Megan DeVere

Megan DeVere is a student majoring in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at The King’s College, NYC. She is also a freelance writer who is always open to sharing her thoughts and opinions on current world affairs. She has political work experience as a Field Coordinator for a presidential campaign, as well as managing a state legislative race. You can follow her on twitter.

Enjoy Your Flight

With peak summer vacation season here at last, it is important to remind passengers about safety and security steps in place for air travel. One can never be too prepared for flying; after all, regulations tend to vary from day to day and it is important to remain a step ahead of any changes in order to guarantee a smooth and enjoyable flight. Please take a few moments to review the industry list of simple steps in order to prepare for a safe and uneventful journey to your vacation destination.

It is essential for the long-haul passenger to start her trip by becoming physically prepared the night before departure. It seems to be the most common practice is to go to bed early in the hope that she will wake up fresh and ready for boarding. Of course, as this practice usually serves to keep the traveler wide awake late into the night, one might justify this occurrence as a means of preparing for the nap she will most certainly receive on the plane.

Secondly, it is important that each passenger pack his suitcase to roughly 15% beyond capacity. After all, people must take the utmost care to ensure they have packed a pair of shoes for every outfit. It is also necessary for the traveler to bring several large, hard-back books in order to stimulate cerebral development. One or two weeks of relaxation can certainly be enough time to read several large novels, the Bible, or several intellectual magazines. The active reader can never be over- stimulated in flight. Besides, this is a great opportunity for airline security staff to practice searching and repacking over-stuffed baggage.

When a passenger arrives at the airline check- in counter, he must bring at least six stimulating questions for the ticketing attendant. For example, “Is my suitcase too large to carry on the airplane if it doesn’t fit the overhead bin measurements?” And, “Is it possible for my checked luggage to be free of charge because my situation is unexplainably different than everyone else’s?” And, we cannot forget, “Can my dog sit in the seat next to me for free?” This traveler must be certain the line is extremely long and slow in order to enable all waiting passengers to hear these questions, and hopefully, learn the answers for themselves as well.

When processing through security, it is important for each passenger to wear lace-up shoes that are difficult to remove. This choice is safest in the unlikely event of an emergency landing. This may hold up the security line for hours because of the added time needed for removing and replacing shoes but it will set a positive example of policy compliance to impatient passengers. In addition, leaving small metal objects in pockets will test the equipment of security staff and keep them proficient at their task. Utilize the metal detector at least five times to verify that every metal object has been identified by security staff.

For general airport safety and security purposes, passengers must keep an eye on their luggage at all times. Make sure to spread your bags out over all available seating within the boarding area. Sacrificing available seats for the protection of personal belongings is a safety issue that the F.A.A. takes very seriously. It is also important that each and every passenger approach the gate attendant and ask the same exact question as the previous person in line; this is a great way to preemptively understand any information that will be released over the intercom at a later time. Making sure your tone is particularly monotone and stern will reveal to the gate attendant that you are interested in any valuable information they can provide.

Prior to boarding, we ask that all passengers congregate around the jet bridge doors, regardless of aisle number or frequent flyer club membership. When the gate attendant announces over the intercom that the aircraft is ready to board–beginning with first class–it is vital that all passengers, regardless of seat row, crowd the jet bridge. The best seat on the plane, your seat, must be obtained quickly and with any use of force necessary.

Lastly, the airline industry would like to remind our weary travelers that passenger comfort is our number one priority. While boarding the flight, make sure to take additional time getting your luggage into the overhead compartments. If your bag doesn’t fit, don’t worry! Simply shut the compartment door down as hard as possible, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. It will close over tightly fit luggage perfectly. Remember to spread out, recline your seat, and get cozy. Lift the armrest between seats; this is an excellent way to make new friends.

On behalf of all airlines, we would like to thank you for following these simple steps to ensure smooth and safe travels during this busy season. Stay safe and enjoy your vacation.

To Wash Away the Fear

In an attempt to face my fear of dying a tragic death by drowning, I finally made the decision to step into the deep, dark abyss that is the Pacific Ocean. In many Washington coastal towns, surfing is the primary activity of the college drop-outs and snarky old hippies. They are the carefree, fearless saltwater-junkies who permeate the coastal surfing elite. I made up my mind that I was going to learn how to surf knowing full well that this was going to be one of the most frightening experiences of my life.

The Puget Sound: a terrifying sight.

I have been afraid of water ever since I almost drowned back in 1995. I had been with a friend, jumping off a dock in Puget Sound. I dove in deep, somehow getting my legs caught in seaweed ten feet underwater. I remember feeling like time had stopped; I attempted to untangle myself, wondering if this was where my life would end. I managed to get free and swim to the surface, only to join the masses of crazy people who share endless lists of phobias. Water became my great trepidation. I wouldn’t go near a hot-tub without my bright orange “floaties.”

I made the decision to deal with my fear of water when I met my “ex-pat” hippie friend, John Swallart. John had spent years living in grass huts in the Hunan province of China, surfing by day and acid tripping by night. He decided to retire from his life of leisure when he was found half-dead in a ditch from a high gone wrong. He has since made millions of dollars selling sandals manufactured from organic materials. John is the one who told me to “get over it, and get wet!” He inspired me to face my fears. I had spent the last fifteen years in a semi-panicked state having had many nightmares of my demise down in the tangled, finger-like reeds. I decided to turn over a new leaf and conquer my fear; I refused to accept the fearful plight of humanity.

What is it about experiencing fear, be it completely mesmerizing or just a slight annoyance, that makes a person lose their ability to be rational? Perhaps it is the myth of losing one’s capability to choose how to react to danger. Obviously a man who is afraid of heights can choose to step out on a balcony and look down, but does he know that he is capable of this or is he just too stupid to make the decision? I wonder if it is achievable to overlook the first hint of danger as merely an anomaly, a glitch in our ability to react to a situation — like déjà-vu, or a frozen computer screen. In my case, the water was my heights, the long board was my balcony, and my fear was paralyzing. Fortunately for me there was someone with me who threatened to pick me up and toss me into the water at the first sign of reluctance.

I ornamented myself in full surfer attire. I wore a head to toe wetsuit, water shoes, wetsuit cap, and yes, floaties — just in case. I looked like a deformed seal. John was with me, leading me into the water by the hand and holding my long board with his other arm. I stopped a few times, completely gripped by old terrors, memories of past nightmares, and all of those feelings that make you want to stop trusting anyone and anything. John continued to coax me deeper into the water, telling me about his own problems in “the good ole’ days,” before A.A., and before he had to pay outrageous taxes. Somehow, I made it to where I was up to my neck in water — it happened so fast. I was on the long board, clinging for dear life, coasting towards the beach. As if my whole life were meant for this moment, I felt all of my fear wash away with the waves and salty mist beneath me.