Well, I made it.
The plane trip West wasn’t nearly as awful as I imagined — I didn’t have a harrowing journey, suffer mechanical difficulties, wasn’t left on the runway, didn’t lose my luggage or my mind (well, not yet).
In fact, I relished the time alone and secretly cheered that I didn’t have any Internet for 6 hours.
Although by the end, the cramped quarters were getting pretty old.
Our in-flight movie — the name of which now escapes me — didn’t sound so great when the flight attendant announced it at the beginning of the trip, but by the end, well, I would have welcomed it rather than the NBC sitcoms they showed a second time.
And the two kids sitting next to me — 3 years and 9 months — were very well-behaved, especially having traveled for two days from FInland back to California where they live, but I’d had it after several hours of the toddler’s tiny sock-clad feet kicking my thigh as she slept next to me.
And I don’t know what was with the couple to my left. He had the window seat and was up and down like a Jack in the Box the whole trip, which meant his wife, sitting on the aisle, was, too. I had to stifle the urge to suggest they switch seats for heaven’s sake. That poor woman stood like a sentinel waiting for his return for most of the ride. They also had an issue with the headphones for the TV and got the crew to give them portable DVD players and matching headphones, and then gave the crew a hard time about returning them when we were getting ready to land.
There was other fun people-watching, too. Like checking out the food people brought on board. Sandwiches from home were most people’s first choice, followed by Subway. (One woman’s sandwich slipped out of her bag and slid two rows south. She had to scour the floor beneath people’s feet and ask fellow passengers to help her find it.) I also saw one bag from McDonald’s and had to resist the temptation to ask for some fries.
And I loved to see what people did to pass the time — several were asleep before we left the runway; others had books, magazines or e-readers. Several were clearly in-flight veterans and wore earplugs. One fellow next to me watched a movie on his iPhone and then spent time later in the flight updating his BlackBerry contacts. The guy behind me worked on a Power Point presentation, while the young couple in front of me spent most of the flight craning their necks to see what others were up to.
The flimsy American Airlines-branded curtains prevented me from seeing how the other half flies, but I did note on the way out that they got cushy pillows and blankets — a far cry from the slips of fabric they gave us.
I’ve been hard at work since my arrival, and while it’s good to have a project in which to immerse myself, I’m having a hard time adjusting — to the time change, the change in routine and to being away from Basil and Catherine.
The feeling is mutual.
I think the three of us are learning to appreciate each other this week.
Catherine says she misses me and hated having to get herself ready for school with no one home to talk to.
Basil spent 20 minutes trying to change the sheets on our bed (how much do you want to bet that NONE OF IT is tucked in?) and put the recycling out on the wrong day.
He claims most of the stuff on the grocery list couldn’t be found in the store, but I’m sure if I’d put beer on the list, he’d have found THAT.
Catherine and I had a brief adventure in Skyping, where I caught up with what’s been happening with her. And as much as I know she misses me, I had to laugh that she spent a good chunk of our conversation making faces at herself in the computer monitor!
Just a couple more days and I’ll be headed back home. I’m told the jet-lag will kick my butt, and I know I’ll be walking into a land mine of laundry, unopened mail, unfinished tasks and undone chores, while figuring out how to dive back into reality.
Still, I know it’ll be good to be home again.