Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Life on an Airplane

I had to fly on an airplane this week. I don’t like to fly … I like to BE places and GO places… but I hate to fly. Airplanes are not made for “wide bodies” like me. Airplanes are made for people under 5’5” and less than 150 pounds. At that size you can sit in comfort and easily chat with those around you. My 6’1” 250 pound body just doesn’t work in an airplane. I have to fold in my shoulders like they are wings in front of my chest, somehow find a way to fit my knees in even though they are crushed into the chair in front of me and if he reclines … yow! I cannot sleep, I try to read but if I get bumped in my aisle seat by every Tom, Dick and Harriet on their way to the restroom and bashed by every metal drink and food cart going by. I spend most of my free time, the time you are allowed to be without your seat belt, standing in the back by the restrooms reading my magazine or book. That is the only time I can stretch and unfold my wings.

This time I had the added bonus of a screaming baby a few rows back along with a frantic mother trying to comfort her. I also had the added bonus of a man on his way to Las Vegas who seemed to have an endless thirst for whiskey in those cute little bottles. He and a woman who sat next to him kept ordering them at $5 each, you must have to pay for the cuteness. They got louder and louder in their speech and mannerisms. Yet the flight attendants kept bringing them more, and more, and more. He stood to go to the restroom and nearly fell into my lap then drunkenly apologized his way down the aisle to the restroom and back.

While standing in the back by the restrooms I had the opportunity to observe my fellow travelers. There was a group heading to Vegas for a wedding, each wearing a lei and the future bride wearing a little crown tiara. They were having fun and nothing was going to stop them, not a crying baby or a drunken fat man. Others simply closed up into a shell surrounded by their music from an iPod or CD player and tried to ignore everything. Some tried to help the frantic mother even offering “drugs” to help quiet the baby, they would joke about it and try to make the mother feel better even though she was disrupting an entire airplane. A few were getting pretty angry, you could easily tell as they tried to sleep yet muttered to each other something cruel they wished would happen to the mother and the baby, they would curse the drunk as he bumped into them and he slurred an apology.

Life on an airplane. People who avoid. People who just get angry. People who just get drunk. People who determine to have a good time no matter the situation. And people who try to help. That’s life. Oh yea, and people that sit back and observe that life. I smile as the captain tells us we are approaching Las Vegas and we need to be strapped in for the rest of this microcosm.


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