I know you’re probably sick of hearing about my tragic traveling exploits, and you’re probably all thinking about THIS interview when I complain, complain, complain about flying. But consider the following journey and tell me, PLEASE, that I am not jinxed.
6am- Check in. Representative tells me that she cannot give me a bording pass for ALL of my flights, even though my brother, 4 ft away from me, is being issued tickets for ALL of his flights. We booked our flights at the same time, with the same people.
6.30 am- Duty free is closed. Goodbye cheap German chocolate.
6.45 am- Security check #1: attendant asks me to put my liquids, that I have placed in a see through zip lock bag, into another IDENTICAL see though zip lock bag. For no apparent reason.
6.50 am- Security check #2: Of course, I beep. So I move to the side, lift my arms, knowing the protocol, only to be surprised with a less kosher idea of “protocol”. The FIRST thing the woman searches is my breasts. What she thought I could smuggle, really, in my bra is one question. Why exactly she spent a full 20 seconds (a lifetime in security-time) on this particular area, is another question. Knowing this introductory phase of the search, you can only guess how the rest of it went.
7.20 am- I’m jammed into my child-sized economy seat, my nose practically pressed against the business class seat in front of me. Apparently, on tiny planes the difference between economy and business is approximately 3 cm. The duration of the flight is spent trying to untangle the ridiculous class dividing curtain from my legs, arms, hair. The rest of my journey was a static nightmare.
9 am UK time: Why do people walk so slowly? Even people who aren’t elderly or crippled? By now I must have mumbled “move it… move… get outta my way” under my breath 10 times. I begin to admit to myself that when flying, I’m really not a nice person.
10am: Running total of 42 hours without sleep (thanks to illness previous to journey).
11 am: Find myself at the back of the line for a very large plane. Disney world doesn’t have lines that long, and I am at the BACK of it because, as my brother points out, it’s not like the plane will leave without us. No, it’s not. But nobody likes to be at the BACK of a line. Like, the VERY LAST person in line.
Between 11.20 am UK time and 2pm Chicago time: I’m sitting next to the worlds greatest arm-rest hog in the world. This guy doesn’t get the concept of boundaries as his elbow frequently slips PAST the arm rest and starts digging into my ribs. He also has the smallest bladder in the trans-Atlantic skies: I move to let him up 7 times in 8 hours.
2pm Chicago time: after standing in the longest line I’ve seen to get through immigration, I had over the exact same paperwork that I have handed over for the past 22 times I have entered the country, only to be told that there is a page missing. Why would page 2 of 3 be missing when I have only EVER possessed two pages in total, and had successful border experiences with said two pages? And then, when I ask what my next step is, Officer Lee takes this as me being hostile (guess he took in the whole picture- exasperated/sleep deprived face struck with sudden horror/irritation over papers), so he stuck me in an interrogation room, sans my belongings.
4pm: I’m still in the interrogation room. Why? I don’t quite know. Finally an officer saunters in and hands me my papers- nothing has been added or taken away from said papers- and says nonchalantly, “have a nice stay.” HAVE A NICE STAY? He neglects to explain the situation, explain exactly why I spent two hours of my life in a practical cell. And I am far too furious to ask, so I accept my papers wordlessly, turn on my heel and walk out of there.
4.30 pm: another security checkpoint: one of those intense CAT scans that shows all and sundry the parts that German security officers have felt around already today.
5.00pm: in line for my final boarding pass. I get to the front of the line, then the woman calls “next,” and just in case I didn’t hear her (I did- my movement proved it), the guy behind me starts to shove me in her direction, saying “there, you, next, go.” I clock him one in the jaw [in my mind].
6pm: final flight is delayed.
7pm: spill drink up my sleeve. UP it.
10pm Salt Lake time: running total of “move it… move… get outta my way” ‘s is up to about 32.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I vow to henceforth go everywhere by steam ship, row boat, train, tram, bike, roller skates.