the longest hour…

h’lo folks! i figured i’d depart from the regular flow
and share a story from my recent travel. i was on my
way to Charlotte, North Carolina for a family event and
some R&R. i had strapped myself in on the plane and was
about to tip my head back to catch a wink or two when i
heard someone say, ‘Excuse me.’ i looked up and saw a
woman grin at me, a bit on the shy side i thought. boy,
was i wrong.

i got up to let her sit in the window seat and this lady
(i didn’t even catch her name, despite the fact she had
not stopped talking until 15 minutes into the flight)
began to tell me her story over the past 24 hours. she
had missed a flight the night before, missed another one
earlier and had to make her way to JFK from LaGuardia to
catch this flight. it was going to be her first time going
to South Carolina. ‘so you’re driving after you get to
Charlotte?’ i asked. ‘oh yes,’ she said. she was a sister,
from the islands. i gathered as much from the accent and
the cherry kool-aid tint of her hair color. she lost me
when she took her shoes off however. i realize that we,
as human beings, tend to have our own odor under certain
circumstances. but when she took her shoes off, i swear
to you, i caught a whiff of cold cuts. salami. i grimaced
inwardly. mind you, she’s still talking, but now to herself.

i turned to my sisters sitting across the aisle, settled
in. we take off smoothly, and i notice a little girl sitting
in front of them, playing. she seemed a little under the
weather. i wouldn’t know how much until later. she gave me
a small grin and i returned the favor. meanwhile, my seat
mate had begun to wind down after getting a blanket. ‘i’m
from the islands, and we don’t do the cold. cold kills me!’
she said with a chuckle. ‘oh, my family is as well,’ i reply
but she pretty much ran roughshod over that and didn’t hear.
works for me. i closed my eyes for a bit.

we wind up getting to Charlotte 20 minutes early. as we start
our descent, i pop a piece of gum in my mouth and begin to get
ready for landing. the little girl i saw earlier said something
in Spanish to her mother, who was sitting in front of me. her
face looked a bit pale. she looks off, past me to the back. and
then, it happens. as the plane begins to land, she vomits. all
of the orange juice and whatever else she has flows out. it was
like a cutscene from a Wes Craven film. it spills out onto her
clothes, hits the floor. after a minute of this, another little
girl sitting next to her, possibly her sister says, ‘now I might
throw up. gross.’ her mother? she was fumbling for tissue, and
looked a bit distracted even when others gave her tissue and
napkins. while this is going on, we’re set to taxi into the gate.
but then the pilot gets on the speaker to tell us another plane
is there. and we have to wait a half hour. and then the AC gets
cut off.

the sister next to me starts getting agitated. ‘c’mon man, we
gotta get off the plane. this is ridiculous.’, she says in
between making phone calls to different people informing them
as to what’s going on. the little girl goes to the bathroom
with her mother and comes back freshly scrubbed and changed
and happier it seems. the AC had been cut back on, and things
got more mellow. well, save for this older brother pulling his
Samsonite suitcase out from the overhead and tucking it between
his legs waiting to deplane. the flight attendant had to give
him a quick talking to for that one. she also had to buckle the
little girl in because her mother was too busy playing Bejeweled
on her BlackBerry. yeah, you read that right. as we get baggage
claim info, my seatmate goes, ‘oh it’s Carousel D as in David.
that’s my boyfriend’s name!’ i nodded and said, ‘okay, cool..’
as if that would stop the flow of speech(what was i thinking?)
but she then says, ‘we met online. this is the first time i’m
meeting him.’ cue the dramatic music. because once i heard that,
i thought, ‘this is a 48 Hours episode possibly.’ and she’s going
to South Carolina to meet him. i was officially done at that
point. and the moment we were ready to deplane, i bolted. what
a crazy start to a good trip.