I know, I know, everybody’s had a stab at it, but I just can’t help myself. As someone who flew in the days when air travel looked like this:
and is dismayed that nowadays it has become this:
so that, when I have to travel, I start out looking like this:
and by the end of it, I look like this:
well, surely you can see my point.
I had to fly from Oklahoma (themiddleofnowhere) to the Oregon coast?(prettymuchparadise), and then back again. I know the second half of that scenario makes little to no sense, but apparently I love my children. The secret to my successfully executing this plan was very simple.
Have excessive amounts of it available at all times. Pack extra. You’re going to need it.
I “packed extra” in the form of my sister. She is a black belt in the comical arts. Other traveller’s extra humor may be packed in the form of a friend, an Onion publication, or liberal quantities of a mild sedative, such as vodka. Just be certain to pack it in 3 oz containers in a quart size zip-lock (the vodka, not your friend).
We also travelled with My Beloved, who is also very funny but mostly along to make sure that we don’t wind up in shackles due to our tendency to blurt out words like “bomb” and “plastic explosives” and “C4” in the middle of the airport, even if C4 happens to be the gate from which our plane is leaving. Shouting out “C4!” in response to a query regarding your gate can be risky business indeed, and may result in a dogpile of security with you at the bottom.
My Beloved was quite handy in keeping the two of us females calm, even when words like “One of you is on the Watch List” and “That doesn’t make any sense” were spoken by ticketing agents. These are not words one wants to hear from the lips of ticketing agents, or really anyone at the airport who is holding the future of your ability to travel freely in their manicured hands. Once we navigated these trivial hiccups and were safely ensconced on the aircraft, however, he mostly went to sleep in self-defense.
I say self-defense because my sister and I can become drunk as skunks without ever actually imbibing a drop of alchohol. Pretzels become eye-glasses and nose rings. Words like “marmoset” become exceedingly hilarious, especially when used in sentences like “I think that man is attempting to smuggle a marmoset onto the airplane by stuffing it into the back of his shirt collar” and “will you be sitting in the rabid marmoset, or non-rabid marmoset section?” Also, she brought along plenty of stimulating reading materials like Us and People and OK! which are almost certain to send one into peals of gaity with very little effort.
My point is that, when you are prepared–as we were–there is much to find humorous about the modern flying experience: the wanding, the bare feet, the delays, the surly employees, the hike to the gate that is–what? ohh!–in the other terminal, the unwashed masses, the claustrophobia-inducing cabin, being seated next to the engine for every. single. flight., the stuff that looks like food but really isn’t……….it’s hilarious! Hysterical! One could hardly have more fun if one was beset by a hoard of rabid marmosets intent on biting into one’s jugular!
**I must pause here to mention that there was truly a bright spot, a shining moment that will stand forever in our beleagered memories of the whole ordeal. Her name was Jamie. She was a flight attendant who actually understood why my sister and I had spirals for eyeballs and were cracking up at words like marmoset. It may have been my mental state, but I could swear she had a translucent pair of angel wings sprouting from her shoulderblades. When she picked up the intercom and said things like:
“Should the cabin lose air pressure, a mask will drop down from the compartment above you. When you have stopped screaming, please strap it to your face and breathe normally. Yeah. Right.”
“Please wear your seatbelt at all times when the light is on because, even though these seats were specifically designed with your comfort in mind, the floor and the ceiling–not so much”
we knew we had discovered a kindred spirit. Jamie, if you ever stumble upon my blog, rest assured that you are totally famous in my world.**
One of the things we found truly amusing was the presense of musicians now, posted at the exits to the security gauntlets. We saw harp players and piano players, all strumming and drumming out a myriad of relaxing and soothing melodies as the sheep people were herded directed through the chutes aisles on their way to slaughter their planes. We speculate that this is meant to assuage the rapidly building, almost uncontrollable urge to shriek wildly and perform a tap dance upon the head of the person wanding you. Or maybe it is only to keep blood pressures within reasonable levels. In that respect I can tell you with confidence that it does not succeed.
We flew via American Airlines, whose slogan has now become “We know why you fly.” If ever there was an open-ended idiom, there it be. Here are a few of our responses. Feel free to add your own.
a. it’s too far to walk
b. we’re secretly hoping for a cavity search
c. paying $658 for a bag of pretzels seems like a good deal to us
d. the game of “I must find edible sustenance in this airport before I pass into oblivion” is always good for a laugh
e. marmosets are too small to saddle
~and because I know you want to know…~