Life was so simple when we were young. Not just a few years ago, or even back in our childhood. I mean when we were really young, in the first half-hour after conception. For about 30 minutes, each of us sat there in the dark as a single cell. Okay, we couldn’t actually “sit” yet, but there we were, groovin’ in a private suite with unlimited room service for the next nine months. But then the half-hour was up and Nature screamed, Let’s go, let’s go! Divide!! Divide, you fool, divide!!!!
For once in my life, I followed instructions. And mitosis has enabled me to take a recent flight overseas. Really, as a single cell I couldn’t have reached the overhead storage bins. Anyhoo, I traveled to Switzerland, home of Heidi, stinky cheese, and those brown cows with Maybelline eyelashes. Traveling abroad was wonderful, yet also yielded the raw mush for this article.
“Traveling abroad” sounds elegant. In reality a long flight means more time for possible turbulence and, for me, a gazillion trips to the lavatory. And if the bumpiness hits while in that coffin-sized john? Well, buckaroos, you ride that commode like a mechanical bull and beg God to hold the plane aloft until you can crawl back to your seat and buckle up for the crash.
Airlines are sure splitting hairs in the pre-flight instructions. “In a water landing, blah blah, inflate the life vest after, repeat, after you’ve cleared the exit.” See what I mean? Picky. “Keep aisles clear, yadda yadda, and sleeping on the floor is not permitted.” Man, if only I’d known that earlier….
The movie was Eat Pray Love. Oh, brother. Even if I could tolerate two hours of spirituality with Julia Roberts, the title itself makes me ill. It’s missing two commas!! Furthermore, if 200 passengers pay good money to hurtle through the air at 37,000 feet and risk injury or death while peeing in a vertical, pitching casket, we deserve some decent travel flicks. I vote for Cast Away or Snakes on a Plane.
Customs people are, I think, just begging to be tickled. No matter which country you’re in, they invariably greet you with the joyless stare of humanoids who realize their perpetually sour demeanor obliterates any chance of ever again having wild sex—without paying for it. And then the questions: “Where did you go? Why? For how long? Did you make contact with any farm animals?”
Excuse me—farm animals?!?? I quickly scanned my German for Travelers for the proper response: “Listen up, toots, I may look like a jet-lagged, clueless loser in wrinkled clothes but if I want companionship you can bet your flat affect I can snag a date with something a little higher on the food chain.”
Even “Do you have anything to declare?” was a taunt to give them some lip. Declare?!? Such a silly word, we never say it in Wisconsin. But I do now hereby declare, them Customs boys could stand a whoppin’ dose of Metamucil followed by a foot massage.
Heading home, somewhere over the Atlantic the pilot announced we were returning to Copenhagen due to technical difficulties. All my life, I’ve secretly dreamed of responding to such news by shrieking, “OH GOD, WE’RE GONNA DIE!!!” Unfortunately, I missed my chance because at that moment I was (again) flailing inside the lavatory. While we banked into a steep U-turn, 5G’s of centrifugal force whimsically rearranged my face and internal organs.
What the hell are “technical difficulties” anyway? Is it asking too much for a pilot to come clean and say, “Yes, my co-pilot and I are technically qualified to fly this baby. But we got schnockered last night, ladies and gentlemen, so our current difficulties are nausea and blurred vision.”
Remember, no more sleeping in the aisles. But guess what? I discovered no one can stop you from inflating your life vest (heh heh) while inside the john.