Botox because of this, I can’t handle an upright position. Since sleep isn’t happening I settle for ignoring those around me, especially if I’m flying with family, and/or screaming children. In order to facilitate this, I have my personal item. No, not the first personal item that was so heavy the straps almost broke. My second one contains a book, a pillow, ear buds, thick socks, a drink, and an eye mask. If you check the fine print, as long as you don’t cart on Bleach Volumes 1-379, these items don’t count towards restrictions. With hours to kill I meander through the airport and look at the exhibits.
The first class passengers.
Don’t you hate how they look at us, like we’re nothing but petty pathetic peons who don’t deserve to share the same airspace as them? Sure, in an emergency landing they’ll be on rafts instead of huddled on the wings, yet they look so smug I’m tempted to scream, “Might I remind you the Pets.com people flew first class, too, and where are they now? Oh, yeah, that’s right, it no longer exists, just like American job security.”
But I’m too classy to do that.
Settling into coach, I took off my faux feather earrings, wrapped them in the 3 toilet seat liners I lifted from SFO, and waited for something to annoy me, which didn’t take long at all. Instead of finally reading Devil in the White City a whole year after no fewer than 3 librarians recommended it to me, I’m so nauseated by the constant movement of the plane that I give up and put on my eye mask. Big mistake. My eye mask is just a little too tight, something an ophthalmologist wouldn’t recommend, but hey, it was free with purchase. As we near our late landing at O’Hare, the flight attendant begins reading off the list of connecting gates. Mine is not read. Looking at my printout I discover I only have 20 minutes to get off the plane and get to my gate. Bringing the paper up front, American Airlines give me a reason to write yet another letter to company head quarters.
The flight attendant doesn’t know how to read the ticket.
That’s right. This nincompoop (and I don’t say that lightly) tries to convince me that the time on the ticket is actually the date (“It’s June 6, 2005? Really?”) and that my boarding time is 6:50. To which I ask, “How can board at 6:50 when my flight leaves at 6:20?” Instead of arguing with her, I race off the plane into Concourse H and latch onto the first person in an airline uniform, who correctly directs me to Concourse K. Problem is, I can’t really see. Everything past 15 feet is blurry, meaning I’m walking, as fast as one can in heels---they were easier to wear than to pack---and hoping its in the right direction since I couldn’t read the signs. I shouldn’t have worried. Being so late meant I could have simply followed the voice. That’s right, I am so close to missing my flight that my name is being paged. Badly, of course, but paged none the less. I ‘m limping as fast as I can thanks to the earlier ankle injury, and when I get there they grab my bag, place a valet tag onto it, hustle me into the plane and shut the door.
Having booked a completely different flight, I was assuming I was going from one big plane to another plane. OMG, nothing could have been further from the truth. This was some American Eagle you-should-have-flown-Southwest-teeny-tiny itty-bitty 34 passenger plane. The plane was so small it looked like a 747 gave birth to it. While I'll admit to dreaming about being in a plane that small, the dream involved me owning it and having my own massage room, not sharing the space with 33 other doomed people as we fall smack dab to earth. The flight attendant aboard told me they had changed my seat assignment and, “You’re now on an exit row. Should you not be able to perform your duties we can reassign you.” Which made me think, “Exit row? Can I exit out of it now and board a real plane?”
I strap myself in and start my inner dialogue which went something like this:
“I’m going to die!"
About 5 minutes later I realize I’m getting hot. My calf is against the emergency exit door, and it’s hot outside, therefore I’m hot, and after studying the seat in front of me I realize it's simply a floatation device and there’s no parachute attached. Then we hit turbulence, the captain told us to stay in our seats and I started thinking:
Suffice to say, we landed safely.