I’m finally at my airport gate.
After a week of road trips and visiting kinfolk, I am wearily, thankfully ready to go home.
My favorite word.
Airplanes trump cars any day for getting from point A to point B. Someone else drives doing a million miles per hour, nice people bring you drinks with little cocktail napkins, and the view can be pretty inspiring.
If you’re a planner (ahem), you’ve checked in 24 hours ago and have priority seating. This gives you a chance to cram your carry-on bag into the overhead before everyone else and choose a seat.
As usual, I grab a window seat as I am easily entertained by cloud formations.
I like to guess which tiny city we’re flying over by day or watch them twinkle at night.
But first I get to watch the airport personnel loading the luggage below us.
They are tossing suitcases – the ones you just worked so hard to pack and keep under the weight limit – like slabs of beef at a Mongolian buffet onto the conveyor belt.
Heave! Thunk! And the long slow roll into the bowels of El Diablo.
We are feeding the belly of the beast that will fly us over land and sea to retch our luggage up again onto some distant shore.
If we’re lucky, it will be the same distant shore we ourselves land on.
I set my large purse under the seat in front of me and watch everyone else board.
Here comes a mom with a toddler. Everyone is giving her wary looks and cringing as she passes; thankful she’s not next to them. I feel so sympathetic for her. She needs to get somewhere with this kid as fast as possible, hence a plane.
Little kid plus limited movement equals grumpy kid. I hope she packed some emergency travel toys.
And some tranquilizers.
Not for the kid.
For the nearby passengers who will give her dirty looks no matter what she does.
She can sit by me.
Here comes a woman with…two kids and a….dog? She has a small dog in a wheeled mesh enclosure just barely larger than said dog and is wheeling it down the aisle. Really? I know it’s not going into the overhead. Will the dog be put at her feet? Can it breathe in that contraption? What if it barks? What if it gets airsick? What if someone accidentally kicks it? What if passengers are allergic?
Maybe there are hair filtration masks next to the barf bags in the seat pockets.
Will the stewardess now hand out little drinks, snacks, and doggy biscuits?
And will we be able to tell the difference?
This really does seem unfair and dangerous to the pup. But what do I know.
Guess I’ll be glad it’s not a snake.
It’s starting to feel like the bus in here.
Certainly we are packed in like sardines and the air now smells strongly of the kid next to me’s Doritos.
Like a bus, you never want to attempt to find the tiny bathroom. Your seatmates are in no mood to struggle in and out of the aisle for you. Even if it’s unoccupied, you will be sorry you stepped inside. Certainly you won’t be able to turn around or sit.
Better just hold back on those drinks I was thinking about.
Whoa, mister. You just reclined your seat the allotted 2 inches into my lap. Your weave is up close and personal. I just might accidentally get Doritos crumbs into it.
We have window seats! Lean sideways!
Our flight is a whole hour long.
Already I’m clicking my heels like Dorothy, chanting, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
The pup in the back is whimpering.
And then the plane lurches slowly away from the airport.
Act 2 is about to begin…