At this moment I think I understand the feeling of the proverbial sardine in a can. I am currently somewhere around 30,000 feet trapped in a tin cylinder with about 240 other sardines. The man sitting next to me is probably 6’2” if he’s an inch and although I pity him, practically folded in half in his middle seat, no way am I giving up my aisle seat for anyone.
Just across the aisle from me sits Abi, and behind him is a woman who was asleep before we even taxied out to the runway. Oh, how I envy the sardines who can sit down, close their eyes, drop their jaw open and snooze blissfully unaware until it’s time to land this tin can.
I’m not sure Orville and Wilbur were aware of the Pandora’s Box they opened all of those years ago. I wonder what they would think if they could see us now. Or see me sitting here drafting a post on my laptop; definitely a first for me, writing a post while soaring through the clouds; although there is barely room for me to have said laptop in my lap. I fervently hope the man in front of me doesn’t recline his seat. And by the way, I’m pretty sure he bathed in cologne before boarding the flight.
I hate to fly. There isn’t one single thing I enjoy about the experience – other than it gets me where I want/need to be. But if I could ride the rails, drive a car or ride a bicycle, I’d choose any other mode of transportation there is, over getting on a plane. It’s a long story but nearly 40 years ago (yes, I’m that old) I endured one scary ass turbulent situation in a single engine plane and the memory of that day stills ring clear every time I fly. And it’s not the take-offs and landings that bother me – not at all – it’s the slightest hint of turbulence and I’m back in that single engine plane.
But as much as I hate to fly, I’m a pretty big fan of airports. I love people watching and I can’t help but wonder what their stories are. Where they’re going, where they’ve been, are they happy, sad or indifferent? And if you’re as old as I am you remember – like I do – when there was no such thing as TSA, security screenings, full body scans, etc. etc. I remember walking right up to the gate to greet someone or say good-bye. It made for great airport melodramas.
Now, it’s just a royal pain in the ass to get through security. Although… yesterday morning I was granted a random TSA preapproval and it was all kinds of fabulous. I just walked right through security. I did not have to take off my shoes; I did not have to pull out my laptop or my prescription meds. I just smiled at the happy TSA agents and breezed through. Of course now I’m completely spoiled and will be even more impatient standing in the long lines. Sadly, Abi did not get super special preapproval and so off came his belt and shoes, out came his laptop and because he had a couple of credit cards in his front pocket, which he was asked to remove, they actually swiped his hands. Who the hell knows what they were looking to find on his hands. But the question begs to be asked… if I can be randomly selected to breeze right through (my bags and my body were x-rayed) why can’t everyone? Are the game rules changing? One can only hope.
So here we are, after a night of no sleep, back in one of our favorite cities, Washington, D.C. See, this is where flying comes in handy because one can get all the way across the country in a matter of hours, rather than a matter of days. But I’d still rather take a train or hit the road!