There are a few things I do because they are necessary and inescapable. Physical exams, root canals on my teeth and flying…don’t forget that. If I had a choice of flying or being run over by a fast cyclist, I believe I’d take getting run over!
Unfortunately, getting run over by a cyclist will not get me rapidly from one place to another, so I must fly. I know I should have paid more attention in science class and if necessary, I’ll take a make-up exam now if it will help, but so far, no one has been able to tell me to my satisfaction how that giant, heavy machine can stay in the air like that. A balloon, maybe, but not a plane.
In spite of all my misgivings, getting to a family wedding this week made it necessary for me to get on not one, but two planes. There were some handicaps involved in this enterprise, the main one being my tendency to make wrong choices, and the other being that I was wearing glasses that were ten years old. Why, you might ask, was I not wearing my current prescription which would have allowed me to properly read airport signs? Well, because this last week I made a wrong choice in laying my good glasses down and the dog made an even worse choice in eating them!
With this handicap, I spent a lot of time peering through these old glasses and asking random people, “Is that Gate T17 down there? Do you see any bathrooms listed down there? Is the Sioux Falls flight on this baggage carousel?” Not the best way to make friends and influence people, I assure you!
Once I actually got a ticket and checked my bag, I had the joy of security, but there, surprisingly, I generally have pretty good luck. They take one look at me with my hair hanging in my face, my handbag slung around my neck and my boarding pass in my mouth and they decide that I’m probably not a threat—a terrorist threat anyway. This time, however, they ran my hand luggage through their scanner and decided it needed a further check. What red-flagged it? The fact that I had the papers I was correcting for school all neatly paper clipped—with those giant, oversized clips—a lot of them.
After deciding that my research papers on the Grapes of Wrath were probably not a threat to national security, they sent me on my way. The next step is always the hardest because I like to be there early. What do I do with all that time on my hands? Sometimes I read, sometimes I write and sometimes I just watch the people coming over to join my flight group, trying to determine what a terrorist would look like and making bets with myself about how close to me the couple with the fussy baby will be sitting; ordinarily, it’s somewhere within a row of me!
This particular time, I got a ticket for a middle seat. For a woman of my size, a middle seat is a torture test, not just for me, but for the poor passengers on either side of me. I found my seat in row 25, seat B (the middle seat). I sat on the woman in seat 25A, tried to grab her seatbelt to fasten and wedged my heavy bag under the seat in front of me. No way was that thing going to budge during flight!
I apologized to the poor woman I had sat on and then settled back. Glancing to my right, I got a look at the seat row on the overhead compartment: Row 26. It was necessary for me to grope the woman beside me again to undo my seat belt and then I spent several minutes huffing and puffing as I un-wedged my bag again. I crawled over the lap of the disgruntled man in the aisle seat in row 26 and crawled over the lap of the disgruntled man in row 25, sat on the disgruntled man on the other side of me and groped him as I found my seat belt. I spent another few breathless minutes as I again wedged my bag under the seat.
Now, you might think I would re-check the row number one more time, just to make sure, but you would be wrong. I sat in that seat which I believed to be Seat 25B and never looked to the right the entire way to Chicago. If I was still in the wrong row, I just didn’t want to know about it!
Flying is definitely for the birds!
© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.