Tag Archives: invasion of privacy

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Jet

Private Jet – OO la la

Last week I was offered the unprecedented opportunity to hitch a ride on a friend’s private jet heading to Seattle. My response was “hell yeah, count me in!” It was quite luxurious, but I’m afraid it sort of ruined me for regular commercial air travel.

Mr. Hubman dropped me off at the friend’s house to ride with him and his girlfriend to the local private airport. Holy Cow, this guy in full driver gear including a chauffer’s hat shows up in a limo, loads our bags in the car, held our hand while we entered the vehicle and delivers us to the tarmac right at the foot of the stairs to the plane.

Cruzing in the Jet

Happy Me

Then another bevy of men surrounded us, helped us out of the car and escorted us onto the plane. Some of them took our baggage out of the car and loaded it directly into the cargo hold of the plane. We didn’t have to lift a finger. The jet was an eight seater which consisted of 8 leather captain’s chairs, which swiveled so we could sit around and face each other like we were in a living room just hanging out.

We did not have to haul our luggage into the airport, stand in line for an hour to check bags, stand in line for another hour just to get violated by overzealous TSA scrutiny or any of the other facts of life when flying via commercial transportation. From the time we entered the airport until the time we were in the air was a grand total of 15 minutes.

As I sat there sipping wine and enjoying cheese, crackers and fruit, I thought “I could get used to this. What a life.” This is probably not going to be a regular part of my life, but I sure enjoyed every minute of it while we were traveling.

Mt Rainier

Mt. Rainier From the Air

When we took off it wasn’t like a commercial plane where the plane lumbers, rattles and lurches its way up into the air and takes 30 minutes to get to a cruising altitude. This jet took off and went straight up. It was a good thing we were wearing a 3 point harness instead of the usual pitiful excuse for a seat-belt. In about 5 minutes we were up at a cruising altitude of somewhere above 40,000 feet, which is well above commercial air traffic.

Being up that high there is pretty much no turbulence at all. The little monitor that the copilot set up for us indicated that we were traveling at almost 600 mph, which equates to .88 of Mach speed. It was an interesting tidbit of knowledge to know that we were almost at the sound barrier. I was tempted to yell “faster, faster!”

The trip to Seattle took less than 3 hours as opposed to the 8 hours it took me to get home yesterday via Southwest Airlines, with a plane delay and a layover in Albuquerque, New Mexico – an airport which apparently rolls up the sidewalks at 8:00 pm. There was nothing open except a tiny bar where they were announcing last call. I grabbed a quickie gin and tonic before the final leg of the trip.

So I’m spoiled now to commercial flying, but so what? I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to do something that may be a once in a life time event just because it may never happen to me again. That would just be downright silly.

Down With Cyber-Bullies – And Bullies of All Types

cyber stalkerA lovely young woman blogger I follow has decided to stop blogging because of a cyber-stalker.  He recognized her picture and lives in the same town as her.  This just breaks my heart in so many ways. It also makes me white hot furious. A bully got away with shutting her down, silencing her voice, cutting her off from her blogger community.

She tried blocking his posts, but he would just create a new WordPress account and pick up where he left off. From the tone of the comments written by this person it is obvious that he is a disturbed individual. He claims that her posts are derogatory and aimed directly at him. Her posts are almost fluffy bunny on average, so one would have to really work on it to find something to be angry about.

Her replies to his comments are along the lines of “I’m not talking about you; please stop making comments on my blog.”  I don’t want to fall in the trap of blaming the victim, but my first question is “why do you allow these inappropriate comments to remain on your blog in the first place? It’s your blog – you make the rules.” Delete the comments and change your settings so that every comment has to be approved before posting.

Usually the best response to a bully is no response, if at all possible. It reminds me of a problem my daughter once had with getting creepy phone calls from a heavy breather of the “hey baby, what are wearing?” variety. She would go off on in him, yell, call him names, and order him to stop calling her. That didn’t work, of course. I finally convinced her to just hang up the phone and not respond at all. It worked, he wasn’t getting what he wanted and stopped calling her.

Now if the bully knows who you are and where you live that is a whole new ball game. At that point it’s time to start documenting every incident and then consider fighting back. One thing that bullies take advantage of is the fact that you are scared, maybe too scared to do anything about the bullying. Unfortunately it’s often so true. But it’s OK to be scared and still take steps to protect yourself.

I had a cyber-stalker many years ago before there was caller ID. So I never knew what I was going to hear when I answered the phone. He was a mean twisted SOB. He even figured out where I worked and sent me, via my work e-mail, photo shopped pictures where he had pasted pictures of my face on the body of a nude woman engaged in particularly raunchy sexual activities. He threatened to send the pictures to my boss and co-workers. He also informed me that, with my help, we were going to repopulate the lost 13th tribe of Israel. “Uh, thanks, but no thanks.”

Needless to say I was terrified, mortified, horrified, ossified and every other adjective that ends with fied. But I decided to get one step ahead of him. I went to my boss and explained what was going on and what this person was threatening to do. I was in tears and bordering on hysterics. But, he was much more understanding than I thought he would be. He was also outraged. It turns out his friend’s teen-aged daughter was going through the same thing. He ordered an increase in security at the front desk and a crack down on people walking in saying they left their badge at their desk, or home, etc. As far as I know the creep never sent the pictures. If he did, no one told me. And for that I am grateful.

I was one of the lucky ones. Lucky in that I filed a police report and they took me seriously. Double lucky in that I had a couple a friends in the military who worked in the cyber-security department. I told them what was going on and they took up the crusade banner with remarkable chivalry. They also told me to “not worry my pretty head” and that I would never hear from him again. They were partially wrong. I did hear from him one more time. I received a FIVE PAGE apology email in which he apologized to me, my ancestors, my descendants, and anyone who I happen to randomly interact with in my daily life. Then I never heard from him again.

I asked these guys what they did. They said that someone had paid him a little visit, but if they gave me the details they would have to kill me. Ah, military humor at its finest. It is good to have powerful friends. But, even if you don’t have powerful friends, hopefully you do have friends to help you through the rough times. And please stand up for yourself. You deserve it. If you don’t take that first step, the bully wins.

%d bloggers like this: