Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew
Airing My Dirty Laundry!
Fear of Flying
Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price -- Amelia Earhart
I wonder if Ms. Earhart would say the same thing about flying today. I’m betting that if she experienced the kind of flight I had recently – complete with a putrid porta-potty, trash-talking tots and lost (and then leaking) luggage – she might just rethink the whole aviation adventure thing.
I flew to our nation’s capital for the weekend and, stupidly, I checked my suitcase. See, earlier this year, I had arrived for another flight with all of my liquids crammed into a Ziploc bag in compliance (or so I thought) with airport security rules.
I am a typical, middle-aged modern woman. It takes a great many lotions, creams and gels – in a variety of chemical combinations – to render me smooth, sweet-smelling and relatively attractive. Remove even one of those elements, and my pyramid scheme of prettiness may come crashing down. All those chemicals, though, have apparently left me unable to understand measurements. I showed up for that earlier flight with a gallon-size clear bag -- rather than the allowed quart-size -- containing my looks-saving substances.
A stern-looking Transportation and Security Administration agent held up my bursting-at-the-seams bag and asked loudly, “How many people does this cover?”
Cringing, I had to admit it was all for little old me. That earned me the pleasure of an up-close-and-very-personal TSA inspection and the loss of my much-loved liquids. I was eager not to repeat this experience on my next trip.
So, on my way to Washington , I checked my luggage, with (as it turned out) the highly unrealistic expectation that it would reach my destination at approximately the same time that I did.
My assigned seat was in the back of the completely full plane and almost immediately, I became aware that the rear of the aircraft smelled, like, well, a rear. Make that a lot of rears. The lavatory, as the embarrassed flight attendant explained, was malfunctioning.
Malfunction is what my computer, dishwasher and minivan do on a fairly regular basis. Malfunction is far too mild a word for what that vile airborne toilet did to its victims. Strapped in our seats and unable to get away, we felt our eyes tearing and our throats gagging. You’d think a wretched-smelling water closet would be good enough grounds to put us on another plane, but alas, we took off right on schedule.
It may all have been a ploy by the airline to save money on pretzels. We were so nauseated that almost no one bothered eating them.
I was longing for some of my locked-away perfume when things got even worse. Perhaps prompted by the eau de latrine enveloping us, two young boys sitting nearby began showing off their potty mouths. They took turns shouting out forbidden dash-dash words and then shrieking with laughter – the a dash-dash word, the b dash-dash-dash-dash word and then the mamma of all bad words, the f dash-dash-dash word.
That one finally drew a slight rebuke from their evidently comatose mother and severe looks from several stressed-out passengers, including me. The foul-mouthed future felons lowered their voices, and eventually, gasping by now for some fresh air, we landed.
Unfortunately, I soon discovered that while I had arrived, my luggage – with all my precious non-solid stuff inside -- had not. For two long, deliquified days, I spent precious time on the phone with an unsympathetic airline representative being assured that my lost luggage would soon turn up. When it eventually did – after my return home – my personal products, possibly perturbed at their long confinement, had leaked all over the other contents of my suitcase.
Although the plane problems of the amazing Amelia Earhart were far more serious, in the end, than mine have been, she probably had a lot more fun when she was flying. I’ve decided that, for the time being anyway, I’m going to stick to driving. And I won’t be using any porta-potties.
~ © Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~
Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com
Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2007, (email@example.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]
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