Topic: "Frodo And Truckers (2)"
Air Transportation in Middle Earth is managed almost as well as it is designed. That, more than anything else, explains why nearly every Airline is either in Chapter XI Bankruptcy, planning to file, or is recently released. The management of these entities could be in the White House, and everybody would still think we are led by stumblebums.
Atlanta is home to the most heavily-traveled airport in all the world, with only Chicago as a serious contender as number two. Atlanta is also home to Delta Airlines, once the crown jewel of efficiency, customer satisfaction, and corporate vision. Frodo and Sam, on the advice of Clark Howard, and based on their own experience, have now returned from their round-trip to visit Bilbo for Birthday Number 88, via Southwest Airlines in-and-out of Birmingham, Alabama. They saved more than $500, and they were not threatened by a pilots' strike. That would not have been the case had they flown via the more convenient surroundings of Delta and its' "Hub" system out of Atlanta.
Frodo and Sam parked their motorcar in the remote lots at Birmingham, and paid the $56 fee when they departed Birmingham last evening. They had landed at the ungodly hour of 12:15 AM CDT, and headed directly home to the Shire, where they arrived at the pre-dawn awakenings of 4:30 AM EDT. It cost about $350 to keep Mick (the Wonder Dog), Fiona, and Georgia at Camp Kennel, and another $100 for Miss Ellyn to watch over Mr. Beau Neau and Sydney. So, by driving to Birmingham and departing non-stop via Southwest, the maintenance of the non-traveling members of the Shire was covered. The dodo-heads at Delta don't have a clue.
Aside from the management issues, Frodo and Sam were alone on an Interstate Highway in the American South in the middle of the night, again. The radio is an absolute dream of long-forgotten ballads and harmonious outpourings from artists of the genre. The fellow travelers are law enforcement officers and truckers. As Frodo approached one from the rear he would ensure that he was within the 10 MPH "grace limit" and continue his trek eastward, with a nervous Sam encouraging him not to risk the ire of Alabama's finest.
The Truckers are a different story, and Frodo remembered an erstwhile "rule of the road." When approaching from the rear, and once in the left lane to pass, it is polite to blink onto high beam for just a moment to signal the long-hauler that one is about to pass. Once you have cleared the long-hauler, he/she will blink onto high beam to tell you that you are clear to return to the right-hand lane.
Frodo has not practiced this in more than thirty years, but last night, on I-20, he did so, and about one out of every three truckers responded. "The times," as Bob Dylan sang just outside Pell City, "they are a' changin'." Frodo sang all of the words with Arlo Guthrie, and Sam smiled at the "Native Son." And, if the mood strikes you, there is always a "Waffle House" nearby, and someone to say "Come in dahlin', sit a spell."