I don’t even know where to begin with this day. I guess the beginning would be appropriate.
I slept like crap and there was no good reason. My mind just picked some random topic and decided it should worry about it and keep the rest of us all sleepless. The topic? The wine in the box being transported as checked luggage from Sacramento to Portland to Anchorage to Fairbanks and then its reception and use thereafter. It was epic. There were even related nightmares.
My alarms were set for 3:30 and 3:31AM. You rely on only one alarm? Fool! Two, on at least two devices. It’s called a contingency plan. Have one. For everything. I had a nightmare or something, last night. I’ve had it before, but not for a very long time. I had the sensation that someone or something sat on the bed, tightening the covers atop me, or perhaps, the someone or something was actually on top of me. Whatever it was, I was rendered incapable of movement. I was also, for whatever reason, incapable of uttering any kind of sound, no plea for help. Have you had this dream? It’s terrifying. I think I may have actually emitted some kind of guttural noise.
When the first of my alarms sounded, tired though I was, I leapt from under the covers and prepared myself for … vacation. If it had been work, it may have been another story. I got ready, threw all my luggage into Meep (my Civic) and floored it to SMF (Sacramento International Airport).
The flight to Portland was mundane, except for the “complimentary beverage”. Love that! From Portland to Anchorage, so very typical of air travel, I don’t even know where to begin. Surely you’ve flown. What has been your experience? A screaming baby, someone contagious, someone loony? Am I right? These are the required components of almost any flight, it’s like mandates that must be met. Where do I begin?
On my flight from Sacramento to Portland was a man. He was short in stature, sort of a “Napoleon complex” going on. He wore black jeans, a black jacket, leather or pleather, I dared not get close enough to discern. He also wore black-lensed aviators, indoors. I first saw him in the boarding area and thought “Hmmm. Whatever.” On the plane, he sat one row back and across the aisle. He looked like he was either some kind of CIA operative or a hit man, or both. Again, whatever. When I got to Portland, after my free two mimosas at SMF and my complimentary red wine on the flight, I headed to the bar for a porter, and, there was CIA operative hit man guy. I’m a little unnerved. I drink my beer, I head for my gate. I sit, I write, I compose some notes, I look up, and, there is CIA operative hit man guy, black-lensed aviator glasses still shading his eyes. I board the plane, and, behind me one row and across the aisle, CIA operative hit man guy. Jeez. Should I be worried. As I understand it, ordering a hit on someone is incredibly affordable these days. Did I piss someone off? I have no assets!
Also on the flight? A screaming child, apparently under two years old because it was a lap child, so, by my reckoning, not even in the “terrible twos” yet. Oh my. It is well over three hours from Portland to Anchorage and the child made noise the entire way with only a brief respite. Whether it was happy noise or very unhappy noise, it was still deafening. At first, I blamed the mother. When the seatbelt sign was turned off and the mom got up and walked up and down the aisle with the little monster, which seemed to appease it, I thought she was okay. But, when the noise ensued and continued for the duration, I redacted that from the record. I don’t know how I survived motherhood, and, I don’t know how my children survived childhood. I always believed that, like women of the nineteenth century, that children should be seen but never heard from, and, if heard from, it should be with proper grammar, diction and an excellent vocabulary respective of their age.
Another guest on our flight today? Coughing guy. Immediately across the aisle from me. I have Airborne with me. I never leave home without it. But I have several more hours of travel, the crucial question here is; can I get to the Airborne before the germs get to me? We can only hope. To make matters worse, he isn’t just coughing, he is blowing is nose into the same limp, wet and wilted tissue, which he produces from his pocket about a mili-second after he has spew germs in several directions, including mine. What’s worse? He is playing Candy Crush on BOTH his tablet and his smartphone. I AM sickened.
Another guest on our flight, and only two seats away? Captain Obvious-ly Not. He has the window seat and, bless her heart, his wife has the middle seat, I have the aisle. I fight hard for my aisle seat. He is peering out the window and narrating, which, in itself is annoying, but when so absurdly incorrect and impossible, I feel like sicking the hit man on him. He says, and I quote, “I can see Canada, but I don’t think I can see Greenland.” Um. Hello? We are flying from Portland to Anchorage at 38,000 feet. You couldn’t see Greenland if you were Superman and ate the planet devoid of carrots. I thought, perhaps, he was the mentally challenged son of the lady sitting next to me, but apparent age and matching wedding bands nullified that prospect. Similar comments continued, barely audible over the screaming, for the entire flight. I ordered wine with my cheese platter. Then, a second glass of wine. On the house.
