Or anywhere else that NASA flies. After an hour plus delay, I am aboard a very large plane heading west to the coast. Let me start by saying that I have no original thoughts about air travel these days other than to say Mama ain’t happy. I don’t actually mind the time in the air, but getting to that point seems to be something that becomes a stressor that is only exceeded by surgery without anesthesia. Painful and anxiety provoking and there is absolutely nothing pleasant to say. I recognize that we are not pioneers of past centuries. We are not riding in conastoga wagons over mountains, and facing the dangers of travel on bad roads with fear of being confronted by robbers and other unsavory characters to a bad end. Different century, true, but unsavory characters lurk around every corner. I am nestled in a cozy (ha!) seat row with two seemingly harmless strangers. We exchange knowing glances and initial “excuse me”s as we attempt to sit down without having too much close contact with someone I am not going to enter into a relationship of that nature, in the next six hours. My FHB is about twenty rows closer to the exit in an “expanded leg room space” for tall people, which we invested some of our granddaughters’ college fund in, so that he would not end up needing traction or chiropractic care post flight. I am too short and too cheap to sit with him since we do want the girls to have a choice in the future in their education. My FHB and I wished one another farewell as though we were boarding the Lusitania and were in different berths. Romance is not dead, just twenty rows apart.
I am also starving and my ears are now blocked. I am told that because we left so late and also we had to hoof it from gate 86 to gate 107 because our original plane was deemed “inoperable” (which is a term I thought was reserved for other things, mostly medical, but perhaps that has now worked its way into airlinese), we had to move our carcasses through the terminal like lambs to the ……nevermind, I know you get the idea. However, as a result of our being “inconvenienced” we are getting our first drink free and a snack to wash it down with. Awesome, but I don’t drink, but maybe I should consider it under these circumstances. No, I think I should be fully alert in case of anything out of the ordinary. There’s a lot of out of the ordinary these days.
My first flight was about 50 years ago. I had always read books about Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindburgh and the Wright Brothers because I was fascinated by flight. My parents took my sister and me to Florida with a side trip to the Bahamas. We dressed for success and wore nice dresses and shoes but stopped short of gloves because it was Florida, not Paris. It was so special and there was so much to watch and we were treated with kindness and given a pair of little wings to take with us. We ate food on actual plates and it tasted pretty good. As this was our first flight, it left us with some great impressions on how life was going to be when we were adults. Ha!
By the way, I opted for a cheese and fruit platter and was told it was discontinued but in its place was something described as a tasty selection of the perfect snack with some american cheese product. It was sealed by the same people who do pharmaceutical blister packs that require a small child to open. Hope it travels well. I’m still contemplating a drink.
I’m done ranting now. We are still about four hours away from landng so I want to leave my negative attitude over the Mississippi River to go downstream and out to sea, but not hurt any lovely fish. We are on vacation and will be able to enjoy the Pacific Northwest and California for a week and enjoy the company of family, including my West Coast grandaughter. My FHB and I always end our cards and letters to her with the signature that includes ” Love you always and forever” and includes the extension of that to mean “And we will go to the ends of the earth to see you and hold you and hug you and laugh with you”. And when I consider that we truly mean that, a journey that might have some bumps and turbulence of one kind or another, it’s a small price to pay (let’s not even go there) to hang out with our favorite three and almost a half year old.