Monday, December 26, 2011

Things That Stress Me out about Flying

This morning I am (finally!) heading back to Los Angeles. I say finally, because I have just spent 3 days more than my 5 day maximum in Columbus, Ohio. There is nothing particularly wrong with Columbus or my parents, other than it being like going back in time to high school. Being home is so much like being in high school that I actually had a dream while I was at home in which I was required to go to high school again, at 27. At multiple points during this dream, I told other people about my predicament, to which they all responded with, "I'm pretty sure that you don't need to do that. . ." Again, nothing terribly bad about my parents, it's just a little overwhelming, especially now that I'm used to living by myself. There is no alone time at home. Even if I come up with an excuse to retreat to my room and check Facebook, I can expect constant check-ins if I do anything involving sounds coming from my computer. YouTube is out of the question unless I am prepared to explain, in detail, all of the necessary cultural references to make something funny. After this explanation, we will have to watch the video again together, at which point the other parent will hear laughter, and not wanting to be left out of the fun, will ask for an additional explanation and a third viewing. If there was a time where I did want my parents to come to my room (struggling to come up with an example. . .), like if I was sick with a really sore throat and wanted some soup, all I'd have to do is turn on Pandora and wait 30 seconds.

So yes, I'm excited to get back to LA. I am not at all afraid of flying. In most circumstances, even heavy turbulence does not scare me (see below for the exceptions). I have an irrational trust in machines, because they were made by robots, who I hear are very good at making things. It does make me nervous to think about human beings having anything to do with the building and/or maintenance process, but I'm pretty sure that's rare nowadays. I also recognize that in most plane crash situations (other than a terrorist sitting next to me), I have very little control over how the whole thing pans out. I've gotten very good at not worrying about things that I cannot control. It's one of my strengths.

I do, on the other hand, get anxious about a number of other things about air travel which I will list now.

1. Missing my flight: As any of my friends can tell you, I am pretty much always late. 15 minutes on a good day, but it can be as much as an hour (or more). It's so bad that if my timeliness is particularly important for an activity, they will tell me a fake time so that I make it there by the real time. I have never been fired from a job, but the closest I've ever gotten was when I was not asked back after the holidays at American Eagle for being late too many times. Needless to say, it's a problem. I know this about myself. Airplanes will NOT wait for me. I know this about airplanes. These two presuppositions do not mix well.

2. Whether or not my bag will fit in the overhead compartment: I have about a 60% success rate with my bag fitting, yet I refuse to check baggage for fear that it will be lost. I always hope that flight attendants will see my bag and tell me if they're pretty sure that it won't fit, but unfortunately, nobody looks at backpacks because nobody makes backpacks as giant as mine. My bag not fitting means the embarrassing walk back to the front of the plane to do gate-side check. This is fun for no one.

3. Spilling my drink due to turbulence: This is 80% of the reason that I rarely get out electronics on planes.

4. Using the restroom during turbulence: I am so afraid of this that I do not use the restroom on planes. I will hold it for hours on the calmest of flights rather than chance restroom turbulence.

5. Frequent flier miles: I do not keep track of these, and feel guilty every time these come up in conversation. I am certain that I could have flown to Europe and back a number of times for free, but I just haven't taken the 2 minutes that I would need to get a frequent flier number for each airline.

6. Leaving something on the plane: Glasses, a book, my ticket for my next flight, all of the above. Terrifying. You have NO IDEA how far your stuff could get before anyone notices it.

To end on a positive note, here are some things I do like about air travel.

1. The cookies on Delta

2. When flight attendants use the announcements as a way to try out new stand-up routines: I know a lot of people hate it, but I'm a big fan.

3. The first cigarette outside of the airport: I don't actually smoke that often, but there's a special bond between the folks smoking right outside of the airport door. Everybody is giving each other that knowing look of, "phew! We made it!"

Today's travel-day food: 2 cups of United Airlines coffee, 2 gingerbread cookies (thanks, mom!), a blueberry and chocolate chip pancake, a side of bacon, and an espresso milkshake with whipped cream.

FAQs - The Most Useful Part of Any Website

In order to explain the purpose of this blog, I've decided to start with a Frequently Asked Questions segment. With the exception of the first question, this is also a conversation that I have had on literally every first date I have ever been on, as well as with anyone who has ever tried to cook for me or go to a restaurant with me, especially at lunch time.


Q: What is a latch-key kid?
A: A latch-key kid is a kid (usually in later elementary school) who had his own key to let himself into his house after school while his parents were still at work. These are the kids for whom Easy-Mac was invented. Generally, it denotes a lack of parental oversight, particularly in the realm of after school snacking. In my case, it denotes a lack of acting like an adult when making meal choices, because I'm really picky.

Q: Like how picky? What don't you eat?
A: Sandwiches, salads, tomatoes, eggs, and most savory cold foods. I do, however, eat sushi. Okay, I eat California rolls. Close enough.

Q: Sandwiches? Really? What about a "really good sandwich"? (I put "really good sandwich" in quotation marks, because I deny their existence)
A: All sandwiches, anything between bread really. It is not a presentation of food that I enjoy.

Q: So you don't eat hamburgers?
A: No.

Q: Burritos?
A: Nope.

Q: Do you like bread?
A: Yes.

Q: Just nothing between the bread?
A: You got it.

Q: What about butter or jelly on bread?
A: I like that.

Q: Okay, now what if there was butter on a piece of bread, and then you put another piece of bread on top of it. Would you eat that?
A: I would never do that.

Q: But would you eat it?
A: It's an irrelevant question. I would never do that.

Q: What if an evil villain is threatening to kill you unless you eat it? or
What if you're starving to death? Would you eat it then?
A: Again, most likely never going to happen, but I would probably just take the two piece of bread apart while no one was looking and eat it that way.

Q: Why don't you like sandwiches?
A: I really don't know.
Author's note: I have been asked this question, not exaggerating, millions of times. I still don't have a good answer that makes sense to anyone. The closest I've gotten to answering it is to tell people, "if sandwiches are allowed to be some people's favorite food, then they're allowed to be my least favorite food." It's not a very satisfying answer, I know. I'm sorry.

Q: Damn, that's weird.
A: That's not a question.

Q: Okay, so what do you like?
A: Candy, junk food in general, anything fried, "meat and potatoes" in pretty much any form (from filet mingoin and truffle mashed potatoes to chicken nuggets and fries), Italian food (without tomatoes), most Asian food, and alcohol.