Friday, September 10, 2010

End of the Cope Rope

Have you ever just had it? Emotionally, physically? I had that experience on a plane once. I do seem to have problems with flying, but most of the time I can work my way out of it. Once on the way home from Chicago, I was not able to. It had been an extremely long work meeting and I think I'd had a glass of wine while waiting with co-workers in the airport.

I boarded my flight, feeling relatively okay. As soon as we took off, I knew I was in trouble. I suddenly starting feeling like maybe I might throw up or burst into tears. Now, when having this sort of mental/physical break down, your traveling companion is really important. I knew I was really in trouble when I glanced to my right (thankfully, I was at least on the aisle) and saw the worst traveling companion possible, the frequent flyer businessman.

Now, you know who I mean. That guy that will run you down like a dog to get in front of you. He has to be first on the plane, he has to get his over sized suitcase in the overhead first, he has to get his drink order taken first, etc. They are the worst, they really define rude.

So, he won't even make eye contact with me, he is for sure not chatting through this with me.

Okay, I tell myself, here comes the flight attendant with drinks. This is nothing a little gingerale won't cure. I get the gingerale, no better. Then the unthinkable happens, they park the drink cart right in front of me, blocking me in completely. Now, when you are on the verge of a panic attack, this is not good. I decided I must make them move it, but I must make up a good reason.

"Umm, I'm so sorry, but I have to go to the bathroom right now". I don't have to go at all. Plus I've got this gingerale. So, oddly, I go to the bathroom with my gingerale. I go sit in there for a minute, sadly realizing I have ruined my gingerale, because surely it has absorbed the germs that are the airplane bathroom. Being in that tiny room is not doing anything good, so back I go. Now all I have is un-drinkable gingerale.

I try to read. Not helping. I look at the businessman again, praying I've misjudged him and now he will become this super supportive guy. Nope.

Well, this is it. It's time for what I save for worst case scenario. The tiny air vent thing on the ceiling. Now, I try to save this for absolute last minute freak out. Like this whole time I'm thinking, "Okay, if the gingerale doesn't help, maybe I'll turn the air on", "If getting the drink cart out of the way doesn't work, then the air".

I decide it's time. I reach up, and twist the air vent. NOTHING! No air comes out. Here I am expecting this ambrosia-like whiff of air that will somehow revive me and nothing happens!!

I start crying. Not loud, just tears running down my face because I'm sure I won't make it. That's it, sorry uninvolved businessman, you're involved. I do not ask him, I do not look at him, I just hoist myself up on our shared arm rest (which OF COURSE he has hijacked with his jacket) and grab his air vent. I point it towards myself and turn it on.

It works. The air helps. This odd behavior does get at least a look, of course a look of annoyance, from mr. business. I narrow my eyes and give him my best "you don't want to start something with me right now", through tears, and it works. He does an indignant eye roll, but no comment.

"Go ahead", I say to him telepathically, "touch that air vent and see what happens".

Though I've been on a few transatlantic flights, that not more than an hour was the longest in my life.

The moral of this story, be compassionate with your flying companions. You just might save somebody from getting to the end of their cope rope!

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