I haven’t blogged about my travels this summer, but I’ll get around to it eventually. Some complicated stories to tell – this past week I attended the premiere of a piece of mine on the steps of City Hall in Alameda, California. Was it a political event? Well, sort of.

But more on that later — right now I want to spleenify about the deterioration of airline service.

For my Oakland-to-Phoenix flight last week, the ticket agent handed me 12 boarding passes to cover all of the connections – but didn’t give me a little foldover envelope to hold them in. Turns out the airlines have decided to save money by not giving away any more of their little foldover envelopes.

So now I have the first-hand experience to report that it’s hard work keeping twelve boarding passes organized when you haven’t planned for it.

Once on board, as everyone knows, they are now charging for drinks. Not just the alcoholic kind, but juice and water, too. (Never mind that on my six-hour cross-country flight over dinnertime, they were charging for food as well. Fortunately, the cost didn’t have any effect on me – because they ran out of food by the time they got to my seat!)

But getting back to Oakland-Phoenix: all of the preceding annoyances would have been bearable if it hadn’t been for the screen I had in front of my face showing nothing but commercials for two solid hours. I didn’t have the option of turning it off. I felt like one of those bloated post-humans in Wall-E, strapped to my chair and sedated with an endless stream of emptily seductive images.

Don’t even get me started on the two hours of screaming baby I had to endure.

Oh wait, there was no screaming baby – that was me.

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