Why I Feel Like A 5 Year Old When I Fly...

I fly a lot.  When doing so, I spend most of my time making weird observations.  While flying last week, I FINALLY realized what I can compare flying to these days; being a 5 year old in a kindergarten class.

The entire process begins when I am required to "stand in an orderly line" while begin herded through the security area.  While the entire process irritates Robby, I find that the things that bother me most are:  1.)  Having the choice of being exposed to radiation or having my private parts wanded and 2.)  being required to remove my shoes and stand on a germy surface (which might have a ringworm on it...).  Once I actually make it through THAT whole process, I can breathe for a moment.  And I mean just a moment, because theREAL quirkiness of flying is just about to begin!

BEWARE when you hear these words, "We are about to board...".  Although everyone has a seat number and a boarding number, there is the danger of a stampede.  People huddle around in semi-circle form as though a rugby game is about to begin.  Hold tight to your items (and your self...), for the pushing, shoving and line breaking is about to begin.  Ummm...NEWS ALERT!  EVERYBODY is getting on the plane!  Oh, I realize that part of the urgency of "being first" not only goes back to one's kindergarten days, but lies in the fact that most passengers are heavily burdened down with over-sized suitcases (they can't be considered carry-ons...) that they want to shove into the overhead compartments before all of the room runs out.  I hurridely find my seat, buckle in and watch THAT show...it can be QUITE interesting!

Once aboard the aircraft (OH MY GOSH! I now sound like I work for the airlines...), the next thing I like to check out is the "Flight Attendant Atmosphere".  Let me explain why this is such an important aspect of flying.  First...THEY ARE THE BOSS and Second...They are going to let you KNOW THEY ARE THE BOSS.  The flight attendants on one of my first flights last week are what I like to refer to as, "Grandmother Flight Attendants".  HEY!  I can say this because I AM a grandmother.  Well, maybe they are "Great-Grandmother Flight Attendants"...anyway, they are NOT the flight attendants one sees on that new television show, "Pan Am".  I usually perk my ears up and look for facial expressions to determine what the "Flight Attendant Atmosphere" will be for the duration of the flight.  On this particular flight, I knew right away not to tempt fate with this one. 

Like a good little "kindergartener" I quickly sat down, buckled myself in and watched people continue to board the plane and attempt to shove that luggage overhead without knocking the wheels off.  THAT'S when I noticed the look on "Grandmother's" face..."Oh my, 'Grandmother', what a snarly lip you have"! (And attitude to go with it, I noticed...).  Some people were definitely going to be in trouble on this flight; I determined that it would NOT be me.  Well, THAT didn't last for long.  Everyone was situated, buckled in and "Grandmother" was checking EVERYTHING (seat belts, chair incline, carry-ons under seats and electronic devices; you name it...she was checking it!).  I suddenly noticed that the guy sitting next to me had a BIG briefcase down by his feet blocking part of the emergency exit.  I knew it would only be a matter of time until she saw it; was this guy a rookie?  Did he not know the "Rules of Flight"?! (ugh...)  One NEVER want the flight attendant to take notice of someone in their row, because then she will continue to pass by your seat, checking on you, while giving you the "evil eye".  Well, notice him she did...but not for the reason I had feared.

This already non-compliant guy, upon looking around, decided that he would give Robby and me more room by moving over to a seat on the other side of the aisle.  Now, this isn't usually an issue and one greatly appreciated in most cases, however, apparently he had not weighed the "Flight Attendant Atmosphere" as closely as I had (or at all, for that matter...).  It was really of no consequence to me if HE wanted to "get in trouble" (because THAT was a certainty...)...UNTIL Robby and I were required to get unbuckled and stand up in the aisle while he moved (ugh!!!).  It reminded me of that movie, "The Exorcist" as I saw "Grandmother's" head swish quickly around on her shoulders.  My mama was right, after all...some people DO have "eyes in the back of their heads" and unfortunately, "Grandmother" was one of those people!  I could see her making her way toward us, with arms thrashing beside her body in an agitated manner.  At that point, I began to panic as I attempted to push HIM out into the aisle, while I grabbed Robby by the arm so we could begin buckling ourselves back into our seats.  I wanted her to focus on the "offender" and not on the "innocent accessories".  We were buckled back in our seats, while he was still taking his time situating himself in his new seat (apparently he WAS a rookie...).  THAT'S when he got it...WHAM!  "Sir, WHAT are you doing?"  He explained that he was just moving and then she noticed that briefcase.  "Sir, you are going to have to move that," she stated as she gave him a triumphant snarl.  We were all once again in kindergarten at that point.  She had banished him to the corner for being a "rule-breaker" as we all affected our "innocent, 'Whew!  I'm glad it's not me' faces".  He sat there moving his things around and eventually settled down with somewhat of a pout on his face, while "Grandmother" continued to stand over him and stare to make sure he didn't get out of his seat again.

Well, I had made another successful plane trip without getting in too much trouble.  However, it made me recall why I disliked being in a classroom so much.  There were just too many darn rules for my liking.  And if you remember correctly..."Rules are just NOT my forte'" (sigh...).  As the plane began to descend, the sun was blaring through the window in my eyes.  I asked Robby to please lower it and just as my eyes were adjusting again, I noticed that "Grandmother" was standing over our seats.  Well, crap!  What had WE done at the end of the flight to warrant this little visit?!  "Sir, it is federal regulation that you must keep that window raised during landing since it is over the wind."  Hmmm...I wondered WHY?  What was the purpose of THAT rule?  Did I opt to actually voice those questions?  Heck NO!  I said to Robby, "Well, I guess the sun is just gonna put my eyes out then!"...and sucked it up.  When the wheel hit the ground, I once again breathed.  I had survived another flight without making any serious infractions.  As I made my was past "Grandmother" while exiting the plane, however, I was once again in kindergarten.  I held my possessions close to my body and didn't push in line...I even attempted a "Thank-You" and smile, but all I received in return was a stern nod of the head.  Oh well, I supposed that was the kindergarten equivalent to a "straight face" on the behavior clothesline...and that was as good as it was gonna get for this flier!

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