I have never dreaded a flight more than that Sunday, October 24th. Our flight left at 3:53pm. Leaving for the airport at 1:30pm made me almost as nervous as wading into the water the day before to start the swim. I was extremely, extremely sore. I’ve always enjoyed flying before, but not when my legs felt like they were as moveable as tree trunks.
Every car ride that we took I could not sit as a normal person would (knees bent, facing forward) I needed to extend my legs across the back seats so that I could use my arms to help lift myself up and out of the car. If I tried sitting like a normal human being it would be game over and I would need my friend’s help to get out of the car.
We all took the elevator up to the airport concourse level and we all began walking. 3 seconds later I was 5 feet behind my friends. 10 seconds later I was a good 15 feet behind them. Only after half a minute did they turn around and say, “Where did Brian go?”
We stopped at Chili’s with 90 minutes to spare before boarding – I was starving. I felt hungrier than a ravenous wolf who sights a lone gazelle after having gone 2 weeks without feeding. (Probably a slight exaggeration there, but you get the point and how often do you get to write about a ravenous wolf about to feed on a gazelle?)
But, just in case you don’t here is a snippet from when the waiter delivered our food.
Waiter: Okay gents, we have a Chicken wrap?
Friend 1: That’s mine, thanks.
Friend 2: What a wuss, trying to drop some L B’s Manetti**?
Friend 1: Go sit on it Travinski**
** not real names
Waiter: And who ordered the Chili’s burger
Friend 2: Right here, thank you
Waiter: Okay, now we have Chicken Fajitas
My eyes were growing exponentially bigger at the sight of the sizziling plate of chicken, onions, peppers, and overall sweetness.
Me (to myself): Come to papa, ohh chicken fajitas, where have you been my whole life?
Me: Ahem. That’s mine , thank you.
Waiter: Great, we also have an Asian chicken salad with extra chicken, which one of y’all is that for?
Me (to myself like a 2nd grader in a candy shop): WOW WOW WEE WOW!
Me: Excellent. You can put it right here. Thanks, looks great.
Waiter (surprised at giving someone two rather large entree): Okay. We also have an order of rice and beans
Me: Great. I was wondering if you forgot that. You could put that right next to my salad, (handing the waiter the salt and pepper shakers to clear some room).
Waiter: Thanks y’all, let me know if you need anything else.
Me: Hmm, actually, sorry to bother you but you had my order of chips and salsa too if it’s not too much a pain.
After our last supper, we went to board. My friends finagled me an exit row seat (extra leg room, booyah!) which in mind was kind of like handing someone a nerf gun (who was previously weaponless) to fight Rambo. However, it was an aisle seat so maybe a Nerf gun and a helmet is the more appropriate analogy.
Settling in to my seat (again thank you to my two friends for dealing with my luggage) I turned on my iPod and closed my eyes. The plane pulls away from the gate, taxis to the run-way and take off. So far so good.
I had the aisle seat, which enabled me to get up every 15 minutes to walk around. I feared that if I sat for too long (or fell asleep) I would be done for. It helped that the guy in the window seat had a bladder the size of a mouse, so he made me get up every 15 minutes – if I forgot to.
Landing at JFK was a happy sight. I was even happier to stand up and walk down the aisle of the plan to the exit.
Mission accomplished in my mind.