At the time of this writing, I’m four hours and thirty-eight minutes into a fifteen hour flight – and then will still have a few more hours to go after that. I’ve traveled a fair amount, and this isn’t my first “long-haul,” but for some reason I have had a lot of anxiety surrounding this trip.
For one thing, I’m flying coach. This would be awful on its own, but I haven’t been able to stop mentioning it. And every time I mention it, it makes me feel worse. At first my “in coach!” emphasis followed a logical flight-related statement. Then it mutated into bringing anything and everything back to my flight.
Would you like another bourbon? Yes, it’s not like I can have that in coach! I can’t talk now. I’m on my way to yoga, to practice for the contortions in coach! It’s freezing out…kinda like the air in coach!
Finally it’s become like that ridiculous “in bed” game that people play with fortune cookies. I guess it’s a battle scar; I wish I didn’t have it, but I’m not going to let you forget I went to war.
I’ve also been nervous about the ability for this plane to get to its destination intact. I should stress that I’m not usually a nervous flyer. And of course I’m wearing my lucky necklace, which has never yet let me down. But even before I ticketed, this flight seemed troubled. And it hasn’t helped that Seat-Mate has the same feeling. Our paranoia is feeding off of each other. We even discussed that maybe our sense of foreboding has nothing to do with the flight itself, but is because the world may end while we’re in the air. It would be a shame to have flown this far in coach only to step out to a barren land. It’d be more horrific though if the the world did end but somehow and we could fly around forever, in coach, fueling up from sky-buoys.
I don’t want to die right now nor do I ever want to die in coach. I want to live to make the coach flight back. This bit of traveling came at the wrong time. So often when I’m home, I’d like to be away, but right now all I can think of is being home. And I haven’t even arrived yet! I’m not sure if there is a difference between missing and longing, or if it even matters, but I’m feeling a really strong pull back to my Tree of Souls.
I heard a story the other day about an Air India flight and how it was a complete free-for-all. A woman decided to sleep in the galley because her seat was uncomfortable. The flight attendants preferred poker to attending to the flight. At one point, they put a tea cart out and made an announcement that people should just help themselves if they wanted anything, and then returned to their cards. In order to get the tea, however, one would have to step over the sleeping body on the floor.
I loved this story. Finally, I had one thing that made me feel that things could be worse. I had just finished telling Traveling Companion that story and within five minutes of my doing so, our flight attendant made this PA announcement: “Welcome on board. Smoking is not permitted and there is no sleeping on the floor.” For real.
It’s kind of funny, but I really don’t think that I’d have fully appreciated that moment if I hadn’t been in coach.
And in case you were wondering how this got posted, the lucky necklace prevailed. And brought me this: