Up in the air

31 03 2010

As a child, I used to always refer to clouds as “mashed potatoes in the sky” because that’s how they looked to me.  As I type this, I’m flying above the mashed potatoes and I have to say they really still look like that to me.  But what a beautiful sight they are!  Back in those days of lying on the ground with my mother, dreaming up shapes together as we gazed up at the clouds I never would’ve dreamed it possible to be looking down on them.  That seems like such a long time ago, and then it seems like yesterday.  Now I’ve flown over them many times.

Flying is not really special to me.  I’d trade it to be lying on the ground imagining with my mother any day.  But it’s an easy way to get from point a to point b I suppose.  One of the main things I don’t like about flying is the fact that I feel like my ears are going to burst out of my skull.  Today, surprisingly, I didn’t experience this discomfort… which is shocking and the first time I haven’t faced this issue.

I’m flying to Houston for business.  In some ways I’m excited and in others not.  The learning experience is a positive thing, but I guess I get homesick pretty easily.  I’ll be locked up in a hotel without transportation when not in class.  Maybe not homesick as much as bored really, as it’s a short trip.

Work has provided me with this lap top I’m using, of course the internet access is blocked.  So, basically I can type this, save it and post it someday.  In a way I’m just typing to pass the time as I travel from a to b.  When I’m not typing I’m staring out the window at mashed potatoes and getting hungry.  My Dad makes the best mashed potatoes on Earth! I wish I had some right now.  Instead I get a bag of 10 pretzels and an ounce of juice, or so it all seems anyway.  If I don’t type or stare out the window I get to look at the skymall catalog and see all the things I’ve always wanted and needed and never knew existed until I find them there.  Such amazing items in skymall.  Usually, after about 15 minutes of browsing I get frustrated because I can’t afford any of it.  Seems like everything I’ve always wanted and needed but never knew existed is very expensive.  Go figure.

The lady next to me is downing vodka.  I’m way too chicken to drink on a flight.  It’s not the flying part, it’s the airport.  I can get lost in my neighborhood… so I have to be 101% in an airport.  Airports really stress me out.  They’re loud and crowded and confusing and stressful.  Thank God I don’t have a layover on this flight.  I paid $200 extra to avoid it.  Actually, my company paid $200 extra so I can avoid it.  I hope they don’t mind.

Well, there’s only about 30 minutes left on this flight.  I hope it goes quickly.  We’re at 36,000 feet.  My head is starting to ache.  I’ll take this brief moment to tell you another flight tale before I close… enjoy…

It was March of ’97.  I was traveling to Savannah, Georgia to visit a friend in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s a pretty big deal out there.  It was a small passenger jet, rather old and somewhat rickety, but I wasn’t concerned.  I’ve flown on worse, and I know when it’s my time … well, then it will just be my time.  So, I don’t really sweat flying too much.  We had boarded the semi-crowded plane.  It wasn’t packed, but somewhat stuffy because it was so small.  I was comfortably nestled in my seat beside the window … well, as comfortable as one can get on a plane anyway.  I was gazing out on the runway, ready for action.

The plane was still boarding, slowly.  My new neighbor was guided to the seat beside me.  He was nervous and sweating.  He wore a plaid button down shirt, half tucked in and half out … slightly sloppy … with oversized kahki polyesther slacks.  He had on very thick glasses that he was persistently pushing up his sweaty nose, sort of like a nervous habit.  His salt and pepper hair looked as though it needed a good washing.  He carried an old brief case and a thick paperback novel.  He sat on the aisle seat, placing his briefcase on the seat between us.  I nodded and then looked back to the runway, with this gut feeling that making conversation would be a huge mistake.  He fastened and un-fastened his seatbelt a number of times.  The plane was still boarding.  You know the process, you sit on a plane for a good 30 minutes before they even begin the spill about safety and such.  I glanced over at my nervous neighbor uncontrollably.  He was cracking open his novel with an intent expression.  “Good,” I thought to myself, “He doesn’t want to make conversation either.”  I watched him, even though I didn’t want to … I just couldn’t resist it.  He led his fingertip across each line of the novel at the speed of light, as if he was reading in fast forward.  He had completed the novel before the plane had even finished boarding.  “Interesting,” I thought to myself and gazed back out to the runway.  I’m not one to judge, but it quickly occurred to me I was sitting beside a real basket case.  For a moment he rocked back and fourth in his seat, he picked up the novel then placed it back on the seat between us on top of the brief case.  He pushed his glasses up his nose a couple of times as he stared down at his belongings.  I continued to fight the urge to watch this man, but I just couldn’t resist I tell you! I suppose 20 minutes had passed.  20 minutes since I had boarded the plane, acquired this neighbor, and watched him read a complete novel.

And then it happened … he carefully pulled the brief case from the seat and meticulously placed the novel back in it’s place between us.  I was, of course, dying to know what contents were in this briefcase.  I pretended not to care, shuffling through my purse but with my eyes cut to the right so that I could spy on his personal property.  (Get ready for this because you are not going to believe me, but…) When he opened his brief case it revealed 2 ziplock bags and some packages of mayonnaise … and this was the ONLY contents!  I kid you not! One ziplock held a single slice of bologna and the other held 2 slices of white bread.  So, my neighbor proceeded to make a sandwich as the final passengers boarded the plane and the safety show began.  As the stewardess explained seat belts, gas masks and emergency exits my neighbor shoveled down his sandwich even faster than he could read a novel.  The only thing he was able to do faster than eat that sandwich was, of course, puking it out all over the seat between us.  Yes, that’s right … he didn’t opt for the courtesy barf bag so delicately placed in the seat pocket in front of him … he chose to spew out a hardly digested bologna sandwich right between us.

