Sunday, December 19, 2010


I'm good at things.  Specifically: making rice krispy treats, swimming and remembering to send thank you cards.

But you know where I particularly excel?  In living everyone's travel nightmares.  In my lifetime, I've missed more flights than I care to admit.  And today was no different.

Frantic packing, impatient navigation through automated phone menus, self loathing, $$$, deep breath, eternity cab ride, deep breath, lines, language barriers, not-so-cheery flight attendant who seemed to be typing her dissertation as she tried to help, deep breath and getting picked for a "special" security screening.  All in a day's work really.

Once I finally squeezed myself into my, since-I-missed-my-first-flight-and-don't-have-a-good-seat, middle chair...I realized this might just be the beginning.  The woman next to me seemed to either not notice there was a human being sitting next to her or simply had no concept of personal space.  She was leaning on me, poking me, elbowing me in the gut.

Normally, I'd sigh and lean away and hope she falls asleep soon.  But today, I couldn't be bothered.  I poked back.  I even ELBOWED back...tried to show who was boss.  She didn't seem to notice, so I closed my eyes and prayed the flight attendant would bring wine.  Quickly.

On the verge of tears (I swear the altitude gets me every time), I noticed the drink cart was almost to our row.  I perked up, ordered my wine, poured the entire little airplane bottle into my cup and closed my eyes for a quick toast to Hong Kong and all the things it had carved into my heart.

As I opened my eyes, I noticed my cup was making a b-line toward my lap and there was nothing I could do.  I just watched it slide, in slow motion, directly off my tray.  Ugh, there were those tears again.  Go away!

YES: High-altitude Eat, Pray, Love was getting the best of me. YES: I'd had a complicated morning. YES: My seat mate was a high-class poker -- but, PLEASE: just keep it together.

Ms. Poker McPokerton grabbed her napkin with ninja speed and threw it in between me and the cup.  Even though some of the wine slowly dripped onto my leg -- she'd saved me from complete disaster.  She hardly made eye contact when I tried to thank her.  But she'd won enough points to warrant a few free pokes for the rest of the flight.

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