But, then, there was company for Captain Obvious-ly Not, his corporal, perhaps. The flight attendant passed, carrying two plastic bags, one for trash, one for recycles. He’d made his way up the aisle, audibly, asking for garbage. Corporal Obvious-ly Not actually asked him if he had any lemon-lime on his cart. There was silence, for a long second or two, then, Bryan, the flight attendant responded, beautifully, “I don’t have a cart, I have bags, for trash, but I could probably find you a used lemon-lime here. The cart is coming, just behind me.” Loved it! It wasn’t snotty, it was delivered perfectly and was well received! Bryan! A master at language and communication and a worthy adversary for the walking, talking unconscious.
And, please, let’s not forget “knees in the back of the seat guy”. He was on this flight, too. I haven’t sat near him for a few flights now. May I ask? When you board your next flight, please make note of the seat backs, note the thickness and the quality of the materials, the foam, the man made covering. There is not a lot between your knees and the back of the person in front of you. I paid for a two-hour, vigorous and divine massage night before last. Yesterday, during my pedicure, I was seated in one of those massage chairs, which is alright, except it was set on high and if felt like I was being punched from the back of my thighs up to my neck for the duration. I most definitely did not need another involuntary massage today. I tried looking casually over my shoulder to express, wordlessly, like, “cut it the eff out!” I must have miscommunicated, because it continued, and with a new intensity and vigor.
I did manage to snatch a couple of minutes of sleep, somewhere after the first glass of wine, a less than stimulating article in Vogue, the 902 page Fall issue, and the shrieks of screaming child, now, new and improved, with more intensity, more decibels and a higher pitch! I am wondering, at this point, if I might be able to hire CIA operative hit man guy to make my flight a little more tolerable!
The only truly bright spot in the flight, besides Bryan, the witty and worthy flight attendant, were “the bag ladies”. The woman seated in front of me boarded, and upon taking her seat, placed the most beautiful, most divine, most sublime, small, yet adequate, wheeled, with a retractable handle, delicious red, bag in the overhead. This so did not go unnoticed. By me. Or, by the other “bag lady” on the flight. From two rows back, a perfectly coifed, colored, tinted and Botoxed specimen of a woman stepped forward and asked fab bag gal, “Where did you get that bag”. I eavesdropped as best I could, and, apparently, this fab bag is only available from one artisan, in one shop, in some section of Portland, and, as I don’t know Portland at all, except for one fantastic Thai place with something on the menu that made me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants, I don’t know where to obtain this magical art of a bag. Bright spot and despair.
We are approaching Anchorage. Finally. Screaming child is screaming even louder now. Captain Obvious-ly Not is narrating our descent. Incorrectly, I’m sure. His wife is listening, enrapt. CIA operative hit man guy has broken his code of silence AND removed his black-lensed aviators and is, in the last moments of a nearly four hour flight, trying to make conversation with the much younger blonde gal seated next to him. Meanwhile, I am still getting a vigorous and unsolicited massage. I am out of wine and, since we are on approach, no more is available. I am plotting my stealthy, surreptitious acquisition of the fab red bag in the overhead next to my “Real Tree” hunting daypack. Then, the most beautiful thing occurred; coughing guy, while struggling to replace his tablet and smartphone into his backpack, overhead, turned and coughed, open mouth and all, all over CIA operative hit man guy. Was this some kind of double agent coup? Awesome! You see the most incredible things on commercial air carriers!
I have made my way to Silver Gulch at ANC (Ted Stevens International Airport Anchorage). I love layovers here! Silver Gulch has fantastic brews and, as far as I know, unless you bring a growler home, isn’t available in the lower 48. Why, I met my Sweetie at the original Silver Gulch in Fox precisely three years and a few days ago. Friendship, then love. There is magic in that brew! Apparently, because, as I sit here and write and mind my own business, sipping on my Prudhoe Pig oatmeal stout, I have been mercilessly hit on by a number of guys. I even have a business card. In case I’m ever in the Phoenix area. Ew. Another guy asked, “what, are you a writer?” Well, yes, I am, of sorts, and now, you are blog fodder! Welcome! You and so many other unsuspecting folks!
I will be in the “Land of the Midnight Sun” and the land of “Not Much in the Way of Internet” for the next ten days. I will be writing, rest assured. I will not be posting, until I am back here, at Silver Gulch, in ANC, at the earliest. Hang tough, it will be good, I promise. Like screaming kids, coughing guy and knees in the back of your seat guy, you can count on it!