Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | March 7, 2006

late check in

“Mam’ step over here. Please take off your belt and watch.”

It’s their job and a humiliating experience. Once, twice, three times over the span of my body, a casing of my waist, and an all too uncomfortable pause at my bosom. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, which validated the authenticity of another clichéd expression I’d doubted. I managed to mumble something similar to the likes of a whine, “My flight leaves in 9 minutes.” My eyes were burning and bridging with tear overflow down the course of my cheek. I swallowed hard turning my hair into a mask to shield the look I wore. She saw my humiliation as I felt her duty to do her job. I was late. I knew it, and was blaming myself for having an all to fun Saturday night that carried well into Sunday morning.

“Here Honey, you put your belt back on and I’ll get your shoes.”

It’s her job and a humiliating one. I made the plane through kindness, looking distressed and probably a bit pathetic. Clicking the heel of my K-Swiss sneaker the softness of its sole dug into the carpet as I ran down the narrow hallway allowing my bag to hit my shoulder over and over producing a bruise.

Waiting on the plane to pull back from the gate and wishing I wasn’t in the middle seat. The man to my right kept a chaffing laughter the way one does before he excuses himself to the bathroom. Men’s Health was his quick read. Curiosity and all the intricate pieces kill this cat more than nine times a day. I had to know, “What? What’s so funny?”

“This girl,” he pointed to a sexy brunette in the magazine, “did a love scene with another actress.” He read, “We were like an old married couple. Before each scene I’d eat curry and smoke cigarettes, she’d smoke cigars.”


Do not encourage him to talk allowing a verbal, “That takes character,” to escape.
I began more repelling than compelling conversation during the course of our plane ride.An hour into us being stranded on the runway the wallet came out of his back pocket when I fell in like with his autistic baby boy. A commonality of human existence was found. His son and one of my best friends from high school fell into the realm of sharing a common disease. Continuing to verbally throw up on me and reveal all his secrets of past relationship wrongs and rights. What is it about planes that turn a short travel into psychiatry 101?


  1. Jess, that whole post? Is my worst travel nightmare. I try to avoid human contact on planes at all costs. Is that wrong? I don’t know. But I like to call it “self-preservation”.

  2. To avoid these situations, I used to keep a copy of the now defunct “Prison Life” magazine in my bag, along with at least one tattoo magazine. Pulling those out got most people to leave me alone.
    If that didn’t work, I’d keep a book on Freemasonry or the occult or something equally off-putting and esoteric in my bag as a backup.

    There’s a fine art to avoiding interpersonal contact. Sadly, somedays, I think I learned it too well.

    Hope the rest of your trip is going/went better than that.

  3. I find that staying medicted is the best answer on the plane. I can usually be asleep before take off!!


  4. Thank you for making me not miss business travel at all. 🙂 Hope the rest of the trip is going a bit better than the travels up there.

  5. Wow. Why such an extensive search? That totally sucks.

  6. Maybe it’s the confined space…but such a great observation. Glad you made it!

  7. Whoa–I think you just solved the big mystery on Lost!

  8. Go into a zone once you board the plane. My secret is iPod and a magazine. Then people are less likely to want to engage in conversation when you are feeling more into having “personal alone time”. When that doesn’t work and they persists, smile, nod and find that safe warm place in your head…and hope the plane is about to land so you can escape.

  9. I feel ya on the plane ride convo. Fortunately, I’m told I look unapproachable … or maybe it’s the completely disinterested tone in my voice when someone does attempt an unwanted conversation. Not that I don’t like meeting new people. But rarely do I meet someone on any plane ride that intrueges that much interest.

  10. Sounds like backpacking. You meet the strangest people and for the briefest of times suspend all the usual BS that goes with meeting people and instead are just honest.

  11. Oh god. I CANNOT stand it when people on planes, buses, elevators..whatever…want to spontaneously make stupid conversation. Generally I prefer just to be left alone.

    Poor poor Sass. I’m so sorry.

  12. Look on the bright side…while it was all going on, you could think to yourself “This day is going to make for a great blog post!”

  13. Sass – it’s a good thing you had the K-Swiss shoes and that you’re a runner. Planes are funny creatures. Bad movies become Academy Award material when viewed on a plane. I can’t tell you how much I loved Mean Girls. Cool that you could find something to bond about with your neighbor.


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