“…It’s hard to be a passenger for me. You know I’m always looking down.” ~Jets to Brazil, Air Traffic Control
Every time I pack for a trip, I go through my checklist of things I carefully write out so I don’t forget anything. I also walk myself through the list of embarrassing things I have done on flights and hope I don’t have a repeat. Have you ever seen someone look somewhat scared while doing breathing exercises? Be awake one second and then pass out the next? Doing something ridiculous while sleeping? Spill on themselves? Hit themselves in the head with their own suitcase? If you have, chances are we’ve been on a flight together and the person you were laughing at was me. Here are some of the highlights:
- I used to have a major fear of flying. I’m still not comfortable, but I’ve never let it stop me from boarding. For a solid two years, I would be so anxious that by the time the plane would takeoff, I would pass out. Immediately. I have a whole system that I still practice today just in case! I have a window seat unless I’m flying with someone I know that is comfortable with me using their shoulder as a landing pad. (Pun intended.) I place a sweater or something I can use as a pillow (because I forgot the actual travel pillow) between me and the plane wall. I rest my head on it and close my eyes pretending I’m already asleep so when I pass out I don’t freak anyone out. It’s a good a system until…
- I found out the hard way sometimes my head doesn’t stay in place. On three occasions I have passed out so hard that my head slid so I was asleep looking down. Not the worst, right? Wrong. Every time this happened my lower jaw somehow managed to unhinge and push itself forward. I wake up while still in this position. Have you ever seen Sling Blade? Yeah. That’s right. I’m Karl. I was so embarrassed the first time that it took me several minutes to slowly move myself out of this position.
- Where do you place falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder on the embarrassing scale now that you heard the Sling Blade incidents? It probably doesn’t seem as bad now. However, this has happened. The only saving grace is I didn’t drool.
- Once I couldn’t get my bag out of the overhead compartment. I didn’t realize it was hooked on the strap of the bag next to mine because, well, I’m not that tall. It was causing me to hold up the line. By the time I broke the sucker lose, I nailed myself in the head. No one bothered to help me. I think someone asked if I was ok. I don’t remember because I was walking away as fast as humanly possible.
- I knocked my soda over and spilled on my pants. Then I spilled my water while trying to clean up the soda because I didn’t put the cap on the bottle all the way and apparently have octopus arms.
I’m sort of curious but not too curious what will happen on the four flights I’m taking in the next two weeks. If there is anything significant, I’ll write a Part II to this story.
I almost wrote Part Deux, and then I remembered that was the name of the second Hot Shots! movie. Do you guys remember those? If it wasn’t for my Sling Blade performance, I would be most embarrassed about the number of times I watched those movies back in the day.