**Ding Ding** Seatbelt sign goes off. Put tray table down. Rearrange cup full of garbage and empty soda can on tray table once. Do it again. Open neighbor’s tray table. Without her consent. Put garbage and empty soda can on neighbor’s tray table. Dust off my tray table. Fling crumbs onto neighbor’s lab. Drop crackers wrapper in gap between my seat and the window. Spend five minutes trying to open window shade. Finally succeed, get blinded by light. Check moving flight map. We are over South Dakota. Never mind the “South”, it’s pretty darn cold here. Never mind the weather comments, those are clouds, not snow on the “ground.” Relish success of opening window. Flight attendant tells me to close it. Person behind me who sort of shares my window tells me to close it. Close window. Close tray table. Extract laptop case from under seat. Extract laptop from laptop case. Don’t bother checking if laptops are allowed yet. Decide I’m thirsty. Put laptop away. Ask for a coke. Place coke in stupid little pointless groove in tray table. Person in front adjusts seat. Abruptly. Knocks too-full cup of coke over. Barely catch it. Right hand sticky. Ask for another coke. Seatbelt sign goes on. Turbulence. Coke gets knocked over. No catch this time. Wet, sticky disaster. Swear off liquids for rest of flight. Extract laptop case and laptop. Realize that laptop does not fit on tray table. Extract two books and glasses case to build a makeshift extension to tray table. Balance make-shift extension on lap. Attempt to put my seat back. Struggle with seat for 5 minutes. Give up. Benevolent neighbor (not the one with the tray table) pushes seat-back button for me. Put seat back. Get settled to working on laptop. Try to get internet connection. No internet connection, duh. Duck under tray table to extract wireless internet receiver thing. Bang head on tray table on way up. Give up on internet. Need to use bathroom. Put laptop away. Retrieve garbage from neighbor’s tray table. Attempt to climb over neighbor. Get stranded in the aisle behind food trolley. Open door on man in bathroom. Bathroom smells. Go to bathroom at light speed. Almost get sucked down toilet. Feel very unsanitary. Hurry back to seat. Turbulence. Fall over. Bruise knee on someone’s armrest. Consider sneaking into first class. Consider taking cold medication to knock me out. Take cold medicine. Turns out I have a cold. Fall asleep. Wake up feeling sore. Realize my day has been extended 8 hours due to time difference between home and destination. Get hit on the head by carry-on luggage as disembarking. Trip on the stairs down. Can’t find luggage. Still have to make up time difference. Wonder how everyone can be so cheery. Locate luggage. Trip over it. Trip over nothing in particular. Why is everyone wearing leis? Realize this is Hawaii. Realize this is, regrettably, the wrong destination. Wonder what happened while I was sleeping. Wish I could go back to sleep. Realize I am sleeping. Wake up. Very disoriented. Realize I’m still sitting on the tarmac in NY. Sigh.
Sitting on the Tarmac
August 28, 2009