I thought I was going to die on that airplane. In fact, I was almost certain that I would. It was my idea of hell. And we're not talking die like "oh my God, this plane is going to crash and I am going to burn in a fiery inferno." No, this is one of those "Oh my God, this is slow death. If I do not get off this plane right now, I swear, I am going to die this very second."
Now I don't know if all of you are aware of this (I know a few of you who know me outside the blogging world do know this and will find this post amusing), but I am an easily irritated person. On average, I find that about 80% of the population irritates me. I don't know why, but I'm tightly wound and have a short tolerance for stupidity. When T and I are out and about, and we come across someone that is annoying the living daylights out of me, I'll turn to him and say "80%" and he'll know exactly what I'm saying. So let's just say that the trip from Indy to JFK airport in NYC was trying for me. In fact, it was the perfect storm for annoying things for Nain.
First off, let's just say that I have riding in planes. Growing up as a kid, we never travelled in airplanes. We drove everywhere. I didn't ride in my first airplane until halfway through high school. To me, airplanes are flying death machines. Really fast flying death machines. (And yes, I know the statistics of how you are more likely to die in a car accident than a plane wreck, but here's my thing. I'm not driving the car 7 miles over the Atlantic Ocean really really fast. If this plane were to crash, I don't care how my seat cushion can be used as a flotation device, we're all going to die. Optimistic? Yes, I am.) I get nervous, scared, anxious, etc., and pop Tums and Rolaids like it's my job as we sit there and wait to leave at the gate. I also hate the small commuter planes where they cram you in there like sardines. This was such a plane. Sure, we were in the second row from the front, and T gave me the aisle seat (quick exit), but I still felt like I was suffocating in a flying coffin.
And the people around us? Um, yeah....wow. First off, we had some lady in the front row who didn't understand the concept of size of your carry-on bag and how certain objects don't fit into small spaces. You know, like those toys they give toddlers? A star shape fits in a star shape, a square shape fits into a square shape? Well, big things don't fit into small spaces. My four year old niece could tell you that. She was cramming the largest floral carpetbagger type bag that I have ever seen in my life, shoving some poor man's bag as far back as possible and into some shape (I hope that there were no valuables in this man's bag) that didn't seem recognizable, with no success. The flight attendance, who could only be described as some sort of Stepford Wife/Russian Barbie/Fembot (Seriously, I'm sure she meant well but the lady was stiff, I couldn't understand her at all, and she showed zero emotion. I mean zero. She was very robotic. It was kind of creepy.) was trying to explain to her that she would have to check her bag and pick it up when we landed for about twenty minutes before they compromised on her taking a few items out of said bag and using an alternate overhead compartment (you know, a bigger one? ding ding! We have a winner!)
Then, there was the middle-aged gentleman behind us who refused to get off his cell phone despite announcements to get your cell phones and the signs everywhere that indicated to do so. He spoke English so I know that he could hear these announcements, but no, he just had to fix some error in his Verizon Wireless account, so he was barking orders as loudly as possible to probably some poor assistant at his office. He wouldn't even hang up his phone when Russian Barbie calmly tried to get him to do so. She finally had to be firm and say "sir, this plane is delayed because of you." And even then he still had to get in a few words before hanging up. Self-important Ass.
The flight was OK. It was short with only a few moments of turbulence where I dug into T's hand like my life depended on it. But I survived, and we landed safely.
Of course, as soon as we landed, we have people unbuckling their seat belts despite instructions by Russian Barbie not to do this, and the signs that light up that have the big "x" through the unbuckling picture. And of course, you get those cell phone addicts who have to immediately turn on their phone the second we land to say "we've landed." Yes, we have landed, but can you wait it until you've exited the plane? And it's always at this loud volume, too, for all of us to hear.
But the part where I damn near lost my mind was when we pulled up to the gate. We sat there, trapped, for what seemed like an eternity. I'm not sure if they were pouring asphalt and paving a new walkway for us or contemplating the meaning of life, but we sat there, trapped, in the smallest plane known to man. (Or at least in my dramatic eyes) I'm claustrophobic so that part was tough. As we sat there waiting for outside oxygen, I began to become acutely aware of every single annoying noise within a five mile radius around me. The man next to me on his phone. The woman behind me who was standing, crouched in the aisle, muttering "Jesus" under her breath and sighing every five seconds. (I wanted to turn around to her and say "No, Jesus is not on this plane. He's on another. So stop saying that, for the love God.") And, there was the sniffer. Oh my God, the sniffer. The guy in the row directly behind us must have had SARS or some kind of communicable disease because he kept coughing and sniffing (thank you, recirculated air) and it wasn't the kind of sniffing that one could tolerate. No, it was full-on, snot-filled sniffing, and it was constant, and it was gross. It took all I had in me not to turn around and shove a Kleenex at him and say "blow." But I didn't. I retreated to my happy place, as I held my head down, saying the rosary to myself in my mind, and T sat there laughing at my deteriorating sanity.
So, what seemed like two hours later, the doors opened and we rushed out, finding the nearest restaurant serving alcoholic beverages, to sit for our three hour lay-over. Luckily for us, the second leg of our trip, the overnight flight to Dublin, went much much smoother. (Sure, that glass or two of wine helped, as well.)
Join me next week for "Getting back from Ireland why I still hate plane rides..." I wish I could tell you that this was my only traumatic plane ride experience during the honeymoon. Actually, in hindsight, reading this makes me feel like that first plane ride was nothing. Trust me, I have one hell of a story for you next week! But for tomorrow, I'll end the week on a high note, telling you about "Arthur Guinness Day!" (It's the happiest day of the year, you know...)