Friday, July 30, 2010

Airline Disdain

Mid flight, somewhere over podunk U.S.A. between Pittsburgh and Chicago,
 at a volume level loud enough for the entire cockpit and crew to hear,
 Emory informs me that "engines are necessary".
"Yes, very necessary."
"Without a engine mom, the plane would fall out of the sky."
"Thank you so much for that kind reminder Emory".
I don’t like flying. It’s just a necessary evil for me. Pilot husband could chat all day about ground speed and birds eye views, but I’m more of a boots on the ground kinda gal. No doubt, flying is an efficient means of transport. Obviously, if we had to cover the ocean by canoe, it’d take an awfully long time. But, the question for anyone who’s ever flown, ‘what if?’ echoes loud enough.

I take that back. It’s not the pesky question of a plane screaming toward the ground as gravity takes over to an ultimate death. My dislike of flying emanates from various other functions aboard airplanes and around airports. Take for instance the annoying popping, pressure feeling in the ears that happens on ascent and descent. It makes you hear as if you’re thirty thousand leagues under the sea until well after you’ve left baggage claim.

And security. I’m all for making sure no one is trying to light their shoes or underwear on fire in flight. But walking around in an area with total strangers in bare feet is gross. Not nudist beach gross. Still, how do I know if Joe Schmo up there in line doesn’t have planters’ warts? Or Miss Persnickety with the pink suitcase doesn’t have athlete’s foot? Yuck.
Then there’s the airline attendants, bumping into elbows and legs with their carts, and talking in a patronizing tone. The safety videos, which no one pays attention to anyway. If they want people to watch safety instruction, get a celebrity to show us how. Wouldn’t it be more fun to hear how to fasten a belt from somebody like Jerry Seinfeld?

And when it’s all said and done, the jet lag. That has to be the best way to feel hung over without drinking. Clearly Our Creator’s way of saying ‘slow down, you’re going too fast in the wrong direction.’
Speaking of wrong direction, the screaming, restless kids. If not mine, theirs.

And Sky Mall. The most pitiful excuse to spend money. Does anyone ever really purchase from this store in the sky? Who the heck needs a John Wayne 3-D illuminated cuckoo clock? A meek rat gang statue in the yard? How about a “Pooch Power shovel”? The catalogue says this must-have-gadget, which resembles a cheap leaf blower, is “almost like having someone else pick up your dogs waste.” That’s just wrong.
For a mere $69.99 you can purchase “Priceless Print Charms”. Seriously, who are they kidding?
The ad says “when a tangible object bears the uniqueness of a loved one from home the simple act of touching such a thing removes the distance…” Sorry, to disagree. Staring at the fingerprints of loved ones does not close in the gap of 5,000 miles across the Atlantic pond. And anyway, I could ask them to send their fingerprints to me free of charge. Please tell me, why pay $69.99 for that?

The worst thing about flying. The wafting of a fart at 30,000 feet in the air. Unfair. Completely unfair. I know folks who can break wind like nobody’s business. But it’s not ok in an airplane. All trapped in there, with someone on board who’s seriously ill enough to cause O2 masks to deploy. Nasty.

Travel with kids is conquered in a fashion similar to the recent book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Eat- Feed the kids, pack snacks, feed them again.
Pray- that either out of boredom or an overflowing belly, they sleep. And that the in flight movie is worthwhile.
Love- Nothing to love about hours wasted meandering in airports. Always however, on take off and landings, we hold small hands and smile encouragingly into the eyes of four children
For us, long flights on airlines are, for now, necessary. But I really look forward to the day we try an “anchors aweigh” adventure back home. Better yet, the words “Beam me up Scotty!” as we depart for our next undertaking. Or best of all “we’re home sweet home!”

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