Sarte’s Airplane Hell
September 19, 2008, 5:34 am
Filed under: Ramblings | Tags: ,
10,000 feet up, not so much an exit as it is a life style change.

10,000 feet up, not so much an exit as it is a life style change.

Sarte’s play, No Exit, seems to be the perfect illustration of what plane ride can be.  Literally, up in the air, there are no exits.  The sign says exit, but how can exit be an exit if it leads to death.  Well, then, actually, it is an exit of sorts.  Anyway, if you haven’t read the play you should.  The themes in this play have quite considerably shaped my life.

This blog post has really formed itself out on this last business trip.  Flying home today, I found myself sitting(admittedly “husky” myself) to two very-overweight individuals that caused to me to sit in what I would refer to as a permanent tilt (I highly suggest it for those looking to cause back pain).  Two ladies in front of me chose the time we spent tooling around the runway getting ready for take-off to carry out a lively discussion of tube tying, hysterectomies, and (how these two were qualified to speak on this, I don’t wanna know) vasectomies.  Just to add flavor to the whole discussion, one of these women had the voice of a five year old girl.  For those of you that have five year, imagine her spelling out the pros and cons of a surgery on you-know-what to prevent you-know what.  If you’re feeling slightly uncomfortable reading this, you’ve experienced a fraction of what I felt.  Trapped, and due to FAA regulations, unable to flip on my iPod and float off to a happy place.  Finally, four kids under the age of two all sitting across from me within two rows.

Over the many trips that I’ve flown on this past year, I’ve found little routines to help me escape to this happy place I described earlier.  Three of these are a book, a portable dvd player, and an iPod.  You have these, you have everything.  Well, maybe an oxygen mask would be nice to pack as well.  Because when you think about it, when that person coughs next to you, there’s nothing hermetic about the way they’re covering their mouths.  So as that air cycles over and over again in through the closed circulation system which is your own little private petri dish, think about what juicy bugs are floating in the air your breathing.  You also may want to pack a tazer in case the fat guy next to you decides to use your shoulder as a pillow.  Knee pads might be nice as well to help you take on the guy next to you who decides to play king of the hill with your leg space.  Finally, I suggest you pack one last item to help you deal with plane flight.  A sense of humor.

In all things, a little dab of humor makes like a little more enjoyable.  On this last trip on the outgoing leg, two boys under five flew by themselves and amazingly acted like two five year olds do.  Well, actually after a recent trip to the Malt Shoppe in Utah, I see that the fart jokes, the shoving, and overall goofballisms aren’t limited to five year olds but can be applied to rugby players as well.  Anyway, a gentlemen sitting in front of these two boys lost his temper and turned around and threatened the boys to stop.  He proceeded to further threaten them that if they cried, he’d give them something to cry about.  I must confess, I felt bad not intervening, but at the moment I felt more observer than advocate.  I waited to see how the boys and this man reacted.  One of these brave little boys looked at the man and very proudly announced something about someone not being someones boss.  The man turned around and still looked pretty angry, when another woman reamed him.  I mean she tore him up.

Life is too short for people to be that guy.  Sarte points out in his play that people locked in a room can create their own private hell.  Visiting with family and friends on this last trip, it occurs to me that if I were locked with these people in a room for eternity we’d have a pretty good time and a good laugh.  I’ve been very lucky in these latest few chapters in my life to have been blessed with great familial relationships and deep friendships that make life sweeter.  Short your friends and family on your next plane trip, consider finding the humor in your sufferings, surroundings, and annoying neighbors.  Otherwise, you just may find yourself in some kind of airborne hell.

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2 Comments so far
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On air trips, I can deal with almost anything except the boredom. It was quite a blessing when free WiFi got popular in airports, but there’s still a lot of institutional paranoia about electronics on airplanes, only some of which is actually warranted. As I write this I’m sitting in Anchorage Airport at 3:30 in the morning local time – well, I’m still on EDT, four hours “later” – waiting for my 6:30 flight to board. I’m still not sure whether I had a short sleep or a long evening nap, but the people around me seem pretty sure that they’re napping. Poor people, the TV is still blaring CNN around the clock. I must admit to being curious what state you wrote this post from.

Comment by Joe P.

This is probably the funniest story I’ve heard aside from when my sister had a similar experience with her 1.5 year old and husband. Flying can certainly be a nightmare or not so bad… although it’s leaning towards nightmarish more and more often. Good luck next time!

Comment by Sydney




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