The luxury of air travel does not escape me. Here I am, on my iPad, sipping…..drinking a Jack and Coke while Public Enemy rockets through my headphones. There isn’t much to complain about besides my ass getting numb only 30 minutes into the flight and my seats ability to only recline 2 ½ inches. I’m loving the window seat directly on top of the right wing. Each time (twice so far) that I’ve sat over top of the wing I’ve felt this sort of…honor. As if they had placed me here full-well knowing that if something went wrong with the wing, I’d be on top of that shit.
Damn right I am. I just hope my fellow “Passenger Safety Officers” are as attentive as I am.
I’m looking’ at you, guy sitting next to the emergency exit towards the front of the plane with a terrible comb over. Anybody who struggles with their identity like that should get called into question as to how they view life and death. I will speak to the Captain as soon as I am able.
All of a sudden I feel the urge to shout like William Shatner:
“THERE’S……………………. SOMETHING ON THE WING………SOME……THING…”
Nah. I’m already excited to have just bought alcohol on an airplane. The first time I ever flew was back and forth to Italy when I was 17, so scratch this one off the “Bucket List”.
Moving onto Dr. Pepper now. Better play it safe if I have to cover for “Colonel Comb Over” up there.
The woman next to me is fast asleep, her chin resting ever so gently on one of those neck-pillow things. By “ever-so-gently” I mean to say, her head has been rocking back and forth so violently she reminds me of a crash test dummy in the middle of an experiment. Lucky for her the Captain placed me in this seat for safety. I’ll continue to monitor her stats…. from a distance of course. The guy in the aisle seat though? The Old Man? No. He’s on his own if shit goes down. He’s blocking my way to the closest exit door and let’s be honest….he’s lived a full life.
I’m slightly cautious of a few of the people on the plane with us, not to say I think anything is going to happen but if there was ever anybody threatening to mentally snap from the nervousness of flight via the way they present themselves, it’s got to be these few. The guy in the Bow-Tie looks especially uneasy. Then again…. he kind of looks like Ray Liotta, who is a badass.
If there is anything I’ve learned not to take for granted in this life, it’s gamer chicks, Leonard Nemoy, Jaguar Sharks, peanut butter covered pine-cones, and Ray Liotta.
So in about 6 hours we’ll be touching down in San Francisco California. On our way we’ll cross a ton of states I have never had a desire to go to, and a handful of landmarks that I HAVE wanted to go to. Out my window, beyond my wing (I’ve named it Geoff), will eventually be sights such as the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and somewhere in there, the grave of Walter Matthau.
Once I get there the plan is simple: Grab bags, get to hotel, drop bags, find the nearest beach, stick feet in ocean. The Pacific Ocean, another piece of Earth that has eluded me. I love the ocean; despite the level of death it can incur. It’s a magical, wonderful beast unto itself and within it there is life.
A little turbulence…. keep it together Geoff. I’ve decided to name the other wing “Dirty Harry”, don’t ask me why, it just feels right.
Anywho, there is going to be a small photo tour through the city shortly after my arrival. No doubt it will be excellent. I’ve brought along my wife’s Cannon for the trip to get as good shots as possible. Needless to say, my life was threatened. I’ve never had someone look so lovingly in the eyes as they informed me of my imminent castration if anything bad happens to a piece of photo equipment. We are perfect for each other.
We’re over the Mid-West somewhere when the call comes across the intercom.
“If there anyone on-board who is a Doctor, EMT, Paramedic, or First Responder……please come to the rear of the plane.”
Heads turn, half in concern, half in excitement. The imagination starts to kick in, especially with our current location. Could be anything at all. Three or four people have made their way to the back of the plane, a curtain is now drawn for privacy. A few people are mumbling, probably about all the recent health scares that have been touted across the news outlets over the past few weeks. I’ll keep you updated.
Back to our destination…. San Francisco. It’ll be the first time I’ve been on that side of the country. Hell, the first time I’ve made it farther West than West Virginia. As much as I love the idea of traveling, I don’t usually get around to it. Money and all is quite difficult to come by while raising a little one. With my family’s support though, I’m here.
Possibly the greatest meeting of minds in the world of the Parenting Media, from the Dad side of things. Great strides have been made in the past two years to get rid of the stigma associated with fatherhood. We are not mindless thugs who don’t know a diaper from a hand grenade. We are not all porn obsessed binge drinkers with a hair up our ass about being in charge of a small human. Sure the world holds a ton of those types, but the level at which Dad’s are attacked outright as being these Homer Simpson type assholes should be classified as a hate crime. We’re looking to change that.
An hour and a half till landing and the Captain radios back to us.
