Sunday, April 03, 2005

It's All Up In The Air

To commemorate my sincere and absolute hatred of flying I have decided to write this while sitting in my seat (5F) of the flight I am currently on while traveling for my day and a half excursion to Chicago.

First of all, I must make it extremely clear that I hate flying. Not only because every time I book a flight or think of taking one I want to throw up, but mainly because I just don’t like sitting in a pressurized cabin with a bunch of people most of whom are more than likely ill with something that I now have a greater chance of catching…WHY DO THEY DO THAT??? WHY MUST THEY ALWAYS CUT THE POWER AND MAKE IT SEEM THAT WE’RE JUST GOING TO DROP RIGHT OUT OF THE SKY…MAKES ME CRAZY!
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, illness. So I am now stuck here for the hour and a half flight and I completely forgot to take my extra vitamin C this morning…WHY ARE WE TURNING? WHERE COULD WE BE GOING THIS FAR UP IN THE SKY? I THOUGHT THIS WAS A STRAIGHT SHOT. I CAN’T EVEN SEE THE GROUND AND WE’RE TURNING…I really should reconsider getting an aisle seat next time, this window thing really freaks me out.
So anyway, I don’t even know where this hatred came from. I think it stems partially from Sept.11, more so from the 15 hour flight I took 2 mos after where I ended up sitting on the tarmac for at least two hours in Tokyo while they fixed the number two starter before take off. Number two starter? I know it’s not the first, but it also isn’t the fifth or sixth. Sounds important. Not to mention that we were in Tokoyo and I was on an American flight...do our planes come with Japanese instruction manuals? This was my train of thought.
WHAT IS THAT DING FOR? I should remember to ask my father in law “Captain Jim” next time I see him what that ding is all about. And don’t get me started on the seat cushions that double as “flotation devices.” What are the chances that we actually land on water? WHAT? I can’t understand “Carlos” the lead flight attendant whose accent is strangely reminiscent of “Mango” from “Saturday Night Live.” Something about descending? I didn’t hear anything about turning off any electronic devices so I am going to resume.
It also doesn’t help that the lady across the aisle from me is tugging on her rosary beads like taffy and… THEY DID IT AGIAN! You know what, I think they do that just to screw with us. “Hey Captain, lets cut the engines again so we can watch that broad back in 5F have another stroke.” Sweet.
Why is it that when the Captian comes over the intercom I always manage to… …TURBULENCE…LOTS OF TURBULENCE, HATE TURBULENCE…DING DING….TURBULENCE. CHRIST!

So it was then that I decided to turn off my computer, put it away, cross my fingers and wait for the plane to land, which thankfully, ended up landing without a hitch. I have since come to realize that I was better off on that plane than in the car with my analyst who picked me up at the airport swerving in and out of the Chicago traffic.

Later that day we went to the Bulls game which was more than suitable enough for everyone born with ADHD and entertaining in itself. I also managed to get myself of the mega tron only after purposely placing myself in some elses' mega tron moment.

My flight home was a little more dramatic, but thanks to my hour and a half visit to the airport bar and the three glasses of merlot that I consumed I was comfortably numb enough to continue on with my travels. I witnessed other travelers much like myself including a young lady who ordered a Becks and a shot of tequila to help her on her way to Detroit. I suggested she drink more than that to make Detroit look remotely appealing.

I boarded the plane and was actually quite calm, up until the announcement from the Captain which went something like this; “Ladies and Gentelmen, as you can tell, our departure time has come and gone, and we’re not going to leave the gate until they finish replacing the breaks.” BREAKS? I looked at the guy who sat a seat over from me who looked at me and we proceeded to break out into laughter. We waited another half hour and we were on our way down the runway. We both agreed that it would be a good idea for the pilots of the aircraft to at least test the breaks, not only to reassure everyone on the plane that they were in working order, but also just to test them to make sure they worked. No such luck. We took off and began our treck back to Minneapolis. As we were taking off I infomed my new found friend that it should be against federal aviation policy that I have a window seat which evoked some laughter and made us more at ease. While we were ascending the three glasses of merlot began to take effect and I had to pee…really really bad. Spencer and I decided that it was “O.K” to test the waters and head to the bathroom. After a few looks from the flight attendants and a stern warning, I finally relieved myself and returned to my seat where another glass of wine was ordered and the conversation began. Spencer was a graduate of Notre Dame and a current software engineer. We spoke of his job and it’s risks, which included his recent rendezvous with Bear Stearns. I was more than fascinated to hear of his college experience at an Ivy League school, more so to take my mind of falling thirty two thousand feet out of the sky, but also to pass the time. Not only that, but this was his first visit to Minneapolis. I told him of the places to go and the places to avoid. He asked about the Mall Of America, of which I eloquently described as a big friggin mall with a roller coaster and a giant aquarium, nothing more, nothing less. Needless to say after a few bouts of turbulence we landed and I was once again (thankfully) safely on the ground.

It was after this experience that I decided that flying is severely overrated. I have also come to the conclusion that if anyone were to try to overtake any aircraft and crash it into a large skyscraper (or skyscrapers) that the people on said aircraft would do anything in their power to stop the action. Not only because 75% of us were “comfortably numb” and fearless thanks to the airport bar, but also because we are acutely more aware of our surroundings. I have also come to realize that flying without breaks is not a big deal if you have someone next to you to talk to and that shares the same sense of humor as you. So Spencer, wherever you are, thanks man…you saved a few more hairs from turning grey.

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