Awkward moments are better when you can share them. Don’t believe me? Would you rather trip and fall while walking alone on a crowded street? Or trip and fall while walking with your friend on a crowded street? The second, right? Because you can laugh about it and quickly find a new street.
Well, picture that street as a plane.
And you can’t find a new plane.
My whole morning was strange and awkward. I made my way through the security line at YVR, hoisted my backpack onto my back and wheeled my camera bag to my gate. The Green Bean Cafe was the only coffee in sight. Desperate measures. “Do you have green tea?” Yes. “Do you have honey?” Yes we do. “Okay, I’m undecided between coffee and tea.” He stares at me. I start sweating. [I haven’t been feeling well. My throat starts every morning on fire. Coffee doesn’t appeal to me when sick. [Fun Jamie fact right there.] Green tea with honey is prime. But there’s the caffeine issue. My issue being I NEED IT.] “Can you make long pour americanos?” What’s that, you mean misto? Yeah I’ll add a little bit of milk. “No, no, no no milk. Run the shot through longer.” How do you mean? “I don’t know what else to say. Long pour?” Oh ya ya, our machine does that. I made the decision as 4 people waited in line behind me–“Yeah, I’ll have an americano.” [By the way, his machine didn’t “do that.” It wasn’t long pour.]
“8:40AM Flight to Montreal is now boarding” comes over the loudspeaker and we file onto the aircraft like the elementary school children we once were. I make my way to 17B, throw my jacket and books on my seat. With precision worthy of Olympic Weight-lifting, I grab the handle of my bag and hoist it over my head with both hands. SMASH. My Macbook Pro. Half-open. On the ground. 6 foot free fall to the ground. Have you ever defined people on flights, or is that just me? Lady with the screaming baby. Man who pressed the call button 5 times. Buddy who spent 15 minutes in the bathroom while 6 people waited in line. Those nicknames stick, even to my final goodbye at baggage claim. Well, if I saw myself at baggage claim I’d say it’s “the girl dropped her $2000 Macbook Pro.” Laptop retrieved and stowed, I squished into my middle seat.
I can count on two hands the number of couches I’ve truly enjoyed sitting on. I usually sit on the floor. Because floors all feel the same. I’m a fidgeter. Me and airplanes = a bad time. I wouldn’t be able to fly if I was taller than 5″2 because managing this short body is enough work. My butt falls asleep! So I cross my legs but then my feet fall asleep! So I put my hands underneath my butt and they fall asleep!
On the flight I had my bible, journal, a book, phone and headphones. I couldn’t fit these necessities in my seat pocket together. So, I started with a book and my bible for take-off. When we reached cruising altitude, I switched activities. I used my short legs to fetch the backpack from under the seat. Then I used my short arms to bend to the right, desperately reaching for the handle. [Oh, hey, neighbour’s knee!] The whole time I’m thinking, I’m so glad I’m me right now and not sitting beside me because I can’t stand me but I also don’t know how to fix me. Headphones and phone are placed in the seat pocket. Backpack re-packed with book and Bible, kicked under seat.
I zipped my headphones out of their case and plugged them into my iPhone. I pressed play. No sound. Ah, “on” button. Nothing happens. I examine both ear pieces for a “battery” slot. I find it. Empty. No battery. Frustrating. But I don’t give up that easily. I made a plan. I’d ask a flight attendant if, by any chance, she happened, at all, to have a AAA battery on the plane, anywhere. I also planned to ask this with a very sweet, genuine, HUGE smile. I also planned to apologize as I asked. I counted down the minutes until she walked by. A few minutes later she drops an unidentified electronic device in my hands. “This was in my bag. If you can get it open, there’s AAA batteries in there.” More fidgeting, as I twist and pull and examine the gray piece of plastic. After 5 painful minutes [I WILL NOT GIVE UP. THIS MUSIC IS IMPORTANT TO ME] victory! This lady deserves a prize. I might email WestJet about her. She was incredible.
Ahhh. I am listening to Taylor Swift with my newly acquired noise-cancelling peace as the drink cart approaches. Two drink carts. One from behind, one from the front. I’m eyeing my neighbour’s diet coke and wishing for an orange juice myself. Almost there. One more row. Oh. The carts meet in the middle. And they both wheel to the back. I tap my neighbour, “Did I miss the drink cart?” [Uh. Jamie. DUH. Your neighbour has a Diet Coke. She didn’t create that out of dust.] My poor neighbour sympathetically nods, yes, as if to say “Wow, you poor, poor girl. Dropping your laptop. Packing headphones without batteries. Missing the drink cart. Have you ever flown before?” [YES I’VE FLOWN ALL OVER AND USUALLY BY MYSELF. I AM JUST HAVING AN OFF-DAY.]
Don’t worry, I got orange juice. From the same lady who gave me her batteries. I remembered the Tylenol Cold Daytime and Calcium supplement I slipped in my back pocket earlier that morning. Ever tried to get something out of your back pocket while sitting down? I half-stand up, bracing myself with my left arm on the armrest, digging with my right. Of course, it took time to find two tiny pills at the very bottom of my pocket. But I’m the only one who knows I’m digging for pills. Everyone else is making their own conclusions. At this point, I’ve made the decision to fully embrace this entire awkward-airplane day. The conclusion of the flight passes in normalcy. Until we’re ready to leave.
As rows 1-16 trickle out, I trekked back 2 rows to retrieve my camera bag with a confident smile. A man behind me [side note: very attractive] reaches for it, “Let me get that. We don’t want your laptop to go flying again.” I laugh [because that’s my first reaction to most interactions] and say, “Thanks. Yeah. Definitely don’t.” Another lady chimes in, “Yes, be careful now!” I wheel my bag 5 rows towards the exit. Oh no. I left my jacket on my seat. I shimmy into the nearest aisle, Row 12, and kneel on the aisle seat. I smile sheepishly at exiting passengers. One stops and tells the flight attendant, “There’s a black jacket left back there.” Oh yes! Yes that’s mine! I’m just waiting! [Can I just mention that there were 5 flight attendants–all of who watched the laptop debacle–but THE SAME LADY who gifted me batteries and served me orange juice was also notified of my left-behind jacket.] She nods. The plane empties. I scoop up my jacket, stuff it in my backpack and walk out triumphantly.
This hot mess made it to Montreal today.