Earning My Wings
Flying is such an adventure these days. If you were ever afraid to fly, now is the time. In this post 9/11 era, it seems the airways and all terminals leading to them require you to take your intellectual or physical life into your own hands.
I've been flying since I was little. My parents packed me off for my first solo flight at the age of 5, going to visit my grandparents in Baltimore. I received the wings the "Stewardesses" (remember that) were wearing and I was well taken care of. My parents were allowed to walk me all the way to the gate to see me off and without shedding one tear. As an adult, when I arrive at the airport I feel no sense of closure as me and my loved ones have to rush through our goodbyes like speed dating. The length of time it takes to get your bag out of the trunk & onto the curb is all the time you have to sneak in one last hug or I love you before airport police start blowing their geese horns. Few of us love each other enough to pay the hefty parking fee to walk folks 20 feet into the airport before being turned away at the 1st security check point.
Before, I used to choose what to wear on a plane based on my final destination's weather and preparing to freeze to death on the plane. Now I have to make sure what I'm wearing has little to no metal and my shoes can be easily slipped on and off. I carry socks in my purse to offset the ice cube toes my feet inevitably get on the plane from wearing flip flops for ease of use. This last flight, from Atlanta back home, no socks were required. I arrived at my window seat to find the middle seat already occupied by a rather husky, broad shouldered and boulder bellied gentleman who was already mid-sweat and pre-snoring (and he did snore before we ever even took off). 1/3 of him was already in my seat before I even got over to it. His body heat radiated into the aisle, and he glared at me with the disgust reserved for people who didn't know he was traveling that day and to choose another row. My bad, Big Homie, I ain't know.
So...I made it to my seat where I plotted my escape as soon as the plane was sealed to prep for take off. Deep in dubious thought, I looked up to see another tree of a man stop at our crowded row. Of course, his was the aisle seat. Large gentleman made eye contact with large gentleman and I began crying inside. An hour and 20 minutes was about to turn into a small eternity. Boulder Belly stood up as if to go to the restroom and Tree Top took his seat, nervously looking after the other man. The fear on his face was morphing by the second into confusion on how this was all going to work out. Lo and behold, Boulder Belly never returned and Tree Top's body deflated some in a full body, deep sigh of relief. We both were elated, until my peace of mind was robbed of me again when Tree Top began talking to me about everything and nothing. The beginnings of his conversation all about plane crashes and survivors and how we'd all be OK. He couldn't have known that I had just given thanks (LOL) for it being a night flight, reducing the chance of a flock of geese getting tangled up in my right to survive the final leg of my trip. A Flight Attendant (graduation from Stewardess) was going through the safety precautions and emergency features just when Tree Top told me not to worry because "any good pilot can land safely in the water." Assumptions, my man...
The "fasten seat belt" sign went off and Tree Top got up like he too had to use the restroom. After a while I thought he may have fallen in the toilet, but I didn't really care. I went to sleep. When we landed, I noticed Tree Top had taken a window seat across the aisle. He must've really wanted that seat because he had to squeeze past a large man and the blonde woman whose head he was talking a hole into. I chuckled to myself and avoided all eye contact so he felt no need to explain himself; he was that type of dude. In the end, I'd had a quiet flight with a row to myself. Tree Top did give me a gift before he left me. He pointed out the lightning happening outside my window. It was beautiful!! And I was never afraid. I watched as we traveled the distance of the storm in awe of nature and the concept of God. I had no fears of lightning tearing through the plane's wings and plummeting to my death. I simply wished I had a better camera.
Everything in here isn't going to be "deep."
Watch me move.