THE PLANE TRUTHPosted: March 30, 2014
I’d like to say I don’t know anyone who actually likes to fly, other than maybe a bird or a soaring squirrel. But it is one of my husband’s favorite pastimes.
Sure, he likes exploring remote destinations like Nampa, Namibia or Nottawa. In fact, he just returned from Antarctica—the frigid land of icebergs, penguins, seals and whales. But most of all he reveled in the long flights he had the privilege of taking to get down there. If I overheard correctly, he flew to Miami, then to Buenos Aires, then to some port at the tip of Argentina beginning with a “U”, before boarding a small cruise ship to cross the infamously rough waters of the Drake Passage–headed on down to the white continent at the bottom of the earth.
It seemed like in no time at all he was on his way back home. His flight from Miami to Dulles was cancelled due to a snow storm here on the east coast, delaying him some 36 hours or so in sunny Florida. He claimed he’d seen enough snow and ice for a lifetime so was not sorry to miss this late winter blizzard. Plus he could pass the time watching all the planes take off and land there M.I.A., as seasoned fliers call Miami International.
People, even close friends, ask why I did not join my spouse on this awesome adventure…
Well, for starters I do not like to fly and am prone to sea sickness. Although having lived in Asia for six years and Texas for as many, I have often been forced to board a plane or ship to get from here to there. Fact is, I HATE flying as well as many of the type of people who like to cruise. But I do enjoy visiting new and exotic places. Go figure.
Once I had a few babies while living in Asia, I was distracted on long flights from say, Bangkok to the Big Apple. The first baby was fairly easy and in those days, (she was born in 1987), I could feed her, then stash her in a bassinet that hung from the front of the first class cabin. Writing about this now I feel negligent although I think there was a belt to tie her down lest she go flying out of that hammock in the rare event of turbulence or a crash landing.
Back to airplanes. My dad once asked me if I ever thought of becoming what they once called a stewardess. (I think he and I were flying somewhere, had been upgraded, and were enjoying a few cocktails.)
It was one of the few times in my life I wanted to smack him. I mean, I had been a waitress once, the summer after I graduated with honors from college, and that was painful enough. But to wait on people held captive in the air, with the unlikely possibility of crashing, plus NO tips, did not appeal to me in the least.
Flash forward. My favorite and only son and I are flying somewhere. I am sure we had a destination but all I recall is the rocky flight. We choose to sit in the “EXIT” row seats so we are in charge. I chuckle when I read the card stuck in the seat pocket in front of me: “If you cannot read this notice, please inform your flight attendant…”
Kid and I snicker at the absurdity.
My sleepy boy gets assigned the task of promising to open the EMERGENCY EXIT door in the rare event of a crash landing. I am his back-up, or so I tell myself.
Once we had safely landed*, as planes often do, I took a deep breath and asked my son how he’d enjoyed the flight.
“Not that much” he grumbled.
“After all…I had to sleep the entire time with one eye open!”
*Please remain in your seats until the captain has turned off the seat belt sign.