Saturday, May 09, 2009

Flight log

I love to travel.

Like that's any news.

But nowadays, I'm having a tougher and tougher time enjoying the part which involves the actual journey. I am beginning to hate to fly.

Say what now? The 'airport atmosphere of goodbyes, greetings and possibility of adventure' used to be right up there in my top 5 atmospheres I love, right alongside 'sitting on a summer cottage porch somewhere in the Finnish archipelago on an early morning in july sipping on that first cup of coffee', 'walking on a Mexico City sidewalk on my way to book club when the restaurants and cafes are just opening with a Starbucks latte in my hand', 'sitting in a nice restaurant while enjoying that first glass of a nice dry Pinot Blanc and holding hubby's hand', and 'cracking the spine of a really good, yet elusive book once I've really gotten into it'. (Unnerving that 2 out of 5 involve coffee, and 1 out of five wine, and only 1 out of 5 people. Hermit? Me?)

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to leave Jozi behind and reacquaint myself with the best lattes since Starbucks, there was a medical emergency on the plane. This came about as we were getting ready to take off, and required for the door to be reopened and for the paramedics to drive up to the plane and take a look. Now, as I had been sandwiched seated between the window and a very pregnant woman (I'm sure she should not have been flying in her filled-to-the-brim condition, but hey, this is Africa, and sometimes rules are more of guidelines and exceptions can always be made, especially by paying cash) I couldn't really see what the emergency was all about (however, I'm pretty confident it was no stroke or some such thing as the preggo in the aisle seat went right back to her needlework [since when do they allow needles and scissors on planes anyway?], after peering towards the front of the plane through her prescription sunglasses following the captain's announcement concerning the delay).

What would a normal person's response be to such a situation?

How can I help?
Oh my, I hope it's not serious?

What was my reaction?

"Fok, now I'm going to have to sit in this fokken narrow-ass seat, in this fokken tiny plane, even fokken longer. Fok. Major fok."

Later, when the guy sitting in front of me, who, based on his smell was on his last leg of the journey that had undoubtedly been very, very long (and involved either live chickens, or a dead goat), leaned his seat back I almost ripped his head off. Had they not moved the needle-working on-the-brink-of-multiplication  lady with massive amounts of hand luggage she had thought would fit under the seat into business class, I might really have hurt somebody.

But the joke is on me. In the next few months I'll spend a combined time of around 65 hours on different planes. And those are the trips I already know of.

Maybe I should just learn to relax. And count my blessings.


marathoner81 said...

There's something about being forced in small areas with people you don't know that makes me irate. I usually come home frazzled from the grocery store. Sounds like you handled it pretty well to me. At least they didn't have to escort YOU off the plane!

Pattern and Perspective said...

I used to like flying, but no more. Numerous flight delays, "malfunctions", etc. have really turned me into someone who would rather drive, than fly. I'm sure we would all like to "say" we responded normally, but I giggled at your response -- because I'd be overly annoyed too!

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

Once again confirming that we are indeed, long lost sisters, or maybe we share the same brain. Because that is the EXACT same reaction I would have. Especially having to sit longer and I HATE it when people recline their seats ALL the way back. And don't get me started on odifourous people on planes.

Extranjera said...

Marathoner - No, but they did give me an extra bottle of wine. I think because of the stinky in front of me.

P & P - At least I didn't actually try to separate anyone's head from their body (gotta count for something, right?)

VEG - Siamese twins joined by an ocean?

Pattern and Perspective said...

Oh, yes! A severed head would be drastic - I usually just give everyone the stink eye - especially, if no one is sitting next to me. I would much rather have my own seat so I can be away from stinky people and crying babies (hopefully!)

My name is Erin. said...

Children ruin everything. Especially traveling.

