Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Air Travel

Sitting at LAX, relaxing in the super-sized wheelchair which toted me from Gate 3 to Gate 5 in style, trying to stay calm as our connecting flight to San Francisco is delayed and delayed and delayed once again.  Sure, we could change to an earlier flight, but our bag is checked and we'd have to return to retrieve it or pay to have it delivered to our hotel.  Apparently, the contract between the airlines and the passengers is weighted in the carrier's favor.  Apparently, I am the only one on the planet who is surprised by this.

I love to fly.  I love taking off and watching the ground drop away.  I like holding TBG's hand and squeezing as we leave the earth.  I like the free drinks and the little bags of pretzels and I like the fact that sitting still brings me closer to those I love.  I'm not nervous about crashing and I'm little enough that I'm rarely uncomfortable in the much too small seats.   

My fellow travelers, however, are a different story.  The people I'm looking at obviously did not look in the mirror before leaving the house today.

Jack Spratt should've donned underpants if he was going to squat in front of his infant while feeding him.   His butt is flat and exposed and it's really more flesh than I'm interested in describing.  Earth Mother,  his fleshier wife, is also going commando - a fact verified by the tightness of her flowered cotton dirndl and the camisole she's passing off as a blouse.  A deep V-neck allows her breasts the freedom of movement they need to peek out, nipples begging to be exposed to the air.  There ought to be a law.  These people are obscene.

We're sitting in the corner, right near the door to the gangway.  It must look like a phone book; this is the second person who's taken the space and used it to make a phone call.  He's on his way to Omaha.  He'll be late.  He's as aggravated as we are.

The Spanish speaking lady in the wheelchair across the aisle from me is reading a tv fan magazine.  She had a hard time understanding the announcements, even when a volunteer translator appeared from the ranks of the passengers.  She's calmer now than she was before.  That's a good thing.  I don't need any more anxiety than I am creating myself.  

Why does the wait upset me so?  I've only got 3 days to spend with my boy, and the edges of the travel days are bonus times I had planned to treasure.  Late afternoon, checked in to the hotel and transported via ZipCar to his apartment, I'd planned to tackle his closet before dinner today.  Obviously, that is not going to happen.  

There is not a fit person in this waiting room, TBG and I excluded.  The high school kids reading tarot cards on the floor might be in shape.  It's hard to tell when their clothes are 15 sizes too big.  They certainly have no compunction about blocking the main aisle between  the corridor and our gate.  Splayed on the ground, backpacks open and contents in disarray,  underwear on display and uncovered yawns on their faces, they are our future and I am scared.

TBG bought us a snack after the second delay was announced.  I was too upset to eat more than a bite or two.  You know the PTSD Monster is on the prowl when my belly rejects Thai Chicken Pizza.   No worries.  The lovely lady whose left arm is wrapped in bandages was happy to take the last piece in the box.   She's also going to Oakland.  She's also going to be late for dinner.  Sigh.

The TV Guide lady found her way to our new gate, pushing her own wheelchair as she meandered down the hallway.  Obviously, she has more inner strength than I'd given her credit for.  She was very grateful that we had told her the flight was moved to Gate 14.  I was grateful that she'd understood my pidgin Spanish.  I had to count the numbers out in my head, but the information was transmitted and received since she's here waiting with the rest of us.

This must be teen travel week.  There are three groups of kids supervised by extremely harried grown-ups milling about the gate.  More of the boys have earrings than the girls.  There's not one of them who managed to comb hair and tie shoes before leaving for the airport.  All but one group is fully-ear-plugged.  How do they talk to one another with earbuds installed?  it's a mystery.  Good thing I have time to ponder.

We've just been informed that we'll be leaving 2 hours earlier than the prior announcement had reported.  It's funny how gaining two hours has lessened my angst over losing two hours. I'm still bitter, but it's a little better.  Not much.  Just a little.

There are several of us with blue TSA-approved plastic covers for our boarding passes.  This allows us to bypass the Southwest queue and enter the plane early.  I'm really hoping for a bulkhead seat.  Bending my leg is okay for a while, but I need the length to stretch it out and remind it not to go into spasm.  It should be interesting, watching me fly down the gangway past the aged and infirm.  The plane's on its way from Nashville; I hope everyone gets off here in LA so my seat is waiting for me.

In my next life I'm raising children who never want to live more than a block away from their parents.

That's the plan and I'm sticking to it.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm with you on the kids need to live no more then a block away 'rule'! 800 miles is much too far away from my daughter and THE GRANDS (my 2 grand-children).

    I don't know what some people are thinking when they get dressed to go outside...ooops, my mistake, I assumed they were THINKING!

    PS-I don't usually delete a comment then re-write but my last one was so full of typos that I just had too. I did learn the lesson that I should NEVER post a comment before having my coffee first!

  3. Had to laugh at the comment about your kids living no more than a block away. My children are still young; so I think I will try and instill that in them. My oldest daughter keeps saying, "Mommy, I will always be with you". So right now, she loves me and doesn't want to EVER move out. LOL.

    Glad you are going to see the Big Cuter. Have fun!

    Megan xxx

  4. I rather hope you succeed. Our three live within 85 miles of us, in two different directions. It is better than it could be, but I'd be happier if they were all within 10 miles!

    I hope you had a good flight and weren't toooooo late for dinner.

  5. SuZi...this has to be the most HiLaRiOus entry I think I've ever read. Ever.
    As a former Southwest employee, I can certainly relate to and absolutely appreciate your candor here. I can only hope your return flight is much smoother. You are a GeM!!!

    ~LP <3

  6. When you come across that contract that binds the kids closer to home, please fax me a copy; I'm suffering here!

    And...I had a lot more fun with this flight than you did! Loved it.

  7. You sound just like me. I have serious personal space issues and you should see how I arrange myself in my seat as if I'm Captain Kirk erecting some sort of deflecting shield. In the meantime, I'll dream of flying first class someday!


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