Monday, August 29, 2016

     Getting up at 4:00 a.m. has become a habit, and that’s all right when I don’t have to face the world. I can ease into sunrise at my leisure. Getting up at 4:00 a.m. for a 6:30 a.m. flight—-that’s another story. Fortunately, I was able to fall asleep at 9:15, so at 2:00 p.m., I am still functioning. 
This is not a blog about my sleep habits, so don’t delete yet. This is a blog about flying. 

     Suppose you meet some lucky alien who has never flown, and you’d like to explain what it’s like to go up in a long silver bullet vehicle full of 300 strangers at least 1/3 of whom are suffering from some illness. Imagine sitting about 3/4” from the two seat mates on either side. If you’re lucky, they are small people so you can actually use an arm rest occasionally. You must carry your suitcase down a very long narrow aisle because the width of your very small roll-on won’t fit in the aisle. By the time you get to your seat, you breathe a sigh of relief if there is a tiny space overhead to lift your 50-pound bag and shove it into the bin. Whew. Now you make yourself as small as you can, pulling in all limbs, rolls and pigtails so that you can fit into the designated space. If you don’t pay at least $75 extra for a normal human-sized seat, this is what you must do. Now you are folded in thirds, ready to start your flight. 

      After about three hours, the bottoms of your thighs begin to feel detached from your legs, so you feel like you are sitting on air, but the air hurts. Your feet are asleep, as you haven’t been able to move them for 180 minutes, and your brain has gone to mush trying to block it all out or entertain yourself however you choose. 

     At this point, even if you don’t have to head to the biffy, you excuse yourself and crawl over the person next to you (who is in the middle of watching a great film) because you will do anything to feel your extremities, even pee. You dash down the tiny trough isle and squeeze into the “biffy.” This is a small cabinet the size of a plantation shutter. The only good part of this unit is that it locks. I will not describe anything beyond this point. The alien must use her imagination.

     By the time you get to your destination, you are counting seconds to escape. That is the moment the Captain comes on the intercom and says, “Ladies and Gentlemen: We have landed 25 minutes early, but there is a long line at the gate, so we will have to wait about an hour until it’s our turn.” Are you effen kidding me? When’s your next flight?