We’re over Utah…and it’s going to get a little choppy. Seatbelt lights are on. Damn, right when I was thinking it’s time to stretch my legs a bit. I’m sure Sleeping Beauty and the Old Man in the Aisle won’t mind too much.
There’s a lady sitting in the row ahead of me, in the middle seat. I will call her the “Bose Lady”, as she has not taken off her top-end, ridiculously expensive, noise-canceling headphones off since before we boarded the plane. She seems very interested in the piece on Anne Hathaway that’s in the airline produced Magazine we’ve all been given. Maybe I can trade with her. Mine is about Gwyneth Paltrow and well….y’know…..sick of her.
Our flight attendants are quite a bunch. Two women in their 40’s and a “20 something” feminine young man named Nathan. He’s very sweet, with his little drink cart and his apron. The coffee is terrible, although I’m sure there is nothing they can do about that. One would ponder though that they would at least be able to make some adjustments to keep the flow of grinds out of my little paper cup, but it could be worse. That’s the kind of attitude you have to keep on a plane like this, it could always be worse. Although…they spend millions of dollars developing airplanes and can’t develop technology to keep grounds out of your coffee?
No news on the passenger that needed a doctor. Seems everything worked out just fine.
Looking out the window for the first time in a few hours, I’m a little shocked. I’ve never seen such a huge expanse of land colored so red. I tried to take pictures with the Canon but they came out pretty bright. I’m sure later, or “in post” as the professionals say, we can darken it up a bit and see what’s good. I snapped a few pics on the ol’ iPhone for good measure. Doesn’t show a whole lot of detail, but it’s in better contrast than the Canon.
As I was standing in the rear, waiting for the bathroom, I noticed ashtrays still installed in the lavatory doors. According to the flight attendant this plane has been in operation for quite a while. Long enough at least to still allow smoking for a time, especially in Europe she says. Yes, this is an Old Bird as it turns out. Nevertheless, it seems that Geoff and Dirty Harry will get us to our destination right on time.
We’ll see how much free time I can work out from the conference schedule. I aim to have my feet in the ocean, my eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge, and my wallet a little lighter than when I arrived by the time Sunday morning rolls around.
The choppiness continues. I have faith in my Captain however, as it is obvious he has faith in me to keep an eye on Geoff. I’ve just taken notice of Dirty Harry’s caretaker, looks about my age, fiddling with his Mac laptop. Baldy continues to concern me. When was the last time his credentials were checked?
Hell…..when was the last time MY credentials were checked? I mean, my Goddam passport photo is from 8 years ago. That was before I could grow any facial hair and I still got that terrible 90’s haircut known as “The Caesar”. I’m just imagining my face, hairless, and a little cowlick sticking up on the front of my head like a cheap tiara. What the hell was I thinking back then? Tell you the truth, when I think back to my high school days I realize how emotionally fucked up I was. No matter, people grow up. No time to look back now, keep your eyes on the future. The prize is ahead, not behind you.
We’re jumping about quite a bit at the moment. Geoff is wiggling obnoxiously but holding together. I’d tell you about the other one but unfortunately the Mac-Lover has fallen asleep. Its getting to the point where if we shake any more my bladder will release. I’d bring it to the attention of Sleeping Beauty and The Old Man, but I know if I concentrate I can pull it together.
C’mon Geoff. Me and you. We can hold strong.
I can officially report my dissatisfaction with the so-called “Snack Box”. It consisted of a strip of Cheddar Cheese, plain crackers, a mini Fig bar, Almonds, Cookies, and two below average mints. I suppose we’ll start from the beginning.
The cheese was warm, the crackers were dull, the cookies weren’t real cookies, the mints made my mouth smell worse than it was, and the fig bar tasted like a Vegetarian shat in my mouth. And let’s be honest….Almonds are Almonds.
The Captain has graced us with his wealth of knowledge once more. We are beginning our decent into San Francisco, the weather down there is 70 degrees and overcast. Sounds perfect to me, especially having come from miserable, snow-covered Pennsylvania. That’s right, myself and the band of misfits I share a plane with have traveled across the entire country to be here. Just look at a map of the United States and think about that. That’s so far, we might as well be in another country. I’ve learned in my years that you should always respect the largeness of the universe you live in, and nothing will make you give more respect to that than flying in a tin can crammed with people as you look down over thousands of miles of land you’ve only ever heard of.
Geoff has adjusted, and my ears have just popped. Must mean we are landing in a few minutes. I can’t help but smile. I miss my little one, and my wife. But the thrill of adventure will always keep you in good spirits.
As I made my way down to the baggage pick-up area, I noticed my phone had died. I’ll have to find a charging station around.