Traveling with my family as a child, I always struggled to pack light. What if I forgot something? What if the 90+ degree weather suddenly turned cold and I need a jacket? What if we caught a play and I needed a nice dress and fancy shoes?
(My family never caught plays. Just in case you were wondering.)
“Only pack what you can carry” was my dad’s our family motto. Not because carrying the luggage was actual a problem, but because we always traveled in small cars. Small cars have small trunks.
Being the spunky young woman I was am, I just became strong and good at carrying stuff. (I’m still young right? Right???)
So when this whole pay-per-bag thing started in the airline industry, I was not a fan. I’m cheap and I want 6 different shoe choices for a 5 day trip. That’s just the way I roll. But, alas, my opinions matter not to the airline big wigs, so I’m forced to choose.
Any relaxation or excitement for exploring new places is forgotten when it comes to fitting everything I’ll need for a week and a half in one suitcase, one carry on, and one backpack. It doesn’t help that I read quickly and I need several books for a full day's worth of travel.
Sunday night, as I was packing for our Maui vacation, I was super stressed. My one and only saving grace was that I knew our hosts would either have a washer/dryer that I could borrow, or they could point me in the direction of the nearest laundromat.
My parents both had to work Monday morning and weren’t available to take us to the airport. My aunt (dad’s sis) had offered to take my mom to any follow up doctor appointments following her surgery, so my dad called her and asked if she would mind dropping us off.
Before you question, yes, I realize those are totally not the same. However since both she and her husband are retired, we figured she wouldn’t care to help us out. We were right.
At the airport, they saw us through the security checkpoint (I remembered to leave my pocket knife at home this time) and we were off to our gate. Our local airport is a small one. While that’s annoying for trying to get a direct flight anywhere, it meant no full body “porno” scanners to worry about.
After 30 minutes of the loudspeaker asking anyone with flexible travel plans to take vouchers instead of a flight, the plane finally started boarding. Only Jay had just sent an email with a fairly large attachment. Anxious that we’d miss the flight I went and asked how much longer until the final boarding call. I was assured that we still had a few moments and I was forced to find something else to fret about.
Our flight from Knoxville to Dallas was fairly uneventful, and since they don’t serve snacks, only drinks, on planes these days, I didn’t realize I had forgotten something terribly important.
My hand sanitizer.
I remember setting the 5 oz bottle out of my purse meaning to get one that was 3 oz or less (to met TSA regulations), only I had never made the swap. I was forced to eat my Fuddruckers burger and fries with dirty hands. As we ate lunch, we watched fellow travelers check in at the TSA stations. Several weren’t as luck as Jay and I. We got to watch the scanners in action. Hopefully no radiation skipped over our way as we stared.
We got to the gate early, but they were already loading. Once again Jay had to check his email and wait for his replies to move from his “outbox” to “sent items” before he closed it up and we got on board. We were in no rush since we’d be in the air over 8 hours.
Thankfully a friend had loaned me a 500 page fiction book. I’m weird about reading, and don’t like to start another fiction book the same day I’ve finished another. I think its that the characters get so deep in my brain that I have trouble going from one set to another. When I finished the book, I flipped through some magazines then decided to take a short nap.
Unfortunately for the stranger seated to the right of me, I did the uncomfortable head doddle in his direction. Thankfully, however, no drool was involved.
We finally landed in Honolulu and made our way to the gate for our next flight. It was so frustrating to be in Hawaii, yet still have to wait to get to our final destination. Jay occupied himself with work emails while I hunted out and scored us dinner at Burger King.
I already hated the time change – I had nothing to read, was exhausted, and couldn’t call home to chat without waking someone up.
During the Maui flight, my exhaustion had really set in and everything was getting on my nerves. Jay and I weren’t seated beside one another. The girl seated beside me had used one end of my seat belt to buckle up. I could either say something to her, or ride the entire 40 minute flight with my belt twisted.
Obviously, I had to say something.
I was too awake, so I pulled out my non-fiction book “Somebody’s Gotta Say It” by Neil Bortz. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a talk radio guy who loves to offend. While he’s a bit hateful (which I’m sure makes great radio) we share similar libertarian political leanings. I just knew that someone would read over my shoulder how public schools are brainwashing our children and comparable to child abuse. (Before you flame me, I don’t claim to share all of his opinions – but he’s definitely an entertaining read.)
Also on the flight was the snorter from hell. You know the type – they act like they’ve never met a tissue and think that snorting the snot back up into their nasal cavity is the wisest choice. He was seated directly behind me and snorted every 3 seconds at one point.
Yes – I counted.
At one point I got a 7 second reprieve but then he was back on his 3 second rotation. It took all my self control to not hit the flight attendant button and ask her to give him a tissue.
People suck yo. As we disembarked, a woman asked a man to help get her carry on down from the overhead bin. Remember the “don’t pack what you can’t carry” rule? The “lady” (used loosely of course) didn’t even have the courtesy to say “thank you” to the man who assisted her. Later, while waiting for our host to pick us up, this same woman and her husband (wonder why he couldn’t have helped her with her luggage issues?) almost ran over us on the sidewalk. Apparently we were standing in their walking zone.
Can you tell I desperately needed sleep at this point? Thankfully Jay’s buddy Chad showed up shortly thereafter, adorned our necks with leis and drove us back to his house. I kept taking deep breaths to enjoy the fragrence of the flowers (yes, my lei was real, not one of those cheap plastic ones).
All of that and I don’t have the first picture of Hawaii to share with you yet. Be patient, they’re coming shortly.