Not Gonna Fly

Not Gonna Fly

Someone tried to fly United with a pet peacock. Just when I thought attempting to fly with a mini-pig couldn’t be topped, this lady buys a ticket for her pet peacock, goes to the airport with it and claims it’s an emotional support animal.

I get it, flying is stressful. The long lines, random spot checks, being treated like a potential terrorist, limited leg room, three hundred passengers and only four common toilets, turbulence. It’s usually a manageable sort of stress, but some need a lot more help coping. Mostly it’s Benadryl and an eye mask, but the really special cases need an emotional support animal (ESA) – not to be confused with a service animal – along for the ride.

To fly with an ESA in tow is not an easy process. There is paperwork involved, including a note from a licensed mental health professional and the ESA needs to be registered with the airline at least two days before the flight. The animal is expected to be calm and well-behaved and United Airlines had warned her three times  that she and her stupid peacock would, for obvious reasons, be denied boarding. She showed up at the airport anyway.

The peacock in question has its own Instagram account and is named Dexter. Its owner is an artist, who specializes in performative tableaus, mostly about beauty. Dexter is a pet, not an ESA, and this incident highlights cases of people abusing the system by pretending they have a mental or emotional disability just to get their pet to fly with them for free.

Is this what we get for encouraging our children to dream big by telling them they’re special beings who can be anything they want to be?  Because this kind of delusional jackassery is a load of hooey. Just because you can be anything you want to be does not give you license to bring a giant peacock on a plane, even if you went ahead and bought it a ticket. It’s a fucking bird. If it needs to fly, it has wings. Emotional support peacock, my ass. Emotional support poppycock is more like it.

When it comes to ESAs, reaction is mixed. Some don’t believe they’re necessary, while others say the animals do help with anxiety  and depression. I think it depends on the person, but I’m not going to have a lot of understanding for you if you claim to derive some sort of emotional stability from a peacock.  That is bullshit. Go hug puppies like the rest of us. Hell, get a cat if you’re secretly masochistic, just don’t be a showy little shit who refuses to follow instructions or heed warnings  because you’re different and special and the rules don’t apply to you.

Why does everyone seem to either come from the Planet of Woe is Me or the Galaxy of Here I Come these days? I could just be old(er) and a little less hip, but can we please stop indulging people who’ve jumped on the bandwagon marked Free Rides for Wannabe Unique People Who Love Being Extra? It’s indulgent and symptomatic of a culture that relies on too much validation to get through the day. Can’t we all just stiffen our upper lips, straighten our spines, pop a few pills and knock back some scotch like they did in the fifties? People may have been alcoholic and chemically dependent back then, but at least they kept their messiness in check.

Sometimes it feels like people have forgotten how to be considerate. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like if United Airlines hadn’t stuck to its guns? The clucking, the spontaneous showboating, the threat of  random bird poop. What a nightmare. I am so annoyed by this. It’s all a stunt and a bid for attention because this was clearly done by a fame whore with absolutely no shame, and I’m mad at myself for falling into the trap of talking about it.

United We Fall

United We Fall

A routine exercise in booting people off an overbooked flight in an attempt to have standby staff flown to Louisiana turned into a farce of major proportions, when one guy decided to do a Rosa Parks and stand up, or in this case, sit down, for his rights. He refused to move, so United Airlines could have seats for staff that needed to fly to Louisiana, likely a last-minute reassignment for them to crew another plane.

I suppose United’s decision to do this made sense to them in a twisted sort of way: they owned the plane, it was their crew, they could do what they wanted provided they gave the affected passengers compensation and an alternate trip back. Their house, their rules. It’s like a customer refusing to leave a restaurant even after being offered a free meal and fare for a cab ride home despite the repeated requests of its owner. Is the owner supposed to just throw his hands up in the air and let the customer have his way, or does he sic law enforcement on the offending party instead?

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