Adventures in air travel and other signs it’s hard being a grown up

Just got back from my weekend in CT. Boo and I had a great time celebrating our anniversary (once we both, you know, remembered that it was our anniversary). But since I had to fly to get there, you know there was no chance I was coming home sans stories.

I’m an aisle-seat kind of flyer. I’ve never really been one to look out the window (I actually drove down the entire Pacific Coast Highway without looking at the view once…my father still brings that up). I board my flight to CT and take my seat next to “Tom” or as I like to call him, Talky Tom. He introduced himself, then continued talking to me, despite the fact that I was clearly engrossed in my Cosmopolitan magazine.

Then Missi, our perky-beyond-belief flight attendent (stewardess? what’s pc these days?) gave us our safety instructions–including a warning not to place our laptops into the seatback pocket without checking the pocket first. “We’d hate to have you pull out your laptop with an icky mess on it!”

Ew! Really Missi? That seems a bit dramatic. Besides which, if you think there is a chance of there being something “icky” in that pocket, why don’t you clean it out?

So we’re in the air, Talky has finally finished his salad and packed it away when all of a sudden I hear a very loud “BANG!” No, don’t worry. Nothing exploded–except perhaps Missi’s heart as she was standing next to me, passing out drinks. Tom’s plastic container burst because of the pressure in the cabin, causing most of the people around him to search frantically for their oxygen masks.

We landed uneventfully but couldn’t leave the plane without Missi warning us to be careful on the bridge to the terminal because it was a bit “caterwompy” (your guess would be as good as mine on how to spell that).

I’ll pause for a quick break right now, because I’ve still got a return flight and this is longer than I usually ramble on for. Grab a snack if you’d like. I’ll wait.

Everyone set? Excellent. I promise to keep this as short as possible (and to avoid as much sap as I can…this was the return flight, I was sad, it happens). I didn’t have any problems getting onto the plane in CT. The airport is small and people were nice to me because it was very apparent that I’d been crying.

I sat down and waited for Ray, our flight attendent, to start his little speech. The captain came on to make a quick announcement and the foreign girl in front of me, who was still on her cell phone, decided that it would be a better plan to raise her voice above the captain’s, rather than hang up.

I, of course, started laughing at this because I have no self control and am very easily amused. Luckily for me, so were about 3 other passengers near me.

Ray began his speech, reminding everyone–again–to turn off their phones when he paused next to a girl in the second row. He mouthed “turn it off” and pointed at her phone. She either didn’t understand him or didn’t understand how to work her phone, because she kept it on. He worked with her for a few minutes before asking the woman on the other side of the aisle for a piece of paper. He wrote “turn it off” on the paper and showed it to the phone-impaired girl. Eventually he gave up and took the phone from her and turned it off himself.

Again, my lack of self control led to hysterical laughing, but I tried to control myself since Ray was still talking. He hit the point in his speech about the oxygen masks when he just stopped talking.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “I just started thinking about her phone again. I completely forgot what I was going to say, and I do this for a living.”

Then Ray started convulsing with laughter. Lord knows I couldn’t control myself after that and burst out as well, along with most of the people near me.

So what did I learn from all of this? Air travel was great when we were little. We got to ride the tram and the moving walkways in the airport and pretend we were surfing on them (don’t pretend you didn’t do it…and even if you didn’t, don’t pretend you haven’t seen kids doing it). We got to look out the window (for those of us who liked that sort of thing). We got a free soda and we got it before noon!

But as we got older, became responsible for carrying our own suitcases and had to deal with harsher security rules, traveling seemed to become less fun. I maintain that that isn’t the case–you just have to know where to look for the humor.


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