Friday, August 9, 2013

And Away We Go!

The next twenty-four hours will be very trying for me. The majority of you would not see them as angst ridden and fraught with peril, but I do.

You see, we're going on 'vacation'. Vacation for the average Joe is a fun filled journey of discovery and relaxation. For me, not so much. The vacations we have taken the last few years have been great, with the exception of the overnight stay in Kansas at a shit hole RV 'park' which was not much more than a treed lot next to a busy highway/train crossing. But our vacations were previously angst free because we drove to them. Usually dragging our travel trailer behind our vehicle.

 I love my RV. I know who slept where, what they did in the friendly confines, and that coffee pot was not washed out using the toilet brush. Being surrounded by my own personal belongings gives me comfort. It allows me to relax, and actually have a good time. Rest, recreate and rejuvenate my body and soul. It's nice. But this vacation is one that I have been dreading. "Why?" You might ask. Simple:

I hate to fly.

I understand the science of flight. The plane wants to be in the air, blah, blah, blah... It's safer than car travel, blah, blah, blah... There are strict rules in place for the crew and passengers alike to maintain optimum blah, blah, blah...

That's great. But here's the thing; I'm a bit of a control freak, and the powers that be  frown upon me knocking on the cockpit door and asking for the crew's references and qualifications.

"Did you get a full night's sleep?"  "You won't be texting and flying, right?"  "Are you in a happy relationship?" "Are you on any medications that might alter your perception of life?" "Have you seen the movie Airplane! ?"

Not only do they discourage that type of behavior, but they also don't like it when you get on a plane drunk, which is my old standby method of flying. Once I get to the airport, I pound down vino like a camel at an oasis, trying to store it up in my system, hoping for a time-release buzz effect.

Our flight tomorrow is at six am. Which means we have to be at the airport by five. Which means I have to get up at four. Which means for me to get the proper amount of alcohol in my system, I'd have to start drinking at two. I work nights driving a carriage, I don't even go to bed before two. So I might as well stay up all night, right?

"You can sleep on the plane."

No, you can sleep on the plane. I must stay awake and vigilant, keeping the plane in the air with sheer force of  will.

I also understand that now, in an effort to screw a passenger out of even more of their hard earned money (because charging for your baggage isn't enough...) some airlines make you pay to sit next to a friend/loved one/person who has bathed in the past 24 hours. To quote Mr. T, I pity the poor fool who has the unfortunate happenstance to be next to moi. Both Mr. Slave Driver and The Kid are well versed in my take off and landing routine. They must hold my hand and allow me to exert enough force to keep the plane on a steady path. For the average person, this wouldn't be an issue, but I'm not the average person.

I'm a carriage driver.

That means I routinely control a 2000 pound animal with my hands, thus also allowing me enough well developed muscle control to rip apples in half without benefit of a knife and crack walnuts with a squeeze. So, seriously, unless your name is The Incredible Hulk, you do not want the job sitting next to me requires. On the other hand, in a restaurant people like to sit next to me because they get all the things I don't like to eat, like shrimp, mushrooms, bleu cheese chunks and avocados.

And to add to the stress, we are arriving at our destination in no less than three flights. That's six take offs and landing. Six, count 'em. If I'm in a middle seat, I can inflict my own type of torture on right side person for take off, and left side person for landing. If I'm at the window or aisle, somebody gets double dipped and is headed for a world of hurt.

So if you're at the airport and see an unfortunate individual with a squashed hand screaming while they run down the concourse, you know I've been there.

You can find me in the bar.

(SLC to Minnesota. Minnesota to New York City. New York City to Portland, Maine.)