"The Accidental Tourist" is a lesson written by Bill Bryson. The narrator says that he is bad at almost everything in the world. He narrates an incident that happened at an airport. While looking for the privilege card in his carry-on bag, its zip gets stuck, he ends up ripping it open and drops its contents (including his valued tobacco tin) on the floor. When he sees the blood on his finger, he becomes hysterical.
The narrator recounts three other incidents that took place on a plane. Firstly, when the narrator leans over to tie his shoelace, the man before him pushes his back seat on a reclining state, trapping the narrator in a crash position. Secondly, the narrator drops his drink on the lap of a nun, "a sweet little lady", two times in a row. The lady mutters a curse in public. Thirdly, during the narrator's worst experience, he sucks on his pen and ends with a blue stain all over his mouth. Unaware, he chats with an attractive lady and throws witty remarks to show off his intelligence. So, to avoid such mishaps on a plane, the narrator doesn’t drink, eat, or bring his hands near his face. He also sits on his hands to keep them from moving.

Finally, the narrator explains how he never earned enough flyer miles, although everyone he knew were travelling first-class to Bali. He could never record his journey for various reasons: he would misplace his card, or the clerk would fail to document his journey. Or else, the clerk would inform him that he was not eligible for the points.

He recites one final incident to demonstrate his troubles with the flyer miles. When he presented his card before his flight to Australia, the clerk rejected it stating that the names on the card and the ticket were different. While the card had W. Bryson on it, the ticket had B. Bryson printed on it. Though he tried to explain how the two initials were related, the clerk disregarded it.
The narrator concludes the lesson by saying that the lack of flyer miles was for the better as he may not be able to travel a long distance without eating anything.
The Accidental Tourist