Let’s start with the worst of me. Air travel brings back past memories of exorbitant cost, smelly meals, and sitting in the row of the non-smoking section located right in front of the smoking section. Smoking. Section. I recall white-knuckled emergency landings at LAX because of a passenger medical emergency which turned into our own emergency when my young husband and I were stranded there for the night in a mysterious part of town. Flying for the first time with an infant still makes my stomach churn. I could go on but the point is that I have issues. Smokey, smelly, stranded issues. Every time I fly, these issues trigger my fight or flight response. No pun intended.
Whenever I travel by air, I consider that I’m not the only one with issues, flight related and life related. Considering how many people are crammed into the 737 as I write, it’s a miracle that there is enough room for all of our issues. For example, I’m fortunate to not be afraid of the actual flying part, but I can’t say the same for the death-gripped passenger across from me. And I’m traveling for the joy of reunion with my daughter and grandson. But what about those with tears in their eyes traveling to and from funerals?
Because of my empathy with travelers, my fight response is reserved for rare occasion. Instead, I fly with a mild smile on my face and a neutral demeanor. I’m quick to compliment children and their parents, especially nursing mothers. I’ll switch my single seat to help unite families. I’m all business when next to a business traveler and I’m willing to chat to the grandma who needs to talk. Right now I’m next to a sleeping dad with his young daughter asleep on his shoulder. Sweet. I’m always patient with the attendant because I can only imagine the challenges of it. I just had some ice dropped on me and then an empty bottle tipped off the cart into my lap. The friendly attendant was overly apologetic. She offered me a cocktail and I quipped that I would accept her offer if it wasn’t 9:00 in the morning. We laughed. Although the thought that it is 5:00 pm somewhere did cross my mind.
My fight response is ready for rare occasion. If you are a big man I expect you to not plow over me. This means you in the fancy suit or you in the backward cap. Also, if you are a complainer, I’ll offer one sympathetic response but after that, be prepared for Mary Sunshine. I’ll also play bouncer for mothers traveling alone with young children as well as the very elderly.
The best is that the vast majority of air travel is an exercise in excellence and the cooperative kindness offered by most people. Fair rates, safety, efficiency, and professional courtesy. Smiling babies, diligent parents, helpful folks with muscles to heave their neighbor’s luggage into the overhead compartment, talkers, listeners, nappers.
I left the best at home, too. My men will hold down the fort while I gorge myself on baby Henry hugs and kisses. His dad, my son-in-law, is traveling too, so it will be my daughter and I enjoying serious girl time. Too rare. Most precious.
Last night my youngest son made breakfast for me to pull out of the refrigerator this morning. Since I left home very early, I said my goodbyes to JP last night. While he slept, I grabbed my breakfast to find his sweet love note. Isn’t that the best?
Do you enjoy traveling by air? Any issues? What is the kindest thing to happen to you while traveling?
Happy trails ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc