Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lessons From the Friendly Skies

Things I learned on my recent weekend trip to California while traveling with my friend, Allyson.
(We didn't plan the arm thing.)

1. Don’t sit next to jerks on the plane. I’ll explain further.

Although there is a somewhat “unspoken rule” that the window seat person controls the window, some people obviously don’t know that. Which is why I again refer to my previous lesson; don’t sit next to jerk’s on the plane. I know "jerk" is a strong word. But it's better than what I called him on Friday.

Okay, yes. He could have just had a bad day. But huffing aloud and rolling his eyes at least 4 times, plus plugging his ears, and then ultimately saying, “Oh I see how it is. You control the window do you?” to my friend Allyson after she had closed the window because I was convinced the plane was not simply turning, but heading wing first into the Pacific Ocean.

(Not to mention the fact he kept his foot inside my bag and wouldn’t budge it even when I was reaching to retrieve my bag.)

2. Not everyone wants to help out and let two traveling partners sit together. So if you fly Southwest and thus your seats aren't assigned, and you're some of the last to board the plane, you end up being extremely thankful for the girl who immediately upon seeing us want to sit together (once she un-engrossed herself from her ipad and realized other people were on the plane) gave up her seat immediately. 

3. Do not fly in the winter. I have enough fear of DRIVING in snow and FLYING in any weather, and so the combination of a delayed flight, turbulent skies, and then having to get in the car and ride home on snowpacked roads at 30 mph was almost too much for my travel anxiety. Thank heavens for over the counter anxiety meds or I may surely have died.

4. Fly with a friend. I love Mike, but he seems to have his own unspoken rule that when he flies he reads. Not Allyson. We talked non-stop the entire way there and back. (Okay, so maybe the guy next to me had reason to put his fingers in his ears, but  it still wasn’t a very nice gesture.)

5. On the return flight home sit in between aforementioned friend and a nice BYUI student who let me squeeze her leg (well I didn’t actually ask, it just kind of happened). Nice Kimberly, told me she has a horrid fear of public speaking which was quite ironic considering that was exactly WHY I was on the plane ride in the first place. Bless her.

6. Don't squeeze friend Allyson's hands quite as tightly as I must have been to have her say, "I'm a writer and a pianist and have delicate fingers. Please don't break my bones."

7. At the airport sit next to nice men who when seeing both my friend and I need to charge our phones at the same time and there is only one plug available offers us the USB port on his ipad to charge into. Sure it made us have to sit kind of close to the man on the floor of the LAX airport, but when you’re offering to be friendly that’s the price you pay. (Mike's convinced he retrieved all of Allyson's information and his kindness was simply a ploy for identity theft. How rude of Mike. The USB port sharer was a nice man and I feel the desire to defend him.)

I have a picture of the cute older man, but decided against publishing it on my blog.

8. While feeling tense and panicky about upcoming flight into a massive snowstorm, notice a man’s hat on backwards with a somewhat crude saying on it facing us. Allyson and I laughed hysterically at it. We both took pictures and sent to people we knew that would appreciate it. Except I don’t think anyone really appreciated it as much as we did, as neither of us got any responses to our texts. Maybe we were so exhausted and panicked (me) that we would have laughed about just about anything.

Speaking of feeling tense and panicky, dear Allyson decided to completely eliminate the risk of us not being able to sit together on our return flight home and went to speak to the gate agent. I'm not quite sure I want to know exactly what she must have said about her "friend with severe travel anxiety" to have returned with this:
(can you see the fine print? on the basis of "disability")
It made me laugh so much. You'd never know from the photo that I was one step away from having a panic attack of all panic attacks. (Not that I've ever had one, but I'm fairly certain I was close on Sunday night.)

9. Don’t leave my can of Pringles in my brother’s car. A delayed flight caused for a little extra hungriness and it would have been nice to offer them to my hungry friend in exchange for letting me hold her hand. (I was too tense and panicked to have eaten anything myself.)

10. That driving through a major snow storm while being able to feel sand in my toes (thanks to my niece throwing sand on the beach), did not make me think only of my good California memories just hours before. It made me realize that I should move to California where there will never be the risk of snowy roads.

11. Pray. Pray. Pray. And then Pray some more. I’m alive and well and survived flying and driving in a snowstorm in one day. It better never happen again.

12. Which it won’t, because the biggest thing I learned was to stay home from now on and never have to worry about weather, and airplanes, and turbulence, or heading wing first into the Pacific Ocean again.

Maybe by the next time a trip opportunity comes around, I'll have forgotten about this one.

(More on why I went to California and my visit with some of my favorite people there later...)


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