Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Mile High Club

Ha!  I bet that title got your attention.  Calm down, it's not what you think.  I just wanted to peak your interest.

I recently took a couple of trips involving air travel and decided to spend some time on one of the flights to write a blog entry.  The catch here is that when I fly I take anxiety meds (hey, I used to get drunk like everyone else but having ulcers put the kabosh to that).  The following is what I wrote.  The only changes that have been made are fixing some pretty egregious typos.


So I thought I’d try something a little different for my next blog.  I’m currently on a flight from Boston to Chicago toward the goal of reaching New Orleans this evening.  The something a little different is not just the air-blogging.  It’s more the blogging while medicated.  I usually pop a couple of chill pills before boarding and from what I understand I seem fully functional if a little bit groggy.  Which is good.  I have to take people’s word for it, though, because I remember very little of my chill pill times.  So while it’s possible that nothing exciting will happen, I’m going to write this blog for myself as a little time capsule.

I was late to the airport because someone stole my cab at school.  I’m not talking about the big city idea of cab stealing where you hail the cab and then some jack hole jumps in and they take off.  I called for it at noon to pick me up at 3.  At 2:55 I was where I said I would be waiting.  Still there at 3 and now it’s kind of raining.  The reason I called a cab a priori (editor's note:  I managed to misspell the word plane twice but has no problem with a priori) rather than flag one down was that I didn’t have time to go hunting for an available cab.  So anyway, at 3:15 I talked to their dispatcher who was frankly puzzled since his driver had picked someone up at the assigned time and place.  I heard him berating the driver over the radio for not asking a name and then picking up a guy when the name was a woman’s name.  He tells me another cab will be sent.  The story fizzles from here because I was mad at the idiot cab driver but couldn’t take it out on my actual cab driver.  So I fumed my way through a ton of traffic and at least 2 near misses on my way to the airport.

Now I’m on the plane and aside from it being pretty bumpy there at the start it’s all good.  I can say that because of the chill pills.  Huppy and I are across the aisle from one another and must communicate by our own sign language.  This probably isn’t necessary except that I’ve decided it is and she’s really, really not good at reading lips.  I think it might be her disability.  Everyone has one.  I just told her I loved one of the flight attendants.  He's a round elderly Asian guy who moves with ruthless efficiency.  I conveyed this to her with a series of eye rolls and head tosses and then I drew a heart on my arm rest.  I think she got the message.  She didn’t stand up and ask if there was a doctor on board so that’s good.

Let’s talk about Huppy for a moment.  She’s still wearing her coat, has her headphones in and is thoughtfully staring in front of her.  No book, no laptop.  Just staring.  What’s going on in there?  Her hands are folded on the tray table in front of her.  Do people really do that?  Also, it’s always the tray table in front of you, never your tray table.  I wonder why.  Are the airlines trying to teach us about spatial relationships or do they think we’re dumb enough to try to monkey with the tray table in front of someone else.  I, for one,  am not interested in the sort of personal space violation that this would entail. 

The last flight I took from either MLI to ORD to ORD to BOS (memory problems, remember) had a serial farter on it.  It was a nightmare.  I overheard some people saying that the culprit was actually spraying deodorant after each episide in order to cover it.  While nice in theory I can say that in practice the poop particle dispersion rate was far superior to the deodorant’s.  For me, the deodorant part of that story will forever stay the stuff of rumor.

But that was not this flight.  This flight everything smells like peanuts.  It must be the snack of choice for high flying travelers.

The flight attendants keep bringing things back to the back of the plane.  Once it was a handheld grey box.  Now it was a tray held high with what looked like silverware wrapped up in a napkin.  I’m guessing we have a person back there who actually ordered an honest to goodness meal on the flight OR they’re setting up for an emergency tracheotomy. 

The woman in front of me just opened her flavored seltzer (the drink for people who hate taste) and it fizzed all over.  She held it in the aisle until it calmed down and then started whipping her arm around to fling off the seltzer that she got on herself.  So now I have selzer on my foot.  The thing that really ties it all together is that she’s wearing a raincoat.  Sitting in her seat.  On and airplane.  Apparently she knew she was sitting in a seltzer splash zone.  If I had known I would have worn galoshes.

Already I can see the benefit of this blog.  I can guarantee that without it I woudn’t have remembered why my right foot is sticky. (editor's note:  it's true - I didn't remember why my damned foot was sticky)

Other random thoughts:  sometimes compromising is the same as losing.  When I get up in the morning and stand at the train station it is in the mid to high 30’s.  I know that by the time I head home from work it willl be in the 60’s at least.  So I try to dress warmly enough so I’m not freezing in the morning but light enough that I don’t feel like bursting into flames in the afternoon.  This, it turns out, is not possible.  I know, you think the secret is layers.  That may be true for normal people but when I put clothes on in the morning I cannot later be held responsible for their location or how they get from one place to another unless it is on my body being worn as clothes.  So, my compromise is the same as losing because based on what I’m wearing there is a 15 minute window in the afternoon when I am dressed weather-appropriate.  Unfortunately I never get to savor that moment because I am in class at that time.  I think my new strategy is to dress whole heartedly for either the morning or afternoon temperatures and just suffer during the other one.  It adds up to about the same amount of misery and the compromise way but this time I have the added benefit of experiencing the part of the day where I get it right.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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