Xanax Snacks

Admittingly, I trust Delta a little bit too much. I actually feel like I have a personal relationship with Delta. For example, it sort of bothers me when people fly other airlines. Weird, I know. I like them for many reasons and one is that I believe that they will not fly me somewhere if the conditions are not safe. That being said, I drove all the way to the airport and walked up to the gate on the Monday when Hurricane Irma was rolling through. I trusted that they would cancel if the conditions were not safe. As I got all the way down to D1, they cancelled.  See? Good relationship.

This situation reminded me of another bloggable flight I had a few months ago on the way to Knoxville. It was a pretty rainy day, but planes were still taking off successfully. Being the short flight that is was, we loaded onto one of the little baby planes, the ones with no first class, four seats in Comfort and two seats on each side of the aisle. I was in a window seat next to what appeared to be a fairly normal lady. Let’s call her Scaredy Catherine. As we settled in, I did my normal OCD tray table, seatbelt buckle and arm rest Clorox wipe down. As I finished, I noticed that Scaredy Catherine seemed a little bit panicky. Though I wasn’t in a chatting mood, I am still empathetic by nature, so I asked her if she was ok.

She looked over at me with tears in her eyes and told me she was scared to death to fly in this weather. I tried to reassure her and tell her it would be ok. I referenced back to my personal relationship with Delta. I also reminded her that she could hop off the plane and rent a car. In three short hours, she would be in the Big Orange. Instead she decided to tough through it. Bad Decision.

As we take off, Scaredy Catherine is gripping the arm rest. Thank Heavens I wiped it down for her. You could see her veins bulging through her meaty little hands. In her defense, this flight was pretty intense. The pilot came on the intercom moments after take-off and told us that we would not be able to get above the clouds so the trip would be rocky. When she heard this, she about lost it. I decided to pull out my notebook and start handwriting a script in an effort to make her think everything was all good. Deep inside, I was a little spooked myself. We hit a big patch of turbulence and she let go of the armrest and gripped my hand. Scaredy Catherine’s hand was soaked. This gal was genuinely terrified. The gal across the aisle from her, we can call her Xanax Girl, was a bit scared too. She took out her Xanax and decided to take one.

This is where they story gets good. Scaredy Catherine spots the Xanax, and I felt like I knew what was coming. She looks over to Xanax Girl and asked if she could have some. Still holding Scaredy Catherine’s hand, I asked her “do you normally take Xanax?” “Never,” she said. Hmmmmm….. I opted to keep my opinions to myself on this one. Xanax Girl tips the bottle of pills out for Scaredy Catherine and I see two little white pills in her hand. She looked at me, looked at the pills and looked in her bag for water. I said “I don’t have any water. Sorry.” She said “me either”. I was fired up to see what was going to happen next. She does one final look around before she pops the pills into her mouth and starts CRUNCHING them with her teeth. I asked her if it would have been more reasonable to build up some saliva and attempt to swallow them in that manner. She looked at me squinting from the extreme medicinal taste that comes with chewing Xanax. She said “I am hoping that by chewing it, it will work faster.” She actually had a decent point. For 15 minutes more she held my hand tightly while I attempted to write my script with one hand and a mechanical pencil. The flight continues to be insanely uncomfortable and I notice her hand loosing up just a bit. I turn my head and notice she is snoozing- passed straight out. We finish the flight with a terrible landing which abruptly woke her up, but again Delta got us there safely. Sweet Scaredy Catherine hugged me as we off-boarded the plane. She said “thanks for your help. I don’t fly often.” This was not shocking news to me.

Remember to always clean your tray tables!

 

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The Masked Man

I’ve come to accept that I am a magnet for strange strangers. As previously mentioned, if I am not in First Class, I am the very last to board the plane. The thought of standing in the tarmac for 10 minutes just to sit in the same seat I am going to spend the next 4 hours in makes absolutely zero sense to me. This morning I was excited to be on a common commuter plane in Delta Comfort. Typically this means a nice, quiet flight which is good for my to do list but bad for my blog material. Today proved me wrong.

