My first flight was uneventful, after I booted a gentleman from Antigua out of my seat. He checked his boarding pass, nicely apologized and moved from the window to the dreaded center seat. We made small talk and I enjoyed his accent during the 38 minute ride to Miami.
I arrived with plenty of time to use the bathroom and buy an overpriced snack and drink. I followed signs to Gate 60 and was surprised to find the final sign with an arrow pointing down. Down? Like to ground level? Yep! I realized I'd be walking out on the tarmac and up the plane steps to my flight, just as I had during every flight in and out of Hawaii. With all the palm trees and balmy weather, I felt like I was back there for a few minutes.
Once my eyes adjusted to the sun, I got a good look at my plane. Oh NO! It's one of those MINI planes!! I hate those. They're always the ones you read about in crashes! (Remember the one around Buffalo, NY a year or 2 ago?? "No survivors". YIKES!)
I tried to rationalize the situation and say that it was the size of Elvis's private plane but then I got onboard this one, it was no "Lisa Marie". Believe me, there are times when SIZE MATTERS! There was a row of single seats on one side and then double seats on the other. It occurred to me that we're going to lean right with double the number of passengers on that side. I don't know if it's a coincidence or careful planning but it seemed like most of the single seat side were, how do I say this?, the fat passengers. I took my seat on the single side. I scuffed my hips on the seats that bordered the one foot wide center aisle but was glad that at least my seat belt fit without having to ask for the "extender".
I tried to settle in and read the in flight magazine as we taxied but was startled at how loud the engines were at take off. Luckily it didn't scare the "you know what" out of me considering the seatback table was emblazoned with "Use Bottom Cushion For Flotation Device". (I was sure I was going to need that bottom cushion when we plummeted into the ocean.)
Once in the air, a woman, sounding like a 12 year old girl, announced the was the pilot and informed us how much longer we'd be in the air, the weather conditions in Columbus and reminded us to keep our seat belts on in case of turbulence. Then a clean cut man in his 60s, wearing an apron, came around serving soft drinks, beer and margaritas, peddling roasted almonds and plastic packaged cheese 'n crackers. I remember growing up during a time when the employees in this situation were more likely to have had each other's positions.
Once in the air, I reclined my seat the full 2 INCHES, adjusted the flaps on my headrest and prepared for an early afternoon nap. Once my head settled for the left side and my ear formed a suction cup on the flap, I heard a familiar whir in my ear. And it was a little uncomfortable for some reason. It was like holding a seashell and hearing the ocean. HEARING THE OCEAN?? Yikes! I was jolted awake and remained wide eyed through the remainder of occasional turbulence and a wobbly and "leaning right" landing.
I was so glad to get off that plane. I spotted my hotel mates' gate across from the Columbus Brewing Company Bar. A coincidence? I think not. Who am I to fight a medicinal gift from the gods??
There are many a day when I prefer 2 wheels rather than 4. Today, I was sure that 2 wheels would have been less nerve wracking than the 3 that taxied my mini plane down the tarmac.
I've arrived at the NBL's Competition Congress and reconnected with some familiar faces. I enjoyed dinner with my hotel mates, whom I've known almost since we started in BMX. We invited the silver tongued announcer, Roger, to join us at dinner and laughed like a bunch of eighth graders once we got on a roll about "rocks". You've got to ask Roger to explain that one! It was nice not to be in a "rocky" situation. Being with my bmx buds is ROCK Solid! Next time we're in Little Rock, I'm looking up Mike G. and inviting him over for some Rocky Road Ice cream!
All that said, I'm turning in for a good night of sleep and giggles once Penny and Cathy give up on the idea of staying up til midnight to pose in the fountain!
Thanks for reading and please comment! k