Monday, November 26, 2012

Travelogue Epilogue: Plane-O-Phobia

Image from VillageHiker
They stagger unsteadily to their feet, like newly born deer. Having heard the soft "bong!" they have stirred from their fitful, zombie-like trances. Though they have been roused, they are clearly not fully alert, nor even cognizant of where they are, or what they should be doing. Slowly--oh, so slowly--a dim awareness begins to flicker, sputtering into a vague knowing. As the others in front of them begin to clear a path, these doughy, slovenly creatures start to move. Not with a purpose, not even with an obvious sense of direction. As though a switch has been flipped, each of them--one at a time--has the realization that they did not come to this place without belongings. They sleepily grope around them, tugging blindly at the items surrounding their berths. It is only when the path before them is utterly clear before they even begin to understand what is going on around them.

Image from Wired.
While the more alert of their brethren watch helplessly from behind them, these lummoxes can be seen finally, finally approaching sentience. Suddenly, they remember: "I have a suitcase in the overhead compartment. I should get that now. Wait, I have to put my sweatshirt on first. And where is my scarf? Oh, here it is, okay, now wait. . ." Like a traffic jam correcting itself in agonizingly slow motion, this process repeats for seemingly every person on the plane in front of me. Like the little old lady who extracts her checkbook--her checkbook!--from her purse only after each of her 147 items has been rung up and bagged at the grocery, I have to quietly tolerate my fellow humans.

I will admit to feeling something akin to claustrophobia in these situations. Or, I assume that's what I'm feeling. My traffic and grocery situations are very, very similar, so I might not have it pegged exactly right. In all of these situations, I'm at the mercy of others, and what I perceive to be stupid humans. I try to control my growing rage, every time I have to experience it. In my trip to and from Ohio this time though, I was in the tail end of each of four planes. Big or small, each deplaning was torturous for me. Many others manage to sit patiently while I stand there and stew. Why, oh why, can I be on my feet with all my belongings, ten seconds after the bell, and no one else can?

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