Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Plane Tired of Carrying-On

In the past 2 months I have been on 18 airplane rides...  I just counted them.  That is insanely ridiculous.  Every time I get a cramp or feel a twitch in my leg or arm, I fear it's deep vein thrombosis.  I just re-counted how many flights it actually was and it still came out to 18....nuts.

I can never sleep the night before flying because I'm always scared I will forget to pack those last minute items that I still need in the morning: toothbrush, deodorant, phone charger, make-up. I write down a list of the things I need to pack in the morning and I lie awake at night re-reading the list in my head over and over again. Heaven forbid I think of something new that I hadn't written down and you can forget about me sleeping for the night.  You'd think I would learn to sleep next to a pen and paper by now... Trevor on the other hand, doesn't worry about a thing.  He  will be doing laundry up until 10 minutes before leaving.  He'll open up the dryer and throw a crumpled load of laundry into a suit case, zip it up, and head for the car.... hence why he packed only 2 non-matching socks to Denmark.  This last trip Trevor made it to New Jersey, opened up his suitcase, then realized he had packed the TV remote control. 

I always wear socks when I fly because I hate taking off my shoes and walking barefoot on those mats going through security.  Think of all the millions of people who walk on those mats everyday!  Nobody washes them!  I'm not a big germ-a-phobe, don't get me wrong, I'll eat food off the floor, I'll go without showering for a couple days on a weekend, but I will not walk barefoot through an airport security gate on those stinky foot-fungus mats.

I always get cash from the ATM before going on a trip.  I don't know why, it just feels like something I have  to do.

I always get a ginger ale to drink on the plane.  As a child I would always get ginger ale on family vacations.  Now I just associate that taste with airplane rides.  I don't drink ginger ale any other time.

I try not to talk to anyone if I'm traveling alone.  I like minding my own business and getting lost in a good book.  I've read 3 on the last set of flights:  When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris; Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern; and Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks.   All highly recommended for a quick read and some lite humor.....  OK the last one is a sappy romance one and not really funny, but it is a quick read.  I especially liked "Sh*t My Dad Says"  and even though it sounds vulgar and a lot of the stories and quotes have curse words in it, it really is a nice book.  

I did a pretty good job of avoiding casual conversations with strangers, but there were a few encounters that did stand out:

1) An old Asian man who didn't speak English was sitting behind me at the terminal gate.  He tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around.  He pointed to his wrist, then pointed to his boarding pass, then opened his hands, palms up, and shrugged his shoulders...the universal sign of "what?" "huh?" "I dunno?" This man is obviously asking what time is it and are they starting to board his flight.  It really reminded me of being in Denmark and having to decipher what foreign people were saying based on their body language.  I showed him the time on my cell phone, then pointed to the boarding time on his boarding pass, then pointed out that he was going to Boston and this flight is going to Los Angeles.  I couldn't help but talk through the whole explanation even though I was pretty sure he had no idea what i was saying.  Regardless he smiled big, said something I couldn't understand, and sorta bowed his head in thanks.

2) On one of my flights leaving Santa Barbara, I spot my seat a few rows back.  The plane is small, only 2 seats on either side of the aisle.  There is an attentive older guy in the window seat with meticulously gelled hair and thick black rim glasses.  I take my aisle seat next to him and he immediately puts his arm around me and gives me a little "hey buddy" hug and starts chatting.... "Do you get as nervous about flying as I do?!" he asks with a femininely homosexual accent.  Before I can even answer he is already going on and on about how much he hates flying,  how much he fears terrorists, how he knows he's going to die in a plane crash, and how he has an irrational fear of heights. This is going to be a GREAT flight.  He's fidgeting and tapping his feet and hands and moving around like a squirrel on crack and will not stop talking.  For the sanity of myself and the other passengers I can't just sit here and read my book, I need to get this guy to shut up or at least talk about something else besides plane crashes.  I ask him about where he's going (a nephew's wedding), about where he's from (Long Island), about how he got to Santa Barbara,  about what he does, about the weather.... running out of ideas.... The plane starts speeding up for take-off... The guys grabs my arm mumbling "Oh my god, oh my god... I can't do this. I can't do this."  He slinks down in his chair, still tapping his feet and holds his head in one hand.  I look over at him and he is soaked in sweat and pale in the face and shaking like a mad man.  He wipes his face and reaches up to try to frantically screw open the air vent... but he's unscrewing the light instead and the light bulb falls on his lap and he freaks out a little more.  He scutters under his chair and pulls out a container of pills.  He takes I don't know how many and within a couple minutes he is completely knocked out.  And I finally can read my book in peace.......

3) On my flight from North Carolina to New Jersey I sat next to an elderly woman who's probably in her 70s.  She says "hello" and I say "hello," then I pull out my book and she pulls out her sudoku.  We go on that way until we hear the announcement that we are starting our initial descent.  Then she starts talking.  She's from Pennsylvania but her daughter lives in North Carolina and has two kids of her own.  She was just down there visiting and is now heading to New Jersey to visit her cousin. I ask her some questions about what her daughter does and she goes on about how her girl moved to the south and started working up the corporate ladder.  She is talking pretty loud to try to overcome the airplane noise and completely oblivious to the fact that the majority of the people on the plane are from the south she continues to talk about how southern girls are really slow and lazy and that it was easy for her to grow her career with minimal effort.  She goes on to say that her daughter would tell her that her female co-workers would always make remarks about "them damn yankee chicks comin' down here and stealing our jobs and running off with our men!" It was pretty funny but slightly embarrassing and I was hoping the flight people wouldn't take offense.  She wasn't embarrassed though so I decided I didn't care.  The plane landed, people started unloading, I helped the old lady get her bag out of the overhead compartment, and she looks at me and says, "You have yourself a good life honey!"

...I'll try...


Trevor said...

Well the company didn't specify how remotely I could control.

Colleen said...

haha, good one trev....thats hilarious about the nervous guy!

Bridget said...

hahaha, yeah your #2 encounter made me laugh out loud!

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