With only two minutes before the door shuts, I board my flight from Seattle to Atlanta. As soon as I step on, I see my seat. On the aisle is a stereotypical Seattle dude- beard, trendy hat, tattooed wedding ring, black faded jeans that fit just a little too tight and a worn grey hoodie partially covering his short sleeved plaid button up collared shirt. Beside him, and soon to be beside me, is a man wearing bright blue loafers, dark jeans with light stitching (not age appropriate) and a mint green plaid shirt under a blue and black plaid sport coat- chaos from the closet for sure. I could see his little chest hairs poking out of his button up shirt. He was also wearing one of those germ prevention masks. To be honest, those always confuse me. Is he wearing it to prevent getting sick or is he sick and wearing it as a courtesy to those around him? Any mask-wearers out there know the answer to that?

I settle into my window seat and wipe down my area. I got a new backpack so I asked for a blanket to line the floor with so I could set my new bag on something cleanish and take off my heels for a few hours. He looked at me and said “well that’s a good idea. I just wear this little mask to stay free of germs.” When he spoke to me, he removed the mask. That alone confused me. Next thing I know, the lady behind me asks the flight attendant for hot water for her “witch’s brew”. I look back and the gal seemed ordinary. When the flight attendant returned she asked what was in that? The Witch responded loudly with the ingredients and went on to tell the whole plane that she always pukes on planes and this “witch’s brew” tends to reduce the chances of this happening. Gross. What in the world is going on on this plane? It’s 9:00 am on a Tuesday for Pete’s Sake!

Now, back to the Masked Man. We will call him that. The Masked Man was “that guy”. You know, the one who was flashing his Delta status all over the place while whining about not having a first class upgrade and seeming in shock that he was in a middle seat. Dude, you are NOT that big of a deal; none of us are. Anyway, back to the story.

For the first time in a while, I was in a row where we were all a reasonable size. We each fit well in our space; however, the Masked Man leaned way too far into my space. He physically had his whole shoulder across my chest. I leaned toward the window hoping my body language would act as a form of communication. He tried to chit chat removing his mask for each spoken word. I, respectfully, responded but with short words removing my headphones only to answer and not reciprocating questions to further engage. He finally got the point, I thought. For the next 3 hours, he simply stared at me. You know that kind of stare where you feel it, and when you peek over they awkwardly look away? Yeah, that kind of stare. For 3 hours.  Oh I did get a minor stare break when they served food. He spent 20 minutes eating one single sandwich and making that gross noise where you put your tongue on your teeth and suck in. He made this noise both in and out of his mask. GROSS!

The awkwardness continued. I needed to get up to use the restroom. He politely got up with me as well and decided he would go to the restroom too. Oh goodie, I was hoping to stand in line with him. He went on to tell me that he was headed to Ecuador. Mind you, he is a white 50 year old man. When I asked why, he explained to me that he lives there- illegally. His Visa ran out but they haven’t figured it out yet. After this conversation, he continued with why he was in Washington. At this point, I still have headphones in yet the cord is dangling because it is attached to nothing. A simple attempt to deter exactly what was taking place. The Masked Man was visiting his brother who is a wine enthusiast. They enjoyed five bottles of wine last night together. Beyond just telling me this, he went on to show me the wine rankings on his wine app for each of the five bottles the consumed (insert eye roll emoji here). I asked him if he was hungover. He said he wasn’t. I told him that was impressive. Out of his pocket he pulled out a small jar of cream. He said “it is because of this marijuana cream I used. I rub it on my head and temples and it keeps me hangover free. Want some? ” How in the world does one meet a 50 year old staring white man in a mask who illegally lives in Ecuador, wears conflicting outfits and uses (and carries in his pocket through the airport) marijuana cream to prevent hangovers? I can’t make this stuff up.

Until next time, Always clean your tray tables!

