I am not a good traveler. It is sad. I am planning on starting a support group. We will have field trips to the airport, train stations, and taxi stands. The first trip will just be getting to the airport. I have a big hangup about getting to the airport on time. I am never late, I am the idiot that sits in the airport for hours. I grew up in Albuquerque. There is an airport there, so you left home maybe 45 minutes before the flight. When I was 13, we got to take a fight to Grandma’s alone. I dressed up just in case the stewardess needed to tell me I was very handsome and grown up. This would have been in the day that flying was actually a service and was fun. My mom would walk me to the gate and tell me should would wave as I took off. I am realizing this very moment that she might not have waited the whole time and I wouldn’t really know. It could have been the, “I saw you jump off the diving board.”
I remember walking onto the tarmack (yes I am that old) and up the staircase into the plane. I handed the boarding pass to the stewardess, who did not comment on how grown up or handsome I was. She told me how to find my seat and asked if I would like something to drink. I pretended I was thinking about it and asked for a coke. I had worn my brown felt cowboy hat with the torn corners of all the denominations of money in the headband and oversized cowboy boots. I removed my hat and said, “Thank you ma’am” because that is what all the cowboys in movies said. I sat, crossed my legs and hung my hat on my boot. I was ready to fly. An elderly lady sat next to me and commented how handsome I looked. (Hello, stewardess, do you see how easy that was?) I took a cinnamon toothpick out of my pocket and hung it from my lips. Yep, I was ready.
I have not enjoyed flying since that trip.
I flew down to Albuquerque, NM on Sunday. I was testing out my theory that not driving 8 hours would be a better plan. I jumped up at 4 am. I drank coffee, showered, shaved, ate, and hopped in the car. I had decided to wear my birkenstocks so that I would have an easier time removing my shoes for the TSA. I emptied my travel bag of all dangerous things like my fingernail clippers and safety razors. I made sure my toothpaste was the little travel thing that costs twice as much as regular size. I debated about shampoo and decided it was safer to leave it behind. I brought my kindle and a book from the library because, apparently we will crash and burn if I read on the plane or leave my tray table down. I worried about being on time, despite having 4 hours until departure. I was 45 minutes ahead of time, which suits me just fine. I read in my kindle wondering if that would make a plane drop from the sky. They boarded us in a haphazard way. There were five roped off access points to one gate. We were supposed to line up in the corresponding section, but there were three flights leaving from that same gate, and no one paid attention to the lines. We went down a dank staircase and then a long walk in a temporary tunnel. I did get to go on the tarmack again and decided it was because I had started to type this in the airport and I used their open WIFI. I climbed the stairs on a Yugo with propellers. No one commented on how handsome I was, or how grown up I looked with my laptop casually slung over my shoulder. It was a bumpy flight and I think the pilot forgot how long the wheels were on landing because we hit with a thud. He said we are either taxiing to our gate, or about to meet our fate. I am not sure which, but I got off the plane pretty easily.
I am still not sure I loved traveling via airplanes, but I will try it again…maybe they will let me see the cockpit and get some of those plastic wings. I am so grown up.