It was 1992. I thought I was in love. I wasn’t. His name was Chad, he played football and he was spending the summer back home in Missouri. After a few months Chad thought I should fly out, spend some time with him and finally meet his family.
The following is the true account of the events that went down on my four-leg trip from hell to Missouri where I spent a week with someone who would eventually break up with me in a Taco Bell parking lot my Junior year in college.
First Leg: Salt Lake City, UT to Cedar City, UT
Air Time: 55 minutes
In Salt Lake City, I boarded a small plane that had the capacity to hold up to 30 passengers. When I landed in Cedar City, 55 minutes later, the plane picked up 2 people. This made for a grand total of 3 paid passengers on board the plane.
That’s right. For almost an hour, I was the only person on the plane besides the pilot, who sported denim shorts and a “Fear This” t-shirt and his two leathery companion women who claimed to be "the help". I believed they were truck-stop waitresses. As you can imagine, it was awesome.
The flight crew, or “threesome” spent the majority of the flight in the front of the plane cackling and carrying on. About 20 minutes in, Truck Stop Waitress 1 hollered back to me and informed me that there would be no beverage service and she would hook me up with a soda once we landed.
As the time went on, the “party plane” more rowdy. Around the 40-minute mark, I was almost positive I was the fourth-wheel in some sort of mile-high caligula.
Second Leg: Cedar City, UT to St. George, UT
Air Time: 10 minutes
A 10-minute flight. Truck Stop Waitress 1 forgot my soda. I’m pretty sure the turbulence we experienced on the flight had something to do with the pilot and Truck Stop Waitress 2 disappearing into the cockpit for the entire flight.
Third Leg: St. George, UT to Las Vegas, NV
Air Time: Felt like forever
Before the plane left St. George, me and the other two passengers were escorted off the plane and made to wait in an airport the size of a Chili’s Restaurant. We then switched planes, to a larger bird that held 75 people. When boarded the plane, I noticed a rather large, sweaty man sitting in my seat. I remembered seeing him in the Chili’s/Airport because he was the guy leaning against a wall, shouting, “Does anyone have any aspirin!” Also? He was violently emptying his lunch into a wastebasket.
As luck would have it, the new flight crew ushered me to the seat next to Sweaty Guy. After take-off, Sweaty introduced himself by pointing to my courtesy “barf bag” and grunting. I took this as the universal sign that he was about to blow chunks AGAIN and immediately thrust it at him.
That hour-long flight will probably go down as the most uncomfortable and nasty hour I’ve spent in the air. Let me break it down for you.
I spent the first ten minutes of the flight watching a grapefruit-sized stain grow on my linen pants. I tried so hard to believe the wetness was some bizarre airplane condensation, or prayed to God that I had started my period and through some unexplained medical marvel, it was appearing on the top of my thigh. But I knew better. It was arm sweat from sweaty. ON MY LEG.
I was seated in an aisle seat, thank heavens for small miracles, and every time the flight attendant passed me, she gave me gun fingers, winked and exclaimed, “Love that hair!” Pretty soon she recruited a second flight attendant and three passengers into taking turns touching my hair. One of them, a nice, but slightly crazy woman, ran her fingers through it like a comb for more than ten minutes. I would have demanded she stop, but she kept telling me I that looked exactly like her dead niece.
Now, for those of you that don’t already know this, I have curly hair. One of the fundamental rules of having a sound head of curls is DO NOT TOUCH the ringlets unless you absolutely have to because they will lose all structure and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a hair-tastrophy of Diana Ross proportions.
Normally, having a total stranger pet my hair and call me “Claire” (name of deceased niece) would be out of my realm of comfort. But faced with my other options, Sweaty Guy – still throwing up and moaning loudly, or Flight Attendant – standing in our row asking Sweaty Guy to keep it down because the pilot has become distracted by the noise...well, I’ll hang with crazy any day.
Fourth & Final Leg: Las Vegas, NV to Kansas City, MO
Air Time: At this point, who’s counting?
As I board, yet another plane, I can see by the looks on the flight crew’s faces that I am a sight. I’m covered in vomit splatter, my linen pants are soaked where Sweaty’s arm rested on my leg and one side of my hair is now entirely frizzed out like a prize poodle.
This leg of my trip was fairly uneventful unless you take into account that my luggage was shipped to Hawaii instead of Missouri, I DID, in fact, start my period during take-off and Chad, my boyfriend, forgot to pick me up at the airport. When my taxi arrived at his house, all he said to me was, “What happened to you?”
We broke up three weeks later. At Taco Bell.
Check out Jen over at Sprite's Keeper. She posted about her fear of flying today too!!