As I sit on this tiny lawnmower of a plane, delayed over 40 minutes with a crew younger than I am, I feel like a total grouch. I just want to go home, I keep thinking, just let me go home. When I start getting in this state I begin to see the world differently: people laughing sound augmented and distorted, like a horror movie. People seem to move in slow motion. I hear the dead air noises in between at a deafening volume.
Maybe it’s my upbringing. Maybe it’s the time in which I live. Maybe still, it may be a conscious decision to be sinking down into my own dark depths. The anger I hardly ever feel.
The crew is my age, which I’m not yet used to. Maybe that’s how most people feel as the years go by, as the people around them, driving their taxis, cutting their hair, flying their planes, look younger and younger. The baby Captain just got on the intercom to let us know that our flight was too heavy (that’s a new one), and that they were waiting for word back from American Airlines as to what they would do: siphon fuel, kick bags off, or kick people off. Click.
Wildly texting C, I realize I’m doing exactly what I’ve seen and heard my mom do all my life:
I play my first hard rock club in Dallas.
Mom: “Don’t get stabbed.”
I buy a Smart Car.
Mom: “Don’t get in a wreck.”
And this morning,
We see a grooming machine on the ski run just up the hill from our hotel room.
Mom: “It’s going to fall on us.”
So, it could be how I was raised. But then I remember my visit to Fedex/Kinkos the other day in between piano tunings, trying to print off final notice letters for an upcoming small claims court case I’ll need to file (it’s awful, will tell you about it soon). It was 50 pages long, a collection of 30 separate documents that were 1-2 pages each. Hence, Kinkos. All the printing person would have to do would be to highlight every document on my thumb drive, at the same time, and hit print. On normal, black and white, regular paper.
The girl behind the register doesn’t see me for about 5 minutes, visibly flirting with the super tall and über confident manager—both in their early 20’s. I wince as she dozily drops my thumb drive, before scraping it over the back of the monitor looking for a port. This is when the slow motion begins. She sighs deeply when she sees the 30 documents, and insists that she will have to hit each one individually in order to print. I sit for 10 agonizing minutes as I watch her hit print, copy number, printer selection, print on each and every page. Relieved, she finishes and, like a sloth, trudges over to the nearest large printer. A few minutes later, I overhear the loud conversation that happens in the middle of the printer bay:
“Hey! Is this your print?”
“Uhhh, yeah, that’s, mine.”
“Did you mean to print it on the glossy card stock?”
“Okay then.” He takes my personal documents and throws them into the trash bin, whole and un-shredded.
Me: “HEY!” (They jump.) “Are those MY documents?!”
The girl walks back over to me, now accompanied by a young female trainee, even less committed to the situation.
“Uhrm, yes ma’am, that was yours. There was an error with the printing.”
“Oh, really. Well, can you hit print again?”
“Let me see, ma’am. It looks as though we only have 5 of your documents ready to print.”
“FIVE?!” The room begins to melt. Clowns’ distorted laughter. “Out of 30?!”
I leave. Angrily.
Back to my current situation. The plane is now over an hour and a half late. Three people have volunteered to exit our flight for another one, that may have taken off already. There is a loud, ominous bell sound that keeps ringing, sawing at my ears. They siphoned two people’s weight off in fuel. We are sitting here. I just want to go home.
It’s okay baby, C texts. You’ll be home soon.
I see the gate pulling away from our lawnmower. The kid staff are still laughing to themselves, but they’re starting to sound like people again. The door closes. The rushing air sound starts to sink back into incoherence. Things begin to speed up. I hear the engine rush on. I feel the plane shuffle like a waking child. Wish me luck, I’m almost home.