5.2 Planes


You don't want to be hungover in the airport at Christmas time. The people, the lines, the security. The last thing you want is a throbbing head, potential for vomitus, dark circles under eyes that would alert suspicion in the most junior of custom agents. Just buy a five dollar bottle of water and a twelve dollar sandwich. Just sit down, try to eat and watch the frustrated travelers pass you by. In the line to go through customs, the woman behind me is singing Christmas carols. Seriously. And she's singing them joyously. She's so damn happy I want to turn around and smack her in the face. Of course I don't do that because this would probably be considered 'suspicious' behaviour and most likely I'd be taken into custody. Maybe I'd be let go if I explained that the woman was not only attempting to spread her goddamn Christmas cheer to everyone around her, but also audibly singing out loud. Yeah, they'd probably let me go, thank me for smacking her.

Make it through customs - not sure how - and immediately distance myself from the Christmas carol woman. In the security line, I take off my shoes, belt and remove all my electronic equipment from my bag. This takes a while and the corporate man behind me is getting antsy. Look, I can't go any faster and your little dance of springing from one foot to the other right behind me ain't helping.

Early at the gate, I'm standing there, watching the other people, trying through sheer will power to get this plane moving already. All I want to do is get on the plane, put in earphones and watch some stupid movie that I can fall asleep to. An attractive woman walks by and stops beside me. She proceeds to take her shoes off and starts doing yoga. This is the cosmic joke at play. I'm hungover and this woman's doing yoga, doing it right beside me to show just how unhealthy and despicable my lifestyle and behaviour is. Thanks lady, I'm glad you're getting your stretching in before the flight.

Finally, we're boarding. Slowly, we move through the gate on to the plane. Standing in the aisle, the line stops cause someone is getting something out of the overhead compartment. The flight attendant comes along, says, "Sir, do you really need to get that now? You're holding up the line." Ah, flight attendant shame. Love it, the best thing that happened all day so far. The guy gives a dirty look to the flight attendant as he pulls a pair of earphones out of his bag. He was in the right - getting those earphones was worth holding up twenty people!

Find my seat in the second row. Place my bag under the seat in front of me. A couple comes along, looking confused. Unseasoned travelers are the worst. They expect everyone else to excuse their ignorance. They take the seats in front of me. The woman immediately starts saying in a loud voice, "Where're we supposed to put our bags?" She reaches under the seat, grabs my bag and turns to her partner, "Whose bag is this? That's where I put my stuff." I tell her it's my bag and can she please put it back. She starts arguing with me. Seriously. Calls the flight attendant who backs me up, telling her that she has to put her bag in the overhead compartment. More flight attendant shame - I like this guy. "But what if I want something from it?" She whines. Jesus. Gives me a dirty look as she sits down.

Here comes yoga lady. I look at the empty seat beside me and know what's happening next. She sits down and immediately starts talking. Usually, I pull my book out or plug earphones in before the person beside me has the opportunity to spark small talk. The woman in front of me threw me off my game. The yoga lady is an actor and life coach. Great, just what I need. Actually, I kind of need both those things but not at this moment.

Yoga lady goes to turn on her personal TV - thank god - as this breaks conversation and I take out a book. Her TV is not working and she starts doing that thing where she's trying to make it work but not really, it's all for show so I'll notice that it's not working. "I don't believe this! This is bull shit! I only fly this crappy airline for the personal televisions!" Not very zen for someone that is so into yoga that she needs to do it at the airport. I tell her that I'd switch seats after takeoff as I planned on sleeping. "No, this is not right! This is bull shit!" She calls the flight attendant over, gives him the same story, calling the airline crappy, yelling bull shit. She demands a voucher for another trip. She forces him to make an announcement for volunteers who might not be using their personal TV's. An old man raises his hand and the yoga lady goes over to thank him and say she doesn't want to watch tv anymore anyways.

So, I plug in my earphones and watch Les Miserables, the new one with Hugh Jackman and a toneless Russell Crowe. Jeez, I was balling through the entire thing. I do get emotional in the air. Christ, I got all chocked up on my last trip when my seatmate watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. I couldn't even hear it, but it made me sad.

The plane landed and the guy across the aisle clocked me in the head with his bag when removing it from the overhead compartment. Didn't he listen to the poor flight attendant's warning? Be careful when opening the overhead compartment as bags might have shifted during the flight.

Arrived alive, albeit with a sore head. At least the soreness was from a falling bag and no longer from a hangover.