(now is where I have to insert my standard, "I love my kids. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I can't imagine my life without them." response for the people who don't recognize my dark sense of humor for what it is)

I'm planning to fly alone with my youngest child this summer and I already feel bad for everyone around me. But I mostly feel bad for myself. Ugh! Flying with young kids SUCKS! My mom initially wanted me to fly with both of my children... ALONE. Let's see. Going through airport security with two children under 4 years old. It's practically impossible! Not to mention the fact that my daughter is mildly Autistic. Let me tell you how much I enjoy the looks from the other passengers, "Can't you control your child?!" My child can't control herself! Do I get on and apologize to each passenger within 10 feet of me right off the bat? One of the last times I flew with my kids (and my husband) a woman who sat watching her DVD player with head phones on the entire time and was across the aisle in the row of seats in front of us, well away from kicking feet, leaned over to the parents of a 7 year old in front of us and said loud enough for me to hear, while flashing me a disdainful look, "YOUR child was SOOO WELL BEHAVED." Thankfully the woman she was speaking to took pity on me and said to her, "Well my child is MUCH OLDER and he used to be quite difficult when he was a toddler."

Don't get me wrong. I DO feel bad for expecting other passengers to put up with my children's unruly behavior. But I wish they could understand that I would LOVE to trade them places. Let them try to make kids do what they want them to do, while I sit and watch a movie with headphones on.

This is why I travel as little as possible these days.

Sorry... maybe I should start ANOTHER blog instead of blogging on your blog.


Extranjera said...

P & P - I do an excellent evil eye, but then again, I know how hubby stinks after flying home from all the way across the globe (no dead goats involved, usually), so I really try to limit my hatred to things folks can actually control.

Although, I do like to have a row to myself too...

Erin - Kids, especially the ones who are just too young to know better, don't get the evil eye. With kiddos, I seem to be able to let it go (once sat next to a newborn whose mother didn't want me to breathe towards him, 'cos i was flying in from Mexico and I did my best to not 'contaminate' him, and this was pre-H1N1). If you as a parent make an effort to be considerate towards the other passengers (lets face it, some parents don't acknowledge the fact that their child is torturing some poor person who just wants to sleep) you have my respect. I don't know much about autism, 'cept for that documentary about that lady who starts a special school and wants to put on a play at the end of the semester [loved it], the name of which totally escapes me, but I still have to say: The tiny ones are children, and if I find it difficult to sit in my fokken seat for 10 hours, how are they going to feel.
Yup, I'm the crazy lady who will speak to your kids and you make a mental note to avoid...
I'm just mad at Karma, who makes me sit next to smelly people and people whose baby I might just end up delivering - after I've had two tiny bottles of wine (too much responsibility for a drunk).
Lots of strength to your flying.
You are making everyone more considerate.

My name is Erin. said...

I LOVE the people who talk to my kids. They are so sick of talking to me. They love meeting new people. As for delivering some ladies baby on an airplane, if it were me, someone would have to pass me the wine, so I could actually do it. Otherwise, I'd be freaking out.

Thanks for letting me blog on your blog. And thanks for visiting My Camera.

Extranjera said...

Erin - (going to fok op this internet some serious soon!!! Zambia doesn't rock right now...)
Count me in as Crazy Lady #1, i'll always talk to kiddos, and occasionally they even throw up on me. Am blessed.
And thanks for blogging on my blog, good discussion is always (while enjoying wine [possibly only me]) appreciated!

Pattern and Perspective said...

Then I'm also mad @ karma...

My name is Erin. said...

Did I read somewhere that you Twitter? I succumbed to the peer pressure tonight. I'm such a sheep sometimes... just following the masses.

Hit 40 said...

When you said that he was on the last leg of his journey... I thought you meant death. My worst flight was next to a man who was near the end... a person who is dying usually has a distinct odor.

It was the worst. The smell was so bad ... I filled a couple airline bags. The old man said to me that he has never had trouble flying .... I could not tell the old man that it was him.

Isn't flying grand!

Extranjera said...

Erin - follow me from my blog and I'll follow you back.

Hit 40 - Nope, not dying, this one. Just really stinky, in that way one is after taking a bath in manure and/ or pure male sweat (you take your pick). Glad you survived your ordeal too...

dutchbaby said...

65 hours ahead? I must read more of your blog to learn why you fly so much! That is an ungodly amount in a short span of time.

I think there ought to be a rule on airplanes that if they have decreased the legroom to a mere two inches, the seats ought to be fused into the upright position. I am not interested in eating the headrest from the seat in front of me.

Extranjera said...

dutchbaby - totally agree. Was totally incensed, since the guy wasn't even going to sleep. He was enjoying beer too much.