Flying The Friendly Skies…

If you know me, it’s almost certain that you know that I am not a good flier. I get wrecked over it.  I will torture myself with thoughts of certain doom and untimely death, getting less and less sleep as the day of my flight approaches.  I know rationally that I will probably not die on a domestic flight between Seattle and Los Angeles, and that there is technically a such and such percent chance that I would more likely be hurt if I decided to drive between the two cities… Yeah, yeah… I know.  Clearly this is not a rational fear.  I dislike most things about flying, down to the oddly packaged airline food (who drinks juice out of a bag?! It’s unnatural) and the loud flushing mini toilet filled with bright blue water.  It makes me uncomfortable, the whole darn experience.  Having a flying partner usually eases the experience for me a bit since I will have a certain candidate for hand squeezing around take off, and lap jumping during any “unexpected” turbulence.  Also, I have always been the person who gets stuck sitting next to the most odd, smelly, holier than though,  loud, sometimes republican person on the flight.  It is my luck. Yay.  So, having a flying companion cuts my chances of sitting next to one or more of these people at least in half.

I don’t think I have to say that when It came time for me to leave Seattle and Rachel to fly back to Los Angeles, I was not pleased.  I was flying solo.

I did the usual necessary pill popping pre-flight.  Two Xanex safely down the hatch aided by a little banana nut muffin to coat my stomach.   By this time I am sitting at my gate, trying to look for my potential seat mates.  Will it be the insanely ‘roided out dude in the cut off t-shirt giving me the old cutie eye?  Or maybe the woman in the inappropriate leopard print belly shirt, chatting on her bedazzled cell phone, while holding her small child on one of those rainbow kid leashes… The options are too vast.

Finally it is time to board so I get my excessive amount of carry on and approach the airplane in order to saddle up and face my destiny.  I get to my seat and see a real clean cut gentleman sitting in the middle seat of my row.  He is tall.  His legs are buckling under what Alaska Air claims to be legroom… So, I offer him my aisle seat.  At least you can keep your feet in the aisle when the drink cart isnt making its rounds.  He accepts, and I take his middle seat.  Side Note:  I am a fan of the middle seat.  I would have offered my aisle to a short person.  It really only made me appear to be more generous under these circumstances and therefore worked out to my advantage.

So as we sit there, me in my middle seat and my new seat-mate in his aisle, we begin to chat.  His name is Steve.  He lives in Hermosa.  He is married to a pretty lady and they just had a REAL cute chubby little baby boy.  He shows me all of these darn cute baby photos.  I am thinking that this is going pretty smoothly… Steve is a normal dude and seems to have the same appreciation I hold for chubby baby things… granted this particular chubby baby I am sure holds a very special place in his heart.

Then it happens.

I see a guy getting on the plane looking for his seat.

He is tall, thin, and hungover.  He sports a cowboy hat and a dirty wife-beater tank top.  He is loud and muttering something about whisky.  Yes.  I know it now.  This is 19A.  This is my window seat mate.

Sure enough cowboy parks it right down next to me.  He immediately starts to do the head nod off, where you fall asleep and jerk suddenly while falling forward catching yourself.  Steve and I continue to chat about our jobs and loved ones and his new baby.  Finally we take off… Although I am screaming on the inside I did not want to share my complete pee in my pants fright with my new flight friend.  I instead opt for something like “Steve, are you a good flier? I really don’t care for it much.”  Clearly understated.  But we continue to chat and things are just fine.

In the middle of a conversation about Syracuse, NY, I get tapped on the shoulder by Cowboy.

“Hey Darling.  Do you think you could tap me awake when they come around with the whisky and water?”

“Um, Yeah, Sure, No Prob.”

EXCELLENT.

I am sitting next to a cowboy who is about to get straight up bombed on the airplane.

We get to talking, and his name is Cassey.  He is a nice guy.  He plays in a Honky Tonk band (his true passion) and lives in Van Nuys with some of his band mates.  He actually lives off of the same side street as I do, so he starts to talk to me about the valley and how I should come out and see him play at some bar on Woodman.  Even though I was intrigued, I still haven’t made it out to go and see some honky tonk.  When the drink cart comes he proceeds to order 3 bottles of Jack, a little gingerale (which he looks at me and says “yeah, i know gingerale isn’t good for you…”)  and some water.  He is set.  Steve orders two beers and they both get these ridiculous snack packs offered by the airlines.  I prefer to call them Choose Your Own Adventure packs… they are filled with things that don’t 100% go together, so it leaves you to assemble odd snacks and get creative.  So the three of us all start to chat now, the two men by my side could not be more different, and are both getting boozy (Casey more so…. it was a lot of Jack.)

It comes out that Steve used to be a gymnast in high school.  Casey is a surfer.  He is also a set designer and decorater, which is a pretty sweet ass job.  Steve loves kids.  Casey claims he punches himself in the balls on occasion and has done everything in his power not to have them.  Casey talks about anger management (making sure to tell me “But I would never get violent with a lady or nothing, I just like to scrap.”) Steve and Casey debate over the cloth and plastic diaper issue… Turns out Casey is a surprise environmentalist who makes his own compost in his backyard.  I am loving every minute of this, btw.  It is a chance encounter with two people who you would never usually meet, stuck in a situation where you are forced to find relatable things about each other and be friends for at least two or so hours.

By the end of the flight both men have taken my business card in hopes of enlisting my photography services.  Sweet!  Casey has offered me a surfing lesson, and an almond roca from his snack pack… so, WIN.

We chatted so much I didn’t really notice our landing.

Even though Casey the Cowboy had gotten boozed, it was a whole lot better than sitting next to someone trying to convert me to their religion or get me to HEAD UP the young republican society in their area (both have really happened, btw.)

I think this might be the first time I had actually flown the “friendly” skies.  No agendas, just good conversation… and a few snack packs.

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~ by soartsyithurts on August 22, 2008.

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