Traveling in 21st Century
By John Norberg, humor columnist s

As we pass through the final days of April and head into May everyone is thinking summer. The kids will soon be out of school and the weather will eventually be beautiful.

It's time for families to start thinking about their summer travel plans. That means fun, togetherness, creating memories and experiencing huge hassles getting where we're going.

I'm so old that I can remember when travel was wonderful. We got on trains and at night our seats were turned into comfortable beds. We relaxed and read and talked as we traveled. We went to glass observation cars and watched the scenery. We dined on excellent food at our leisure and arrived at our destination relaxed and ready to go.

Even airplane travel was luxurious years ago. In those days airplane passenger seats were actually bigger than we were. There was enough room between rows of seats for our knees. We were served a meal instead of peanuts and we even got a whole can of Coke instead of a tiny glass filled with ice and an ounce of soft drink.

In those days people dressed-up when they flew on airplanes. Today it looks like everyone is wearing pajamas.

Of course the hardest thing about travel today is just getting to the gate at the airport. There are lines and securities checks. We have to take off half our clothes, put everything through a scanner and then get dressed again on the other side.

Be the time we reach our destination we're exhausted and we need a vacation. We also need a vacation to rest up because coming back we're going to have to go through everything all over again.

I don't know where all this is going. But I have a pretty good idea:

Man: "Madam, can I see your boarding pass and driver's license, please?"

Woman: "What are you talking about? I don't have a boarding pass."

Man: "I'm sorry ma'am. I am not permitted to allow you to go any further without a boarding pass and a valid driver's license."

Woman: "But I'm your wife. And I'm not getting on an airplane. I'm getting into the car and we're taking a driving vacation to visit my mother."

Man: "I put your boarding pass in your bag. Here it is. Everything looks in order. Now, are you checking your bag today or will you carry it on inside the car?"

Woman: "My bag is sitting in the garage waiting for you to put it in the trunk."

Man: "I see. You're checking your bag then. I have to information you that if it's over 30 pounds I will have to charge you extra. I'm also going to need to inspect the contents. Would you please open your luggage and take your computer out of its carrying case and turn it on. I'll need you to take off your shoes and your belt, remove your coat and please be sure you have nothing in your pockets. Please move along as quickly as possible. There's a line of people waiting behind you."

Woman: "Those people waiting behind me would be our children."

Man: "I'll need to see their driver's licenses."

Woman: "They're 6, 8, and 10 years old."

Man: "I don't make the rules ma'am."

An hour later after getting everyone into the car they're ready to go.

Driver: "Good morning and welcome to our car. We are traveling to grandma's house this morning. If your destination is not grandma's you are in the wrong car. We'll be traveling at 70 miles per hour and we expect to pull into the gate at grandma's house right on time. Before we take off would you please turn off your cell phones and all other electronic devices?"

Girl: "Dad! I have to call my friends."

Boy: "I have to play my electronic games."

Driver: "Once we are on the interstate you can use your electronic devices as long as they are in 'driving' mode."

Girl: "There is no 'driving' mode on our electronic devices."

Driver: "Exactly. So you can't use them. Shortly after we take off water will be available free of charge. However, there are no restrooms in this car and since I don't intend to stop until we reach our destination I advise you not to drink anything. If you get hungry there are snacks you can purchase with your credit cards."

Boy: "We don't have credit cards."

Driver: "Exactly. As I said, there are no restrooms and we're not stopping no matter how much you plead. Please enjoy your drive today. I know you have no other choices beside me when we drive to grandma's house but I still appreciate your business."

Woman: "Business?"

Driver: "You didn't think I was doing this for free, did you?"

Woman: "Next time I'm taking the bus"

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