Thursday, October 9, 2008

Flight Plan

Did you know that water on a United Airlines flight will set you back $2.00? All I wanted was a cup of tap water, something to wet my parched throat. What a bunch of Scrooges. And no, I don’t carry cash on me. I made this lovely discovery on my most recent trek back to Texas.

Thankfully I was able to enjoy the window seat without having to worry about my elbows being crushed by my neighbors. By the time I boarded for the flight home I was ready to enjoy a relaxing few hours reading “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.” But of course, I can’t relax on a flight – and not because of fear of flying. The whole experience is just dreadful for me. I hate having to lift my carry-on suitcase above my head and heave it into a bin, especially when I have to walk 15 rows back from my seat to do so, thus insuring that I will have to sit on the plane until most of the passengers have disembarked from the aircraft. I find my seat and then spend the next half hour hoping that the seat next to mine will somehow be empty. This was of course not the case on this most recent flight.

Let me set the scene for you. I was in row 6. Row 5 was the first row past first class. The woman in front of me had nowhere to store her carry-on bag, so she placed it below her seat – leaving me with nowhere to place my laptop bag. The mature response would have been to try and get her attention and simply ask her to move her bag. I also considered addressing the flight attendant, but she was clearly occupied elsewhere. So – wonderful person that I am – I place my laptop bag under the seat and ever so slowly begin to push with my legs hoping that either her bag would allow for the addition of my bag, or that she would my subtle message. But I realize this isn’t working. So I push harder. I’m even starting to get winded, but I’m trying not to let the people in my row notice. I’m starting to panic. I do not want to be parted with another of my bags. The last time someone took my bag it ended up in Indianapolis.

Finally the flight attendant comes by and suggests I put my bag in an overhead bin. No way. No in the heck way. I need my things next to me, I have rights. I begin my explanation calmly enough, but soon discover the pitch in my voice rising, the volume as well. Suddenly I’m 12 years old.

“It’s just that her bag is under the chair where my bag is supposed to fit and so I don’t have any leg room and I need to be able to do some work and I would try to get it to fit, but it won’t work and…”

Just then the woman in front of me apologizes profusely in a kind manner, removes her bag and quickly hands her possession to be packaged in the upper realm.

Whew. All good. Until an hour later I find myself calmly reading about the quirks of Amy Krouse Rosenthal when the gum I’ve been chewing drops from my mouth straight down my shirt – a la Nashvegas style. I begin going over my options to retrieve the foreign object. Do I ride the rest of the flight conscious of the problem? Do I make my way to the smallest lavatory in the world, hoping along the way that the gum does not lodge itself further and become stuck to my clothing? Or do I try and pull a Sydney Bristow, pull off the impossible while everyone else sits casually around me? I decide to take action, knowing all the while that this might one day make great material for a blog post…if I am brave enough to actually follow through with this. I slowly turn to gaze out the window at the passing clouds and pull my book up close to me. Perhaps I looked deep in thought, hopefully no one was watching.

Good news – I retrieved the gum – and of course I instinctively put it back in my mouth and begin chewing. Eat it, Sydney Bristow.

Photos by Booknero and Sierraromeo

1 comment:

dc said...

Why is it that whenever you get the middle seat, both sides are occupied by such large people?