I hate to fly.
I like to go places. Just not really the getting there.
So why, oh why, did I convince myself that a crazy cheap flight was a good idea?
Maybe because even flying first class (frequent flyer miles, thank you very much mom and dad) on Delta can be traumatic.
So come with me on a little storytime adventure.
Long Beach airport.
I totally got a tan cruising the tarmac for 50 miles.
Not used to that.
But all is well.
Remember, our flight was $19.99 each way.
Erin and I were seated together.
In an emergency exit row.
Which is shady, because I am pretty sure that if ever a plane would go down, I don't think I would have the ability to keep it together enough to open the door and do the other assorted responsibilities. Seriously. Airlines put lives in the hands of people who absentmindedly agree to do complicated tasks. When I am fairly certain that the only reason people pick emergency exit seats is for the extra legroom. Not because they are skilled and altruistic heroes.
Our flight from Long Beach was uneventful.
I started reading For Women Only on my iPad (men are really, really, weird), while listening to my boyfriend Dave sing on the iPod. I totally ignored Erin. Sorry friend. I promise you this, it is better to be ignored than to bear witness to one of my spiraling panic attacks. An entire Quantas flight back in 2000 can attest to that very fact. 17 hours of facts.
But back to the flight...
We landed at Stockton airport.
The same Stockton airport that 100% of the people we were visiting did not even know existed. That's weird, right?
Just about the easiest de-planing ever.
I am used to flying out of LAX.
This was no LAX.
Not a Starbucks in sight.
In fact, not a thing in sight.
Mel picked us up in the midst of cornfields and cows.
It was awesome.
I am so crowded by suburbia, I always appreciate wide open spaces. One day I hope to sleep on the hard ground, with a pillow of blue bonnets and a blanket made of stars. Well, not really, but the Dixie Chicks sure make it sound fun.
Fast forward to the flight home.
Wow. Just wow.
Every pilot has to have a first flight, right?
Do they take their first flight with a plane full of passengers?
I didn't used to think so.
Now I know that they do.
All was calm.
I had the window seat. Erin the middle. Random dude on the aisle.
I sent my husband a text that basically said:
"Boarding Sketchy Air. If this plane crashes, know I love you. Thanks for choosing me. Take good care of the girls. See you in heaven."
I am not kidding.
Because if the plane indeed did crash, I wanted him to have a moment like in the movies when the forlorn widower listens to the answering machine over and over. Yes, I am prone to drama and melancholy. He's used to it.
So we take off. I nervously wait for permission to put my headphones on. Why, oh why, do they make you wait? Can an iPod really jack up the plane? Because if the plane is that sensitive, I am not too comfortable flying on it.
Finally, Dave sings. I start to relax.
But that is where it ends.
Randomly the pilot, who I will call Ed, as in Driver's Ed, accelerates. Decelerates. Climbs. Dives. Repeat.
I did not sign up to be part of an air show. Thank you very much.
I stare at Erin.
She stares at me.
We both decide that this is the end.
Random dude next to us is trying to ignore our freaking out.
Imagine that you are a passenger in a car where the 15 1/2 year old is driving for the very first time. But not only driving for the first time. Driving a stick shift for the first time. But you aren't a passenger in a car. It is a plane. You are in the sky. With a 15 1/2 year old. Driving stick. That is pretty much how the flight felt.
I needed a distraction, so I pushed up the window shade.
Erin says "That's so Lost!"
Lost is one of the reasons that I hate to fly.
I realize that when the plane goes down we are going to be part of the Tailies. That means when we go down, instead of being with cute Charlie, I will be with lame Ana Lucia. Seriously, Damon and Carlton, who did you owe a favor to when you cast her?
Then I look down. I see Catalina island. Except I convince myself that it is actually Dharma Isle. I am pretty sure a polar bear runs by, that is promptly devoured by the smoke monster.
The plane dives.
Gravedigger comes on the iPod.
Dave. Bad song choice for this very minute.
I start thinking that I won't need a grave dug. Because we are over the ocean. Sharks will take care of my remains. How thoughtful and cost effective. Two phobias for the price of one.
Ten more minutes of crazy, which seem more like one hundred million.
Jerk flight attendant tells me to turn off the iPod.
Doesn't he know that this is the WE ARE ABOUT TO DIE part? That when the plane snaps in half, I want Dave to be there with me?
But he doesn't care. Dave gets packed up.
Random dude has gone from laughing at us to a full white knuckle mode.
We approach the runway.
WAY TOO FAST.
Crazy fast. Like crash into the terminal fast. Starring in an action movie fast.
Then we suddenly veer right. Skid, skid, skid, skid, skid, stop.
That plane might need a set of new tires.
I almost needed a new pair of pants.
I have never wanted to kiss the ground more.
Because I like me a good deal, and I love adventures with the Hollas.
Plus, this month prices have dropped to $10.99.