Off in the not-so-far-away distance I hear a baby cry.
Please, I say to myself, don’t be on my flight.
Is there anything worse than being stuck on a plane with a crying baby? OK, maybe getting stuck next to a really smelly fat guy who is still sweating out last night’s Pabsts.
Or sitting next to Donald Trump.
But I digress.
I’m sitting at Gate 11 in Terminal D at Laguardia Airport in New York City waiting for a flight to West Palm Beach, Fla.
At quick count this is probably the 15th time I’ve journeyed somewhere via flying tin-can. Physics says it’s possible, so I trust the process – even though none of it makes sense.
I barely remember the first time I flew — going trans-Atlantic to England to see relatives when I was but three or four years old, I suppose. It’s a trip I hope to do again before my October Weekend turns into November.
I want to say I flew Pan Am, or maybe it was TWA back then..
I should have flown more often, though. Both of those airlines are no longer flying. Never got to cash in those frequent flier miles, I guess.
But there again I switch airlines the way I switch socks. Which means I don’t wear socks a lot (just like I don’t fly a lot) but when I do it’s often a different pair.
Today is Delta’s turn, but that’s only because my company is footing the bill.
If i had my druthers I’d be flying Jet Blue. No frills, save for the TV in my seat.
With Delta, I had to shell out $25 to check a bag. I probably could have over-nighted it via Fed Ex for less.
Flying is basically a box full of pains in the ass that we put up with for convenience.
Getting to big city airports is never easy. For me, I had to take a 100-minute train ride, followed by a $40 taxi ride, only to get the opportunity to stand in line before Homeland Security could either: A – Take naked x-ray photos of me, or, B – Feel me up via a shouldn’t-you-buy-me-a-drink-first patdown.
Had Andre been Andrea I might have settled for the latter. After all, it’s been a while since I got some. Maybe even last time I flew. (No, am not a member of the Mile High Club).
But it’s still the easiest way to get from Point A to a far away Point B so we shell out the money and put up with it.
Once we go wheels up, I’ll reach my destination in a little more than three hours. Thus, I guess, it’s worth it.
They just announced my flight as being full. That first leads me to ask, “Who the hell flies to West Palm Beach, Fla., in August?”
So the baby is still in play. As is the fat guy wearing “Eau de Pabst.”
Trump — I’m pretty sure he’s taking the Trump Shuttle. Oh wait, never mind.
Since the airlines are trying to cram as many people as they can into each flight, I’ll be playing the roll of sardine today along with everybody else. I remember a cross country flight I took nearly a quarter century ago. Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, via Detroit, or Chicago, I don’t remember.
I remember being up in the air for a while, but it was comfortable. There was room to stretch your legs, turn around to speak to the person behind you, or just walk up the row to go to the bathroom.
I remember flying as being fun back then.
Not so much anymore.
I like airports, though, in the way I like hospitals. Their like little cities built within bigger cities with a villager of workers doing their jobs. Here, we have pilots, flight attendants, cops, EMTs, janitors, food service workers, all milling about and doing their job.
Hospitals have doctors, nurses, cops, EMTs, janitors, food service workers … you get the point.
As a voyeur of life, when I do get to travel (at least alone) I like to take it all in.
I look at the people and wonder where they’re going or where they’re coming from. I try to look into their eyes, wondering if I’ll see joy or sadness or resignation.
I listen to conversations — somebody bitching to somebody else about paying $4 for something, another person talking about their life.
It’s a potpourri of the world and it is one of the highlights of flying.
My plane is at my gate. People need to get off and they need to clean up and restock the soda and peanuts before they’ll let anybody on, but it’s almost time to go.
See you in Florida.