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Friday, August 5, 2011

Send me on my way...

security purse and a couple of backpacks...happy happy.

So here's the ugly truth, much as I hate to admit it: the girl whose personality has more than once been compared to that of a golden retriever, (that would be me,) wasted most of the last year of this precious thing called life...in a funk. In a slump. Which is lame. Capitol-L lame.

Sure, I had reasons: Last August I acquired (and still have) an injury that kept me from running. There are few things sadder in everyday life than a runner who can't run, and the injury was utterly my own fault -not listening to my body when it said woah! This did not make for a happy camper. It has gotten better, and I can run...some. Which is way better than nothing, y'all.

Also, admittedly, I was having a hard time letting go of Dubai, not just of the friends and amazing running community there, a painful loss, but also of the travelling and closest-thing-I-was-ever-going-to-come-to-glamorous lifestyle.

I've always subscribed to the no matter where you go, there you are saying, buuuut now I think perhaps I was wrong. I definitely like myself better when I'm running...or travelling. Maybe it's the excitement. Maybe it's the chance to learn something new about myself and the world. Maybe it's that nicely widened margin of acceptability for appearing a total idiot.

Whatever it is, I thrive on it.

So it was with entirely glad heart (Funk? What funk?) that I donned the backpack, checked a single piece of luggage, and boarded a plane (after the "traditional" airport massage...twice makes a tradition, right?) for Houston and then South America.

South America. A whole new continent. With a loved one waiting for me and a land to explore without a single memory in it yet.

Delicious. Enough to make a girl's spine tingle.

It all began with zipping effortlessly through security at SeaTac, interested once again to note the number of people who seem both befuddled by the system and unhappy to be there. Many were obviously people setting off on vacation. A time to be happy. Personally, I think the airport security staff do an awesome job of getting everyone where they need to be in a timely and friendly manner, seemingly without getting frustrated by the overall noncompliance of the flock.

On the plane the airline (who shall remain unnamed) informed us that if we wanted television we could pull out our credit cards to pay for it. I objected to this on principle, and turned the screen all the way down, though most people didn't seem to mind the inveigling "There's still time for On-Demand!" message, but then, I could afford principles. I had reading material and I didn't have kids in tow. With the kids I would have coughed up for sure.

On my right was a mother who did have her brood alongside, three small children. Dad was waiting for them in Houston.They seemed to behaving pretty well but as the 5 hours progressed their mom got more and more stressed. Stressed enough that my offer to hold her adorable baby girl, initially meeting with a polite refusal, resulted in baby sailing over the aisle to me for me to hold multiple times. Little Justina and I became good buddies. Mom was whispering threats to her other two offspring, trying various and sundry options that didn't seem to garner the result she was looking for.

Finally the breaking point. The flight attendant asked what they'd like to drink -there were no meals served, at least, not to Coach Class scum like us. Justina's brother, about 4 years old, wanted juice. There was no more juice. Mom said, in what I would describe as a resigned tone, but no worse than that, "fine."

The flight attendant went ape. I apologise for the expression, but it fits the situation. She raised her voice to that scary command and control tone they teach in cop school. The one they use with a cocked weapon pointed at your head, a snarling, barely restrained German Shepherd alongside.

She barked, "I don't like the way you are COMING AT ME, Ma'am!" with a sarcastic twist to that last bit.


Mom turned white and her mouth dropped open. It was the exact same reaction one would have gotten from backhanding the poor woman. I'm not sure what the stewardess was trying to accomplish. Flying alone with children that you're not only responsible for but also trying to keep civil is an experience that deserves the sympathy of those around, if not an entire cheer squad.

As it turned out, this mom had a cheer squad. One composed entirely of complete strangers, to be sure, but when she lost it, started to cry and, between hoos, sputtering disbelief that she was being accused of such a thing, three rows on either side stirred angrily to her defense. This only made the flight attendant more belligerent, so much so that she had to be bodily dragged away by another female flight attendant who took her handily by the waist and wrangled her back, still trying to pick a fight, to the attendant area at the back of the plane.

I kid you not.

In retrospect, I would have given a lot to have been privy to that little conversation between the flight staff once they disappeared behind the service curtain.

I'll bet it was good.

The nice (and apparently martial art or animal handler trained) flight attendant came back and took the now crying Justina away from the still bawling mother and her concerned children, holding the baby while trying to calm the now full-of-righteous-anger mother.

It's possible we fellow passengers might have set her on said path of righteous anger with our indignant comments on her behalf. It was impressive to hear her turn on her Texas Momma and retort, 10 minutes after the incident, I don't wahnt her back door apology, ah want her name.

I can tell you, it totally cancelled out any need for paid in-flight entertainment.


  1. I am sooooo glad to see you writing a blog again!!! Can't wait to read what you have coming about this adventure!!! You rock ;)

  2. You don't have to name the carrier, the sad fact is that might happen on any one of the U.S. Carriers. As everyone who travels internationally knows, American carriers have become the last choice of anyone who has a choice.