Air travel is not my favorite thing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my most hated thing. My most hated thing is slow internet. But air travel is up there.
I am not afraid to fly, it’s waiting in lines I don’t like. And that’s what air travel is, waiting in lines.
The airline even recommends that you arrive two hours in advance so you can already be in line when they delay your flight due to “maintenance issues.”
Also, I’m not crazy about passengers who snore. I just finished a flight where the man next to me admitted beforehand that he snored.
“I’m just gonna give you fair warning,” he said. “I snore really, loud.”
What was I supposed to say to that? Mazel tov? Should I have thanked him?
Then again, I have no room to judge those who snore. My wife says I snore badly. Last year for my birthday, she bought me an anti-snoring device. I believe they call it a taser.
The man beside me snored hard. So I wore headphones to listen to music. But there was a problem. Apparently, my cell phone had only one song stored on it, which was Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On.”
I like Hank Snow as much as the next guy, but after four replays of this country hit, I realized that my life was falling apart.
Thus, I had two options: I could either turn off Hank Snow and listen to the hyperventilating grizzly bear beside me. Or, I could listen to Hank Snow until I cracked and did something that would cause the air marshall to subdue me.
So I replayed Hank.
When we reached Atlanta, I had to go to the bathroom. I only had fifteen minutes to catch my connecting flight, and there was a long line for the restroom.
“Why’re we waiting in line?” I asked the man ahead of me.
“Because,” he said. “Only two urinals are in service.”
“Welcome to Atlanta,” said another man.
Men in line were gyrating, pumping their legs, groping themselves, and wincing in pain. A four-year-old boy had to go so bad that his father marched him into the bathroom and held him up to the sink. The kid did his best to miss the mirror.
After the bathroom, I sprinted to catch the train to my connecting flight. I boarded a full train car. An elderly woman boarded after me. She was towing a suitcase that was the size of New London, Connecticut.
I offered her my seat because my mother would have insisted on this. But the woman looked at me funny.
She scoffed and said, “I’m listening to music, I don’t want your seat.” Then she put on earphones, closed her eyes, and tuned me out.
But this was a mistake on her part because when our train got going—and these trains go very fast—she was jolted off her feet and fell backward onto a man who was eating what appeared to be tortilla soup.
When I reached my gate, I was out of breath. I thought I was late, but I wasn’t. There was a crowd of sixteen hundred passengers—get this—waiting in another line.
The man ahead of me was a businessman from Des Moines. He wore a flat look and said, “Maintenance issues.”
We waited for two hours. Two.
It is hard not to feel like livestock in this kind of scenario. All you can do is stand, and occasionally “moo” to show disapproval.
When we boarded, people were storing bags in overhead compartments. The woman beside me tried to fit her bag in, but it wasn’t working. The flight attendant told her she would have to check her bag, and the woman started yelling.
“NO! YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME! YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME!”
This lady was losing her mind. So a few of us tried to calm her down. When she came to her senses she buckled herself in beside me and apologized.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just hate to fly, and I hate airports.”
I understood this of course. And I told her as much. Because there is nothing easy about flying. It takes a toll on the human mind. But for all its quirks, at least it’s a safe way to travel. I am grateful for that.
Before takeoff, I looked out the window and noticed fluid leaking from a jet engine on my side. It was a very crucial-looking, greenish fluid, making a puddle on the tarmac.
I felt better when a man wearing a uniform inspected the leak, which was really spewing. The man stared at the leak, then looked at the cockpit and gave the “thumbs up” sign to the pilot.
“Wait a second,” I said to the woman beside me. “A thumbs up? Someone should really tell the—”
And we took off.
The woman placed an eye mask over her face. She said, “Just a fair warning, sweetie, I snore.”
I don’t ever want to hear Hank Snow again.