No one likes airplane travel. Period. That’s why those shops at the airport make a fortune. They are not selling trashy magazines and gum… They are selling HOPE.
In the desperate moments before boarding, I run into those shops seeking anything that might make the upcoming experience incrementally less horrible. And I decide – for unfathomable reasons – that a giant bag of nuts and raisins might do the trick. Or a puzzle magazine filled with unsolvable logic problems. Or a squishy, C-shaped sleep pillow (presumably designed for people who are soothed by the feeling of something constricting around their throat).
It doesn’t help that I am completely stoned by the time I venture into the shop, having already consumed two Gravol and at least one glass of wine. FYI… I am NOT getting on a plane without at least one glass of wine in me. Yes. I have ordered scrambled eggs with toast and a large pinot grigio in the airport restaurant. Don’t judge me!
Foggy-headed and armed with a plastic bag full of trail mix and trashy reading and way-too-strong peppermint gum, I will eventually find my way onto the plane. Once on board, a quick look around generally confirms that the passenger list includes all the standard stock-characters:
Middle-aged white guy whose carry-on bag is too big for the overhead compartment. He will keep trying to make it fit, while shoving his belly fat into the face of some poor soul with an aisle seat, until a flight attendant eventually wrestles it from him.
Hipster who smells like Patchouli oil. He will inevitably remove his footwear at some point during the flight.
VERY large gentleman. He always has an aisle or a middle seat. And he pushes it way back the moment the seat belt sign goes off.
Woman with crying baby. She feels too self-conscious to breast feed on the plane and doesn’t believe in soothers. We know this because she over-shares with everyone who looks in her direction. And we ALL look in her direction, hoping she will buy a clue and pop anything resembling a nipple into the poor little sot’s mouth.
The loud talker. This person never falls asleep. Never reads a book. And takes the volume UP when their seatmate puts on earphones.
The nervous flyer. There are usually at least two or three of these folks on the flight. They make meowing sounds every time the plane hits a bump, which eventually spooks the people beside them, creating more meow-ers. And I have zero sympathy because they are the same people who say “no” when offered liquor. Seriously?!?
The temperature in the cabin will vacillate between July-in-the-Caribbean hot and Christmas-in-Antarctica cold. There is a 50% chance that the television on the seat in front of me will be broken. My bag of trail mix will turn out to be predominantly raisins. And the pen I need to do my unsolvable logic problems will roll under my seat and be lost forever.
Despite all of this, the steward will give me the Evil-Eye when I request two mini-bottles of wine at a time. Note: I will return the Evil-Eye with a Middle-Aged-Woman-On-The-Edge glare. There will be no further judgements. The wine will pour freely.
By the time the plane touches down, I am always de-hydrated and dishevelled. My hair is flat on the sides and poufy in the back. And I smell a bit moldy. FYI: The combined scents of red wine plus mixed nuts plus the odd orange-red sauce on the microwaved pasta produces an odor usually found only in unfinished basements.
That said, there is a positive to arriving somewhere by plane. Whether I am landing in an exotic locale or a standard business destination, I am THRILLED to be there. Just being off the plane fills me with a giddy joy. The giddiness may be Gravol and wine enhanced but still…