Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flying the Friendly Skies

We are flying home for the holidays. Oh what fun! We shot out of bed at 6:00 am Mountain Standard Time. Showered, dressed, packed the last minute items. We had no milk left for cereal, no bread left for toast. Score! We have eggs! So I whipped up some scrambled eggs with ham and cheese and we washed it down with some juice.

Jim and I went over our check list before leaving:

turn furnace down - check
turn water heater off - check
take out garbage - check
lock up bikes - check

Our friend offered to drive us to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, and he arrived precisely at 8 a.m. Traffic was surprisingly light for that time of the morning, and I had hoped it was a sign that the rest of our trip would move smoothly along. Yeah. I'm optimistically stupid that way.

My first chuckle of the day was the sign by security. There were two lines; one for the "VIP's" and one for the "casual" travelers. They might as well have written "Peons Line Up Here", because that's what they really meant, wasn't it?

I obligingly removed my shoes and vest, and put them in the bin to be scanned, along with my purse and camera bag. My poor husband stood there undressing - taking off his shoes, belt, suspenders - all the while I prayed that he wouldn't drop his drawers! Talk about a security breach! We made it through the check point unscathed, Jim got dressed, he grabbed a coffee, and we walked to our gate to wait for a couple of hours before departure. I don't mind waiting though, because I brought things to occupy me - a book, crosswords, and of course, a notebook and pen. My laptop bit the dust, so I feel a little naked without it.

I also like to people-watch. I watched a young, good looking Asian father play endlessly and unashamedly with his two young daughters, who seemed around 3 and 5 years of age. He would pretend to throw one of their stuffed animals, they would turn their heads, then he would quickly stuff the toy up his shirt, with only the head peeking out at his neckline. The girls would look back and fall over in fits of giggles. "Do mine, Daddy, do mine!"

Or else they played the tickle game and climbed up on Daddy's lap and tickled him unmercifully. I couldn't help but grin when I heard the father laugh and laugh helplessly. Then he'd start to tickle the girls. You could tell that they had such a good relationship. I thought that he was brave to be traveling alone with these two little ones, but he seemed comfortable with them and obviously didn't think it was a big deal.

The gate got more crowded as it got closer to boarding time. As soon as the flight attendant announced the rows that could board, the crowd thickened and closed in around the counter. She calmly announced, "No need to crowd, people. This plane isn't taking off until EVERYONE is boarded. So back up, give us some space and wait your turn." I could hear a few chuckles around the concourse.

In order to save a little moola, we were flying from Phoenix to Chicago via Houston. Crazy, I know. Jim and I are not small people, but I like to sit next to him on the plane in case I have to kiss my ass goodbye, at least I'm doing it in front of someone I know. Jim likes the aisle seat, which leaves me squished in the middle. A thin young woman, with beautiful long hair, sprawled out in the window seat, taking up more room then was humanly possible for such a little body. Her skinny arm claimed the entire arm rest and bony elbow poked me in the ribs the whole flight. I was surprised when she ordered a rum and coke - thinking she wasn't old enough, but she produced the proper ID and promptly received her drink. The pilot landed the plane none too gently, and skinny girl slammed both her hands on the seat in front of her as if to brace herself. She turned and said to me, "That drink was totally necessary!" Then she took the emergency procedure card out of the pocket of the seat in front of her and started fanning herself. "I HATE flying!" She continued. As soon as the plane stopped, she popped up in her seat and I let her get in front of me - she seemed like she was going to jump out of her skin!



Fran Hill said...

Really enjoyed reading about your journey - you draw the characters well. Looking forward to the next instalment!

Valerie said...

Oh Pat, that was a grand tale. Flying certainly isn't as comfortable as the adverts claim. I hope you have/had a good Christmas holiday.

otin said...

That is why I do not fly, although good looking drinking women could change my mind! LOL!

I may try that fudge tomorrow!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family Pat. I will be watching for Part 2!!

wenn said...

merry xmas!

Brian Miller said...

sounds like your holiday has already started as an did get in the VIP line right? smiles. hope you have an amazing christmas!

Meeko Fabulous said...

I hate skinny people (although I hope to join their minions after the new year). I hate arm rest hogs. VIP line . . . You should have gotten in that one and said, "I'm VIP." Once they denied it, complain, call it discrimination, and see what perks they hook you up with. :)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Airports are so fun, huh? I am with the rest in thinking you should have been in the VIP line. I wanted to get in that line myself and say, "You don't recognize me?" My luck, I would have been arrested for having a sense of humor!

Santa Claus said...

HO HO HO! Merry Christmas from me and Otin!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

THANKS Pat for the laughs this day and all the others -- your blog is just an ongoing gift!

Have a great Christmas with your family and just enough of an eventful trip back to AZ to share some funny stories with all of us.

SquirrelQueen said...

Airports are the best places for people watching, it's always a great show. The dad and little ones must have been a joy to observe.

Last time I flew the gal next to me was a first time flier. I thought the poor thing was going to faint when we taxied out. She survived the flight but barely.