My last experience on a plane was reminiscent of the 80’s and what I mean by that is three words—People Express Airlines. Way back in the day when you could actually smoke a cigarette on a plane and add to the already toxic inflight recycled bad breath air—you could also travel from LA to New York for $200 bucks round trip. These flights seemed to always be packed to the rafters with overly dramatic passengers, the environment was chaotic and someone always had a tiny monkey on their lap. One time on a flight from the Bay Area to New York, due to engine trouble—I think one of the rubber bands broke–we had to make an emergency landing in Cleveland. One of the passengers was so upset, as she was yelling at the flight attendant, she threw up. Good thing I had on my rain coat.
Last month one of my flights was from Atlanta to Los Angeles. This was my first time being in the Atlanta International Airport and I found it to have a really cool feel good vibe. Lots of diverse restaurants, the tunes coming from the intercom were 70’s R & B—my absolute fav—and people in general were lively and smiling. So I boarded Delta flight 3247 in a deluxe good mood but as soon as I saw how packed it was and I had to sit in the middle of two big dudes, my state of mind started feeling wonky. I began to panic and think: overcrowded, stinky, too many crying babies, stuffy, people impatient and yelling at one another—it felt like the store Target had grown wings.
The flight attendants got everyone to put their crap in the over head bins and prepare for departure by simply stating over the speakers: “Welcome to Delta Airlines–now sit the f*ck down!” I don’t know how it happened but we made it to 35,000 feet in the air where birds can’t fly and so I did my best to relax by meditating—in the nude. The elderly woman behind me kept getting up and each time she pulled my seat back and pulled my hair. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I turned around and told her, “Mom, knock it off!”
There must have been 20 shrieking infants throughout this filled to the brim aircraft. At first me and my passenger mates, felt for the parents by giving them a “poor thing” look. Then after 30 minutes of hardcore shrill non-stop crying and realizing we had 4 more hours to go, everybody started glaring at the culprits—like the time my mother caught me smoking pot in my room—remember that?
I did my best to distract myself from the babies, the other passengers, the noise, the stagnant air by walking around the plane but since I suffer from motion sickness, the best place for me was sitting still in my seat. As I stated earlier, I sat between two large dudes. The dude on my right was having a breakdown of sorts; he was popping pills and drinking beer while rolled up in a fetal position. The dude on my left was happily opening up the Hickory Farms gift basket on his tray table. In my head I was shouting, Please don’t please don’t please don’t open that nasty smoked sausage! But he joyfully pulled that sucker out and took a bite of his meat stick—I know! I wrapped my sweater around my face so it could stop that rancid animal flesh smell from entering my nostrils—it kinda worked–kinda.
And then I fell asleep. I guess lack of oxygen and all those nitrates oozing out of that cylindrical beef tube knocked me out. I was awakened to, “We’ll be landing in 15 minutes.” I let out a big fat sigh of relief.
Come to think of it, that particular flight wasn’t all that bad but it definitely wasn’t fun. And I don’t mean to trash Target. I love that store. When I die, I’m going to have my ashes spread all over the underwear department—men’s section.
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