Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Horror

Getting there is half the horror.

In my last post I went on and on about the terrible but adrenaline-filled few minutes getting to the airport for my last trip. But then came the actual journey. Now that all flights are always filled, people like me dread flying like medieval people feared the plague. I don't mean for the phrase 'people like me' to imply racial or demographic profiling, it's more like anatomical profiling.

You see, I'm tall.

And airplane seats are built for average people. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not average. As soon as I sit down, my knees are pushing into the back of the seat in front of me. I feel like I'm back at William Jennings Bryan Elementary trying to jam myself into those pre-pubescent seats. I sit down and quickly pull the twelve magazines from the seat pocket in front of me and toss them out the window. Every quarter inch helps.

Then the waiting begins.

I'm waiting for the monster to come down the aisle and sit in the chair in front of me. And it's never a little old lady who won't put their seat back. Oh, no, it's always some clown who feels he must collapse himself into the seat driving it back into my knees dislocating my femurs from my hip bone.

And I've noticed, these beasts never sit down in their seat, they fall into it as though they've just finished running a double marathon. Are they exhausted lugging themselves around all day? Or are they just unconscious about the people around them? I vote 'B'.

But who knows, things could work out. I could get an actual person to sit there, so I sit and I watch and I judge and I make bets with myself.

Uh-oh! There he comes. Man Mountain Monroe! Six years as a defensive lineman for the Dolphins. My heart sinks. He's still thirty feet away, but the old heart's in my shoes. It's him! He's going to sit in front of me and he's going to figure out some way to actually push his own seat back and crush me until I make popping noises like bubble wrap as you stomp on it.

Sure enough! As he throws himself into the seat with all the force of meteor strike, I quickly stand before he hits and it's a darn good thing I do. For as I attempt to sit, I discover I can't.

I could put my legs out in the aisle to be run over by the drink cart or I could become overly friendly with the Asian gentleman sitting next to me, but those are my only choices. So I split the difference. I put one knee jutting out into the aisle to poke anyone wandering by and the other is nestled into the thigh of my new best friend.

Sure, I've heard that people want to be tall, but like everything else in the world, there's another hidden face to all that - the forehead bruises, the extra work to find clothes that fit, oh, no, they don't tell you about that before you get recruited to go to tall school.

But, then, chicks really dig the tall guys. (Geez Louise, look at that dude's hand!)

And then as the high pitched buzzing that fear causes finally begins to drain out of my ears, I start to hear things. Bad things. Coughing. Sneezing. Hacking. Crying. Oh, wait, that's me crying. I try not to breathe, but that's going to be darned hard for two hours.

I take shallow breaths, perhaps the germs won't go all the way into my lungs. Perhaps they'll know my heart isn't in it and will take pity and infect some unimportant organ instead. I hear you can live without your spleen. Take that! Take my spleen!

If these people are so sick, what could possibly be so important that they had to fly somewhere? Well, perhaps it was a death in their family. If so, the person probably died after catching something on an airplane!

People come in to work sick and come to my office sick and they'll say awful things to me like, "Don't worry, I'm not contagious." What?!! How the hell do you know that?? And I throw them right out. But now I'm trapped, I have no control over this situation! When I squint, I can imagine I can see the little swine flu buggers floating in the air.

So I take myself to my happy place. I remember that things could be SO much worse. I could be William Shatner.


Dave said...

I miss flying!!

debbie said...

You had me in stitches with that one!!!! Flying is such fun. :( I just want Scoty to beam me up and down to my destination...with all of my luggage, of course!!