Don’t think for one moment that vacationing in Florida is all fun and games. There are real hardships associated with a trip like that. No, really. I had to fly. Not my favorite thing. For me, it ranks right up there with a root canal or an IRS audit.
It had been seventeen years since my last flight, so my anxiety level was running high enough to rupture a major artery. I had to get myself under control. Two trips to the restroom before boarding. Dramamine for motion sickness, Sudafed and Bubblicious for ear pressure (unfortunately, I was in such a state that I swallowed the Bubblicious and chewed the Sudafed), headset playing “Soothing Woodland and River Sounds”, and lots of prayer.
And don’t tell me the airlines are not packing us in tighter than I remember. I was in a section of three seats per row. The cheap seats. All three of us in my row were what you might call portly. This made for some interesting maneuvering to get comfortable.
The guy to my left claimed the armrest between us as soon as he sat down. I could tell because he stuck a little flag with his name on it into the vinyl upholstery and played some sort of National Anthem on a comb and piece of waxed paper. Ha! I commandeered his pillow when he stood up to salute his flag. He had the last laugh, though, he kept his elbow in my ribcage the entire trip.
The woman to my right kept trying to adjust the waistband on her queen-sized panty hose. I could empathize with that, but the sound effects that went along with this gymnastic event were rather disconcerting. Something akin to Darth Vader in an iron lung machine. I gave her a 9.3 for artistic merit, but in all honesty, I couldn’t give her more than an 8.4 for execution. She didn’t stick her landings.
Take-off, for me, was an exercise in Cognitive Therapy Self-Talk. (I knew someday there would be a use for all those mail-order psychology courses.) What follows is the conversation I had with myself. You be the judge.
It was tough but I made it. I’m not sure what happened to the King of Armrestovia or Darth Vader in the queen-sized pantyhose. They got up and made for the attendants area sometime around “Fast bus! Fast bus!” What really matters is, I conquered my fears and the “friendly skies”.
And to prove it, I brought home the unused barf bag as a trophy.