Day 0: Flight

In my mind I had already started writing today’s journal entry. It went something like “I went to the airport, got on a plane. The End.” I expected nothing to happen, and though that was perhaps largely true, I had one of the nicest flights ever.

I started the day unlike any other day I’ve set of on a journey on. I went to work and did a full shift. In fact today felt fairly productive, I enjoyed working on what I was working on and didn’t think too much about what I was going to do once 6 o’clock hit except for the many friendly well wishes of coworkers drawing my mind briefly back to it.

Either way 6 o’clock came and the nervousness set in. “Did I remember everything?” and “I’m not forgetting to lock the door am I?” jumping into my head. A coworker of mine, Chris Myers, thankfully helped me out by driving me the few miles from our neighborhood to the Van Nuys flyaway where I would catch a bus down to LAX. Knowing how bad LA traffic was I went straight from work and caught the 7pm bus. As it turns out there was very little traffic, and I happened to arrive at the same time as my travel companions Danny and Elmar. After checking in joining up with them the rest went as normal. Wait for several hours bored before standing in a long line to board an overly crowded plane, stacked in like so many sardines WANTING to be on the plane first. It reminds me a lot of the family dog not wanting to get left behind. I don’t get it. We waited until the line was pretty much gone, and got on the bus to take us away from some odd corner of the Bradley terminal to our waiting plane.

Now here is the fun part. I had wanted to get one of the emergency exit seats so I could stretch my long legs on this epically long 16 hour flight to the other side of the world. Sadly the flight was overbooked and I wasn’t going to be given one of those seats. I’m starting to think they sell them at a premium or something. Either way I asked if I could be changed to the same row as Danny and Elmar, but again no luck. My seat as it turns out was at the back of the bus next to a young couple with a very young child. The guys another row behind. At this point I’m starting to hate my luck. The father sitting next to me chats me up a bit and asks me if I’m going to try to move seats since I’m a rather large man. This makes me chuckle a little and I explain to him that the flight is over booked and they’ll start moving people up to first class soon, then start asking for volunteers to stay behind. All the same I ask the woman behind if we could switch seats so I could sit with my friends, and she agrees, but right before she sits down she notices the kid and says “uhhh never mind”. I’m hating life again. Now this is one of those moments where something going wrong in life turns out to be something good. It’s not a big moment by any means, nothing life changing, but its just one of many. You never know where life is going, and what seems like a set back could be a key moment for something good later down the line. At this point I’ve resigned myself to sitting next to a crying kid for 16 hours when someone walks up and says I’m in his seat. I pull out my ticket stub and they both say 54C. Great. Hell if I’m giving up my ticket on this flight, we have another to catch after we arrive! A stuartess takes our stubs and heads forward. After a bit she returns and tells me to move. I’m getting ready to be mad and she says to go up to business class.

I’ve never flown business class, only coach and mostly on the cheapest most budget airlines possible. I expect to have my knees pretty much pinned inches from my chest, my feet sticking into the isle to be run over by the drink cart with the occasional chastising for not being in the confines of my tiny amount of allotted personal space. Like it’s my fault they’re squeezing in as many seats as possible. Well actually in retrospect it is sort of my fault isn’t it? I am choosing the cheapest flights possible and that is how they make themselves the cheapest. Now here I find myself in a seat the really reclines, not just a couple degrees like it were a token gesture. There is plenty of leg room and much better food than my poor comrades in the back. Not to forget free wine either.

So although the day I fly out is generally when I feel the most nervous, the most stressed, and the most cramped, it’s turned out to be quite a good one all the same.

Oh and if you’re reading this and I haven’t died in a horrible plane accident. I’m in Yangshuo.

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