“Prepare for takeoff” is announced.  I call to the stewardess and point at the disgusting mess beside me.  “Excuse me,” I plead, “Can I move to another seat?” She shakes her head with a thoughtful smile and leads me to another seat before take off.

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20 responses

31 03 2010
Howie Janapol

Dear Suz, I don’t really love flying. I once took the train from Los Angeles to New York. Three days later we arrived. I didn’t like it but I took the train because it was less expensive. I do fly but with all the stories about the flight crews not doing their jobs and the Airlines not really doing maintenance I get on a plane with some reluctance. Peace, howie

1 04 2010
suzrocks

Well, this is another old post of mine from myspace. I haven’t actually flown in about 3 years now. I don’t mind flying, but I mind airports. However, today, flying is a lot scarier for many reasons. Thanks for reading, Howie. The link you gave me to your blogsite didn’t work by the way. 😦

31 03 2010
Richardttu

Well, I have many stories to tell about flying and travel. Texas Instruments blessed me with the chance to travel to many places i would never get the chance to visit. I still love to fly, see new things etc. But, I will admit to that feeling of loneliness in a hotel room, or some strange bar where everyone just “knows” I am from out of town, no matter how hard to try to blend in. At those times, I am ready to be home again.

1 04 2010
suzrocks

Yes, As I said above… this is an old blog from when I had my great job that once flew me around the country for business. I really miss that. All expenses paid and seeing the country. Sight seeing made up for the loneliness, until … of course … I stepped into that empty hotel room. I avoided bars usually, except occasionally in the hotel.

31 03 2010
wolfshadesblog

Wow. The man can’t stand his own “cooking”. And I thought I had some bad flights in my time. Geeze.

1 04 2010
suzrocks

LMAO!!! I suspect his mother put that package together for him 🙂

31 03 2010
wordofabe

Awesome! I can’t believe you got to watch him chuck up his carefully prepared bologna sandwich. Some people get all the luck!

1 04 2010
suzrocks

Carefully prepared indeed, but not so carefully wasted. Sometimes, even I can’t believe this is a true story! LOL

1 04 2010
wordofabe

At least he didn’t put THAT back into his baggies and into his briefcase, huh?

1 04 2010
suzrocks

Oh Abe! That’s a horrible thought … and for all we know, maybe he did!?!? I relocated!

1 04 2010
uncle jailbird

never flown before. if i can’t get there by driving, i don’t need to be there.

1 04 2010
suzrocks

I’ve never ridden on a train. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Flying is nice for those in a hurry. Road trips are the best!

1 04 2010
~MnM~

I haven’t been on a plane with an empty seat in years now, lol!

I love flying, I love airports, I love the whole thing, yet I am terrified of flying! I get panic attacks unless I take my valium, but I still love it in a very odd way, and I don’t know why, lol. All the anticipation maybe?

1 04 2010
suzrocks

Yeah, I guess in a way I’m like that too. I don’t really have a fear of crashing or anything, but I still get a little panicy myself. Maybe it is just the anticipation. Not really sure. Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

1 04 2010
Michael

I got sick when I flew, but it was always the air pressure (ascending and descending)….as a kid I used to moan in complete pain as the plane lifted off or was going for a landing. Sympathetic passengers would give me gun or hard candies to suck until the landing was complete. I wonder if I was the only one in the world with ear pressure issues on planes.

1 04 2010
suzrocks

Oh no, that part is so painful to me it brings tears to my eyes. My ears always feel like they’re going to explode. I never flew as a child. I probably would’ve demanded to get off the plane because of that pain!

1 04 2010
laura.ann40

I bought tickets a couple of months ago to take my daughter to Colorado and celebrate her graduation from college in May. I don’t know what size plane I will be on, but I am definitely going to look for a row that only has two seats.

1 04 2010
suzrocks

LOL… careful with that, that can be miserable too. I don’t like being that close to someone in such a confined space. Just be on the look out for strange guys with briefcases. Maybe get there early so when they’re scanning everyone’s stuff in security you can see if there’s any bologna in the mix! LOL

2 04 2010
Mike Tucci

Oh, that is hilarious, Susan!!! OMG! Hopefully no spew splashed on you!! I have flown quite a bit over the years, but I must say I have never had a story like that. Although, there was one time that a family two rows in front of my had the worst case of body oder…on a 6 hour flight from Honolulu to San Fran. That was just nasty!!

The other was hitting turbulence that was so bad it knocked trays off the the little tables and actually knocked flight attendents on their asses!! People were screaming and stuff. I was just holding my drink in my hand (stabilization so it didn’t fall and spill) and chuckling at the commotion–it was over in a couple minutes. I used to live in Hawaii and there is always bad turbulence over the Pacific on the way there. That was the worst I hit, but I knew we hit some, so I wasn’t worried.

Mike (2C)

6 04 2010
suzrocks

Howdy Mike! Somehow I missed this comment when you posted it, so I’m late to reply. I’m still getting to know this site. Yeah, I’ve done my fair share of flying and been blessed to never hit any major turbulence because I’d probably freak out too. I don’t usually drink when I fly, but that would surely get me started … lol! My lovely bologna tale is one of a kind I believe … at least I hope it is. I’d sure love to know if anyone else has ever encountered that guy on a flight before, ha!

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