The memory faded and my brain returned to the present, being crushed on both sides by my aggressive seatmates, both determined to be the emperor of the arm rest.
The seat in front of me reclined, making my space even smaller. Row 22, mine, didn’t move back. I suddenly felt as though the oxygen on the plane was getting more sparse, and I half-expected the masks to fall from the ceiling. I slowly filled my lungs with air and blew it out, realizing that I looked like a lunatic to the people seated next to me. Just a couple more hours…
I picked up my magazine again, but it was mere moments before my eyes glazed over, and my thoughts began wandering yet again. Once more, it was Christmastime, but this memory was from a few years earlier.
Avery was in her infant swing, giggling as she stared at the colorful lights that adorned the tree. I looked around at the decorations that I had just put up, and silently congratulated myself. Now, to finish ironing the Christmas linens and put the meatloaf in the oven.
I was one housedress away from becoming my grandmother.
C-31 the code on my boarding pass proclaimed. Great, I thought: the cheap seats.
After a long stint waiting in an organized line for the flight attendant to take said pass, then another wait on the jetway while the passengers in front of me crammed their stuffed-to-capacity-and-then-some carry-ons into too-small overhead compartments, I boarded the aircraft and stood on my tip-toes to view my potential seats.
“Ladies and gentleman, there is a full flight this morning, so please be sure to allow these new passengers access to all the seats in your row,” a nasally woman’s voice came over the loudspeaker. I noticed a few people who were already seated roll their eyes, huff, or curse under their breath. Sigh.
In a feeble attempt to get myself a seat that didn’t involve being sandwiched between a crying baby and someone who looked like a “talker,” I scanned available openings as I continued to amble down the narrow aisle.
Each time I found a potentially decent place to sit, I was rammed forward by the horde in back of me. Before long, I was given the choice of a middle seat in the back row of the plane, or one on top of the toilet. I chose the former so that I didn’t infuriate the flight attendant.
I began mushing my way into my destined residence in a flourish of body parts and bags and whispered “Excuse me!”s and “I’m so sorry!”s. In order to get to that particular seat, I had to apologize for my very existence.
(Read episode 1 here and 2 here)
The Situation on the Airplane
There had been a lot of dramatic ‘goings-on’ in my life lately, so I was happy to have gone away, on my own, to visit my sister Maggie in Charleston, South Carolina. I absolutely adore her and had such a wonderful time getting to be there with her and my brother-in-law Josh, as well as my cousins, Kate and Amanda. We laughed and chatted over great local food, did some shopping, beach yoga, the typical touristy stuff that one tends to miss out on when he or she lives in a place for a while. Everything was perfect. Unfortunately, though, the weekend had passed by, and it was time to board the plane to go home.
Though it wasn’t a particularly long journey up the coast, I wasn’t able to get a direct flight. After less than an hour, I got myself off the plane for the quick lay-over in Baltimore. With just enough time to grab a bite to eat, I went over to the restaurant and sat myself at the bar. I tried to choose the healthiest option on the menu, considering I would have to wear four pairs of Spanx to counteract the amount of food that I had already consumed this weekend. When my salad came, I shoveled it down my gullet as quickly as possible, took my pain medication, and chugged my glass of water. I paid. I left. It was as uneventful as it gets.
Anyway, I had a flight to get to.