I arrived at the airport approximately 70 minutes before take-off. I found the Southwest entrance and proceeded to baggage check. I could see that the lines were very long, so I hurriedly clutched my luggage and picked up my pace. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed airport personnel eyeing me.
"What's her deal?" I thought.
No sooner had I walked one step past her did she spin around and suspiciously say, "Excuse me, miss...how old are you?"
"Right...you've got to be kidding me, " I thought. I calmly turned around and very sweetly (and might I add without hardly any faces...) replied, "Um....uh...twenty-two..." I tried not to let the annoyance drip from my voice.
I mean seriously, how young do I look? I certainly hope I look older than 14, or whatever the age is that a minor cannot travel unaccompanied...So went my first incident at the airport, which really was just as funny as it was annoying.
I boarded the plane and found a window seat about the center of the plane. I quickly realized as a steady stream of people poured down the aisles that I probably would not be sitting alone. I wondered whose presence I would be graced with. A teenager around the age of 18 sat in my row, a seat in between us. People were still standing in the aisle and I knew that sooner or later one of them would have to pick the empty seat right next me...Sure enough, someone did. No, it wasn't some nice young woman that I could converse with, nor was it even a business man who would keep to himself, no I ended up with a punk rocker. A young man whose face I would not be able to identify in a line up because it was hidden by blond stringy hair, the strange piercings in his lips and ears and his weird aroma sent warning bells off in my mind.
We had been in the air no more than 5 minutes when he pulled out his sketch pad and pencils and began to draw. I peered over his shoulder and shuddered at his gory drawings. I pulled out my book and decided I would probably not be engaging in any intellectual conversations with this teenager. He and the girl next to him did find topics to talk about such as, their dysfunctional families, how they hated Texas, and whether or not they could carry tobacco on the plane and if they could pull it out now????
Finally my two "plane-mates" ceased their pointless chatter and dozed off. I found myself somewhat disappointed...they had been quite entertaining.
But then the real excitement began. The captain spoke over the speaker and told all passengers to shut off electronic devices and stay seated and secured because we were entering some slight turbulence. I tried closing my eyes and pretending that I was in a car driving in pot holes but it didn't quite work. We were swaying from side to side and it felt as if rocks were being hurled at the plane. My stomach began to churn and I felt a wave of nauseousness come over me.
"Breathe in. Breathe out." I told myself.
I took a deep inhale and remembered all too late that an Indian family was sitting in front of me eating who knows what. Two rows in front of me a little girl was crying, then suddenly, she stopped and began making strange gurgling noises. Ah, yes I recognized that noise... The flight attendants didn't quite make it to her with the barf bag in time...
While I was telling myself now, "Do not inhale, do not inhale, do not inhale" the punk rocker beside me was just getting comfy and began to nod off onto my shoulder. "Very nice," I thought, "Next time, forget the non-stop flight, I'm driving!"