Flying the friendly sky

Nathan Sanderson

Nathan Sanderson

I love to fly, don’t you?

I’m not talking about you or your buddy renting a turboprop plane and cruising up to Watertown, or something else you might call “flying.” I’m talking about flying commercially and then standing in line for seven hours because Mabel forgot that there are three pounds of metal in the $28 worth of change in her pocket.

It’s great to watch people sitting in the airport terminal before take-off. Every stranger sits at least one chair apart, unless some guy strikes up a conversation with a hottie going to see her grandmother over New Year’s.

Once you’re boarded and crammed into that 13 inch wide floatation device close to someone who paid for one seat and got a seat-and-a-half, you can hear the collective “you’re in my personal space” groan from everyone.

My favorite part is the free in-flight entertainment. I have rarely flown when there wasn’t a kid screaming and kicking my chair, Joe Bob selling insurance or someone yakking at me without taking a breath.

On my recent trip to Tucson, I was seated next to a kind, nice-looking woman in her 60s, small enough to be a comfortable companion in our dual seats, who smiled sweetly when I sat down. I thought to myself, “I’ve hit the jackpot! Someone who will be tolerable, polite, and totally uninterested in anything I have to say!”

Before I had my belt buckled and my magazine out she says, “Tell me you’re a Cribbage player!”

“No,” I reply, “never learned the game.”

“Well,” she says, “no one is perfect, I guess. Some people should take it upon themselves to learn (insert two hours flight time here), you know?”

To avoid such interactions, you can pretend to sleep–however, you’ll miss your chance for six ounces of Coke, five ice cubes and four stale pretzels.

Next time I’ll just try the baggage compartment.

Nathan Sanderson plans on driving everywhere in his conversion van from now on. Even to Europe. Write to him at [email protected]