“I’m sitting next to you,” he said.
I got up and let him get to his seat. I had noticed he was traveling with a friend, but his friend’s seat was across the aisle from us. The guy beside me was friendly but not like stalker friendly. As the plane began to fill up, my anxiety got worse. Now the thoughts of being thirty thousand feet up in just a few minutes started to chip away at my calm. I took a few deep breaths and watched as people fought with their luggage.
Then I started thinking, which is a bad idea. What if the plane went down? This thing is huge and heavy; how does it stay up? If it does crash, probably won’t survive it. What if we hit a storm? What does turbulence feel like? Lost in my thoughts I didn’t realize I had clinched down on my seat.
“Is this your first flight?” the guy asked.
I looked over to see him smiling at me. Look bud, not interested. I’ve got bigger things to worry about right now.
Call me chatty Kathy.
He fiddled with his stuff while I went back to my terrifying ‘what if’ game. I noticed he kept looking over me at something.
Curious I glanced over the aisle to see his friend ordering an alcoholic beverage. Sir, I may join you. I noticed the guy beside me giggle. Upon closer inspection his friend didn’t look so well. I thought I was nervous, but this guy took the cake.
Then the thought struck me, what is he so nervous about? Does he know something I don’t? So now I had something new to worry about. This is going well.
Then I remembered something my brother always said, “Thank you for flying Miracle Airlines, where Lady Luck is your copilot.”
Of all the times to remember that, it had to be now.
Then the pilot came on the speaker and announced we were departing; which meant it was too late to run. We soared into the air and I handled it better than I thought I would. I apparently didn’t look like it though because when the guy beside me looked over at me, he seemed concerned.
“Are you okay?”
Man, can I hold a conversation.
About five minutes into this four-hour flight, the guy beside me looked over me again towards his friend and laughed. Shaking his head, he looked down at the floor. I glanced over to find this gentleman was now lit; three sheets to the wind, hammered, sloshed, wasted. How ever you want to put it. But he was smiling and not as nervous as before. How in the world did he get that way off one bottle, I thought? Then I looked down at his tray to see he had ordered several more while I wasn’t looking. About thirty minutes into the flight I decided to put my headphones in, a little distraction would help get my mind off crashing. Wouldn’t you know, on the very playlist I brought with me, was Ron White’s skit; Near Miss Plane Crash. Nope. That’s funny on the ground but not up in the air. I jerked my headphones out of my ears and grabbed a magazine out of the seat.
The guy next to me spoke again; I think he asked me where I was going. At this point, I was desperate, so I decided to be social. For the next three hours we had a nice chat about a little bit of everything. I think he knew it was helping so he kept talking. Bless him. But as I sat there, I got more and more uncomfortable. You see, I had to pee when I boarded the plane. Three hours ago. I decided to hold it though, until I got to the next airport. I didn’t want to chance crashing because I got up and moved. But I was now three or four Sprite’s in, and I couldn’t wait any longer.
New to the whole plane thing, I had to get him to help me move my table so I could get up. But what do I do with my Sprite?
“Can you hold this?”
“Yeah,” he said grabbing the can.
As I sat there in the narrow bathroom, I was reminded that I was a tad claustrophobic. Not to worry though, I was distracted by sudden turbulence. It wasn’t a rocking the boat type turbulence however; it was more along the lines of mayday-mayday, bend over and kiss your butt goodbye turbulence. You know, the kind that throws you up against the walls. Then it stopped. I quickly gathered my self and bounced out the door. I was halfway down the aisle when we hit more turbulence. I grabbed onto the seats as I bounced down the aisle. I looked up just in time to see this guy laughing at me from our seats. Not funny. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten up.
I finally made it back to my seat. He handed my drink back as I yanked my seat belt tight. He was still laughing. I took a sip of my drink and suddenly, every movie, TV show, and news report I had ever seen or read, flashed across my mind. All of them were about people who slip things into your drink in order to kidnap you. I discreetly spit it back out into the can and sat it down. I can wait to get another drink at the airport. I didn’t even know this guy's name. Well, he told me earlier but with everything that had happened, I had already forgotten. I wasn’t taking any chances.
We finally landed. Soon after that, he looked over at me and said, “See, it wasn’t that bad. Was it?”
Oh, it was a blast, sir.