thirty seconds. But those are thirty seconds I could have used to take cheap shots at television personalities.

Why would she not get her bag while she was waiting for that ten minutes? You have two jobs when you deplane from a plane you have previously planed: gather your belongings and leave. Since she was unable to levitate (I'm assuming), she couldn't leave while there were dozens of people in front of her. So the logical thing to do would be beginning work on her other job.

I tried to imagine a scenario in her head where not getting her bag would be the right choice.

"There are several people behind me who look like they're in a hurry. My bag is within arms reach. There is room for my bag to sit next to me once I retrieve it. I have several minutes before I can start moving forward, and there is nothing to keep me otherwise occupied. I do not know how to levitate. Therefore, I should…oooh, shiny.”

That's the best I could come up with.

While driving last week, I noticed a bright orange car on the interstate. And not just because redheads gravitate to all things orange. It was an orange Dodge Neon with a spoiler - the very same kind of car I'd rented a few weeks earlier. I have a philosophy that while renting a car, I get the kind of car I would never own myself. Like when I rented a Kia Rio. I'd never buy one on my own because I like cars with engines.

But this orange car was also noticeable because the driver made it do crazy things. Like go 90 in a 55. And get stuck behind two trucks. And go 90 again. And get stuck again. And speed into a line of cars at a toll booth. Without realizing that though the truck line seems longer, it contains fewer vehicles.

I know all of this because the entire time, I was on cruise control at 63 miles per hour while passing and being passed by a Neon-drathal alternating between 90 and 45. Until we came to the toll plaza twenty minutes after I first noticed the car, I didn't hit my breaks once. I drove through the toll ahead of the Orange-utan (was that stretching?) and watched as he faded in my rear view mirror, stuck behind a dozen drivers not forward thinking enough to fish for change before they got to the booth.

Of course, I'm not perfect. If I truly had foresight, I'd have booked a later flight this morning.

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