February 28, 2008

California to Minnesota: A Travelogue

I’m all the way back in 27a - a window seat. I hate the back and I dislike the window seat. When you pee twice an hour and you’re prone to brief moments of claustrophobia, window seats at the back of the aircraft just don’t work out. Lucky for me though, the middle seat is unoccupied. That’s one less person to witness me freaking out and one less person to crawl over.

Over California: I just spotted my apartment building from 15,000 feet. I even like it from way up here. Okay, I admit - maybe the window seat is nice for take-off and landing.

Over Nevada: The young woman in front of me is fat and jolly. One of those folks you hope not to sit next to on a flight when you don’t feel like talking or being squeezed to death. I can see that she’s watching a DVD. Something tells me it’s not Fight Club. I take a genre guess. Romantic Comedy. I lean forward and peer over the seat to find Sweet Home Alabama playing.

Over Colorado: It came over the intercom suddenly and clearly. “Ladies and Gentlemen. If there is a Doctor or nurse on board, please press your call button.” This sends people into a mild frenzy. All the fake sleepers sit up. Headsets are removed. I look in front of me at all the little red lights above everyone’s seat. I’m lucky to be in the back of the plane. One light, two lights, three lights! A man slowly stands up and looks mildly annoyed, like this was an interruption to his viewing of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue he just picked up at the airport. A flight attendant moves quickly from the back with a first aid kit and joins the medical guy and they proceed forward, right through the curtain and into first class. The woman behind me snickers to her husband, “Ha! It’s someone in first class.” As If this classist woman believes someone in first class deserves a heart attack or something. Ten minutes later all seems to be okay. But I was nervous for those minutes in limbo. I mean, this is a direct flight that I went out of my way to purchase and the thought of an emergency landing is enough to make me lose my mind - especially because we’d probably have to land in Denver.

Over Colorado: Free food! The advertisement in my seat pocket suggest Sun Country Air was the 2007 “#1 Airline for Customer Satisfaction.” I bet it’s because people love getting the meal. Unexpected free food can drown out any sort of complaint. The guy to my right carefully takes his sandwich out of the plastic and places it neatly on his tray. And then he bows his head down and prays like this ham and cheese sandwich is the last meal he’ll ever eat. I imagine him offering up requests for the person in first class and maybe even for me, the scruffy cut up jeans guy to his left. He’s still praying when the attendant offers me the same sandwich. Unfortunately, the sight of cheese sends my stomach into mayhem. But I take it anyway and offer it to the woman in front of me.

Over Minnesota: I just finished several pages of The Stranger by Camus. It’s number 27 out of 55 books I’m reading in my late twenties that I should have read in my late teens.

“Attention passengers. Please put your seat in the upright position and put all electronic devices away.”


Beck said...

DAMN you, Josh Jackson, and your suspenseful blogs! Meh!

Ok, I apologize. All sweetness here. Next installment, please.

That *is* a dirty tricky way to get people to visit your blog, you know.

Josh Jackson said...


That was it. No part 2.

Thanks for your wonderful comments. They always force me to call in Kari for a "comment reading." :)

Beck said...

I'm an inexperienced flier... I was thinking the flight attendant's directions signaled the end of the flight, and this, naturally, did not make sense since you were on a direct flight to Minnesota and were flying over Nebraska...

...plus I had removed my virtual $15 headphones to see what the ruckus was in first class...

Josh Jackson said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Maybe I was over Minnesota instead. I do remember a lot of lakes. :)

Keith Drury said...

Great eyes and ears Josh--the secret to great writing!

HA! And it just reminded me you don't eat cheese... and I remembered that day in new Hampshire after 100+ miles of backpacking and double that in hunger you were quite able to refuse a pizza with cheese...

Well, the flight couoldn;t get over until the fat lady ate your cheese.

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