March 2000. i made the mistake of deciding to fly somewhere, and promptly recalled why i hate air travel...
About twelve minutes out of albuquerque, i found myself further west than i'd ever been. the cabin pressure was anything but normal, and the all too rapidly rising sun was burning its way into
my one good eye. i can't sleep on airplanes, nor had i ever particularly
wanted to, but the glare from my glasses made it impossible to read,
and the only sounds that i could make out over the white noise of the jet
engines were the snoring of my seatmates and the interminate bawling of
the baby in the seat behind me. shut up, kid, we're in the same boat, here,
and you don't hear me wailing. so i resigned myself to closing my eyes
and going quietly insane. i had my irritation and my hallucinations to
keep me comfortable until the pilot announced our impending landing.
it was somewhere above phoenix that the blazing
sun finally began to take hold of my brain. i had come lucid at the sound
of the pilot's voice, and, opening my eyes, i discovered that we were circling phoenix, and that the window by my head faced due east. ten minutes later, i learned how little respect people on airplanes have for the totally blind.
"oh, god," i thought, "i'm in phoenix. why am
i in phoenix?" it was more of an existential 'why', as i knew perfectly
well that i'd be in this hellhole of an airport for the next hour, waiting
for a plane to san jose. i had been nauseous since the plane had stopped
moving, and the airport rolled like a ship in a storm in my hazy vision.
in addition to this i realised that i was cripplingly hungry. contrary
to all sensible solutions, i decided that airport pizza was my best option.
after all, what better food is there at 7am in the middle of bright sunshiny nowhere? as it turned out, the pizza was a perfect choice. the airport stopped rocking from side to side shortly after i scalded the roof of my mouth on the first slice. unfortunately, i was also far more awake now that i had food in me...the last thing i wanted to be on the next leg of my journey was conscious. i tore through my bag hopefully before recalling the image of the last location of my magic box...on my nightstand. in albuquerque.
snarling disgruntledly, i stomped off to the gate
with five minutes to spare, only to notice, that my flight had been
moved to another gate on the other side of the airport. cursing the gods
of air travel, i looked down at my watch, grabbed my coat and ran. two
girls standing on the conveyance device laughed in my direction. i passed
them, and slammed into a newspaper machine as i rounded the final corner.
i blinked and bounded off again, this time limping and wheezing from the
impact and made the gate with nine seconds to spare. stumbling down the
corridor towards the plane, still suspicious but beginning to relax, i
tripped over a two foot tall child who had decided the time was right to
cling to my leg. desperately struggling to maintain a facade of respectability as my patience peeled away like paint blistering in the sun, i pasted a smile to my face while the child's pastel coloured, mindless mommy pried it off my leg and admonished me to watch where i was going. i took her advice and paid attention to the end of the corridor as i pushed past her toward the plane.
this leg of the hideous journey had me between a palestinian national and a platinum blonde with a patrician nose and a danielle steele novel. taking advantage of the palestinian's large, shade producing head, i finished reading my book, and waited anxiously for the plane to land so i could fold myself out of the tiny airplane seat and into the arms of the beautiful girl waiting in the airport.