Shakes on a Plane

Rarely can I travel without incident. Last night was no exception.

I booked a simple flight heading back from North Carolina to New York. I’d already had an interesting New York to North Carolina experience (post to follow), and was feeling leery of getting back on a plane so soon.

By the time we finally boarded our teensy, tiny, adorable plane, we should have already been back in New York. I recognized one surly hipster from my flight down (same hot pink toboggan lifted halfway off his head, same douche-ball, cooler than everyone look on his face) as well as several people who had been a few years away from me in high school. None of us exchanged greetings, as it may have been one-sided recognition all around.

My seatmate was a girl who barely stopped texting in time for our flight to take off. She was nice enough and slept through most of the flight. She seemed like the kind of girl who is very impressed by Kim Kardashian.

Everything was going swimmingly; the flight was speeding along, I was reading Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff and enjoying a nice seltzer. Then, we hit a pocket of turbulence. Suddenly, the tininess of the plane was not so cute.

Our flight attendant got on the intercom to announce that, though we were directly over Laguardia, we could not land. We were in the middle of a terrible storm, so the airport had gone down to one runway for take-offs and one for landings. We also had been assigned an altitude so we didn’t crash into all the other planes that had to circle the airport waiting for their turns to land. Our altitude was smack in the middle of a cloud.

I have not lived within driving distance of my childhood home for ten years. I have flown many, many times for much longer distances on much crappier planes. I have never experienced anything this uncomfortable; Kim Kardashian’s biggest fan was freaking out.

Thanks to my own immense ego, I wasn’t scared. Even when the flight attendant from hell started telling a delightful story of the time a smaller plane crashed into a bigger plane in exactly the situation we were in right that minute, perishing in the air never occurred to me.

Instead, I thought about my own delicate stomach. As we lurched, I felt my insides start to rebel. I finally found out why they still put barf bags in every seatback pocket. Kim Kardashian’s fan was super nice, but clearly I would not be her all-time favorite seatmate.

I felt slightly vindicated when the flight attendant counted four broken lights due to the turbulence; more so when the wind snapped the umbrella I’d opened to protect my hair on the brief journey from the deplaning ramp to inside the airport (yes, our plane was so small it couldn’t dock into its gate).

Never have I been so happy to get to my apartment.

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