okay. i get it. it'll all work itself out.
my dad and i both live in small towns at the edge of society and this year i decided to cut my drive time to the larger airports and give flying all the way a try.
my first flight was on a small plane that most would consider a puddle jumper: only three isles, fifteen or twenty rows, about an hour long.
my second flight was from sacramento to denver. this flight actually resembled what most would consider a commercial one: tv's, beverage service, snacks, first class.
my third flight was from denver to prescott, or at least that's what my ticket said. after hustling to get to a tiny terminal at the edge of the airport, i came to find the flight delayed due to surpassed weight restrictions. they needed volunteers to stay. on my way to discuss the option i overheard an employee on break say, "i wouldn't take a $300 travel voucher with us," so i opted not to. after it became clear that no one was volunteering, they informed two men that they would not be able to board. as i filed into the line, a snarky blonde boarding attendant approached and tried to make me check my carry on. "it wont fit under your seat and there are no overhead bins." when i refused to give it up due to the risk it posed to my lenses and computer equipment (a repetitive airport argument for me) she rolled her eyes and told me i would have to ask the pilot, who would be standing outside of the aircraft.
oh, holiday travel. just relax.
as i approached the plane, i looked for the pilot who was supposed to be standing outside but the only person there looked exactly like a young michael cera with more disheveled hair. i immediately assumed he was the baggage handler.
that bitch lied.
as i got closer, i realized he was wearing a pilot's uniform.
when i asked him if i could put my bag up front in a closet somewhere, he replied (in an eerily similar, bumbling, mumbling michael cera voice), "yeah no problem, if we tuck it up front that'll actually help balance out the weight problem. i'll get it for you."
at least he was nice. just relax.
little did i know i was in for the quirkiest commercial flight of my life.
moab? isn't that in utah? am i on the right airplane?
"alright, eight of you getting off in moab. that means four of you are coming to prescott."
shit. i have another flight after this. just relax.
i get his attention and ask how long it takes to fly to moab. michael responds, "oh, a little over an hour. hey and since you're our first class section could you look at how i open this door? i'm usually pretty quick but if i can't make it you'll wanna know this."
someone in the back shouts out, "is there going to be beverage service on this flight?" michael quips, "yeah, sure, you remembered to bring the whiskey right?" sheepish giggles. he turns to get in his chair and dryly adds, "pretty sure we have some hand sanitizer up here. that oughtta work." after michael sits he and his co-pilot start rifling through their pre-flight papers, someone behind me whispers, "are they reading a flight manual?" another passenger replies, "probably 'flying for dummies.'" more skittish giggles.
i grew up flying in small planes with my grandpa so despite the apprehensive atmosphere onboard i think to myself:
i can sleep through this. engines lull me to sleep. i'll be out by the time we reach altitude. i got this.
guess i chose the wrong seat. well i guess i could read.
click. there goes the lights. for the next hour we would anxiously sit together in a cold, deafening, dark, uncomfortable silence. it stretched on, to say the least.
they should have offered ear plugs on this flight. just relax.
when we landed in moab, everyone cheered. i felt slightly bad for how little faith the crowd had in the pilots and the big display but i was equally appreciative to be back on the ground again. my ears were aching, not from the pressure change but from the plane's cacophonous clamor. as most of the people on board filed out the door in front of me, the last guy turned to me and uttered, "good luck."
please god say next flight will be short.
i get michael's attention again and ask, "how long to prescott?" he replies, "well we have to refuel here. that'll be half an hour. then another hour and a half." i reach for my bag on the floor by the cockpit and pull out my computer.
so here i sit. flight number four. back in the unlit, ear splitting silence.
now i see why they had nothing but that huge glowing sign in their tiny little terminal.
i've realized at this point that all the people still on board (excluding myself) are in flight school or just recently graduated. the pilot asked them if they're flying the plane tomorrow. i've also come to find out that prescott, small town it may be, actually has two flight schools.
i think next year i'll drive.
nothin' quite like fearing for your life... reminds you to not sweat the small stuff.