The Masked Mant

First Classless

I think the Travel Blog Gods were among me when I decided to write this blog. Since I started Dirty Tray Tables last week, I have not had one single flight, Sky Club visit or Uber that was not interesting. Last Thursday, I was traveling from my hotel to my meeting with a coworker. The Uber driver got out to load our suitcases into his trunk. When we looked down we noticed, he was only wearing one shoe, and he acted like that was not odd at all. He loaded our bags, opened our doors and we were on our way. What I don’t understand is why he would wear one shoe? I say go all or nothing- wear both or embrace your inner hippie and wear none.  ShUber for the win!

As the day continued, it got even better. After my meeting, I headed on to the next town. If I am not in first class, I am typically the last to board the flight. I see no reason for me to race onto the plane when I can knock out 30 minutes of work or another Sky Club Chardonnay during boarding time. This day; however, I was first class, so I loaded up with the rest of the Fancy Pants. I was assigned to seat 4B which meant there were twelve other Fancy Fliers in front of me and two others to the side of me. As I was boarding, I noticed a situation boiling.

Main Character #1- There was a man in 4C, let’s call him “Charleston”. He was wearing nicely pressed khakis, those cute loafers with the little knobs on the heel with no socks, a belt with some sort of embroidered palm tree or fish on it, right leg crossed so that foot just barely crosses into the aisle, brown hair that was professionally longer and sporting a strong pastel dress shirt. I would imagine on the weekends he frequents low country boils and a variety of trendy brunch spots on King Street.

Main Character #2- There was a man boarding First Class right in front of me, seat unknown. Let’s call him “Dude”. Dude was wearing scraggly jeans, the kind with the extra big pockets and the hammer holders. The bottoms of them were frayed in the back due to them being too long. He was wearing black shoes with black laces, not sneakers but not dress shoes either; I don’t have a term for those types of shoes. His T-shirt was black with concert dates on the back, and you could tell it had been washed a couple hundred times. He sported a ball cap and was still wearing his sunglasses, the kind that have thick arms and wrap tightly to the face. His hair was short, but he was due for one of those mid haircut neck clean ups.

Charleston was settled in and fiddling on his iPad. I was in line behind Dude. Dude had a normal sized roller-board suitcase with a whole bunch of unnecessary straps flapping around and 3 of the bag tags you fill out when you check in your bag. Charleston was minding his own business when Dude started aggressively trying to jam his suitcase in the overhead bin. Mind you, this was First Class; there were plenty of open spaces for bags. He continues making a touch of a scene banging and huffing and making noise. Charleston removes his expensive sound-reducing headphones and politely said, “Hey man, need any help?” Dude came completely unglued! He started banging his bag and Charleston’s bag around. He said aggressively to Charleston “Maybe if your bag was TSA regulation size we wouldn’t be dealing with this situation (insert a line of bad words here). Charleston then stands up and starts to rearrange, and right before my eyes Dude shoves Charleston out of the way and continues to berate him about his bag size. Charleston remained calmer than I would have- classy southern upbringings I guess.

This is where I come into the story. Seeing as I ALWAYS check my bag, I tapped Dude on the shoulder. “Dude, I just have a backpack. Why don’t you put your bag in the WIDE OPEN bin above my seat?” Dude complied. Charleston was back in his seat, fancy headphones on, leg back crossed. Dude was settled down a bit with bag stored. Dude finally pulls out his phone to find his seat. He taps on Charleston’s shoulder and says “that’s my seat” pointing to the seat right next to him. What are the chances??? The awkwardness was too much for me to handle on a 2.5 hour flight, so I looked at the Dude and said (in my “I used to be a teacher” voice) “why don’t you take my seat, and I will sit in between the two of you. After all, I don’t mind a middle seat since I don’t have very broad shoulders”. Charleston was very thankful, and I spend the next 2.5 hours sitting in between Hatfield and McCoy.  As my dad always says “There is simply no substitute for class, first class in this case.”