Flying is always an interesting activity for me. Although I don’t relish hurtling through the air in a metal tube at several hundred miles an hour, and usually spend much of the flight mentally preparing myself for a fiery/watery/quick/prolonged death, and suffering the guilt of leaving my children mother-less so I can enjoy a weekend with my girlfriends, I still take some pleasure in the business of flying. Mainly, because there is a Cinnabon in the airport, but also, I enjoy seeing the other passengers, and wondering what they’re up to. Are they flying on business? Pleasure? Vacation? Students? Military? Blaine often accuses me of staring in public. I prefer the term “People-Watching”. It sounds much less nosy, don’t you think?
What my People-Watching led me to believe this weekend, however, is the realization that I am not very important. In fact, at first glance, it appeared everyone on the planet was more important than me. A few examples:
When I fly out of Atlanta, I park in the long-term parking and take a shuttle to the terminal. The shuttle browses around the parking lot picking people up, then makes the three-minute drive to the passenger drop-off area. For the entire drive on Thursday, we had to listen to a middle-aged man harangue his mother about how the ten dollars she would save by parking in long-term parking wasn’t worth the time he was wasting driving around in a shuttle. Which led me to believe, he must be very, very important, if he doesn’t have three minutes to waste. Maybe a Congressman, or a Senator, or even the guy who makes sure the Milk Duds are evenly covered with chocolate. Although judging from his Hawaiian shirt, ponytail, and sandals, I don’t think he was a high-powered businessman on his way to a Wall Street power meeting, so maybe the Milk Dud scenario was more likely, but still; He must have been very, very important, based on his comments.
Then I got to my gate, and started People-Watching the others around me. And realized all of them were more important than me, also. That girl over there was wearing her pajamas and slippers. She must be very, very important that she didn’t even have time to put on pants or real shoes that morning. And that couple over there, in the matching argyle (and did I mention fugly?) sweaters, they must be very important as well, or they wouldn’t be dressed like the Bobbsey twins with bad facelifts, refusing to move their expensive leather carry-ons so I could step around them.
And that guy over there must be extremely important, as well, judging by the excessive techno-paraphernalia he had going on. A cell phone, a pager, and what appeared to be a Blackberry on his belt, an ipod around his neck, one of those hands-free cell phone things in his ear, and his laptop open. He was talking and typing and texting at the same time. Just how accessible is necessary? Did he think Donald Trump might call for real estate advice, and he absolutely must be available? If his co-workers need that many ways of getting ahold of him, think how important he must be! Although, I’m not so sure he was on business trip, either, considering he was wearing a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and hadn’t seen the wet end of a comb or a razor in quite some time. There I sat --- lame, boring …. With a book. A BOOK, of all things! How unimportant can I be??
Obviously the grandma who cut in front of me in our boarding line must be very important. Perhaps she thought if she sat down before me, her section of the airplane might take off and land more quickly. And the lady sitting next to me, complaining about how she couldn’t find an outlet to plug in her laptop, so she was having to use up all her battery, she must be very important, too, to be unable to turn off her laptop for the few minutes we were waiting on the flight.
About then is when it really started to get to me. The people, and there were several, who felt it necessary to make cell phone calls while boarding the plane. To let whoever was on the other end know EXACTLY.TO.THE.VERY.MINUTE. what was happening with them.
“Yep, just fixing to board.”
“Yep, just standing here in the jetway.”
“Uh-huh, just got in my seat.”
“No, I’m still in Atlanta, but we’ll be leaving in a few minutes”
“OK, they’re making the announcement I’ve got to turn my phone off now.”
“OK, I’ll call you as soon as I get there.”
And it was just as bad on the other end of the flight, when we landed:
“Yeah, we’re here in Philly now.”
“Right, we just landed.”
“OK, we’re taxiing to the gate right now.”
“I am four rows back from the exit so I should be able to get off fairly quickly.”
“They’re getting ready to open the doors and I’ll be in baggage claim in five minutes”
And that’s when it hit me. These people aren’t important --- they’re simply full of themselves. Unless you are transporting a HEART, in an ICE COOLER, and there are ambulance people waiting to drive you to the hospital so that donor heart can be transplanted into a dying person ---- then NO ONE GIVES A SHIT THAT YOU’RE TAXIING TO THE GATE!!! None of the rest of the passengers on the plane want to hear your play-by-play of how the flight went! Wait ten minutes, for Pete’s sake, until you get into the terminal and then make your oh-so-important phone call out of range of my hearing, ok? Could you do that for me???
And while you’re at it, lose ninety percent of your electronic toys, and learn to stimulate your mind with a book. It’s called READING. Before hand held games and cell phones and laptops, it’s how people used to entertain themselves. Sounds boring, I know, but give it a try, you might just like it. Or maybe I should adopt a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy and take Kellen’s Game Boy the next time I travel, so people will think I’m important, too.
Actually, I AM important. Know how I know? Because I have friends I adore, who like me right back.
We can go months without seeing one another, although we try not to, and pick up right where we left off.
They don’t mind when I invite myself to their home to visit them, and are willing to drive to all over the East Coast with me so we can spend the weekend scrapbooking together.
They even humor my excitement when I see snow for the first time in six years.
Best of all? Best, best, bestest of all? They understand the need to stock up for a three hour drive as if we’ll never see junk food again. After all, the weathermen were predicting snow, and a lot of it. Heaven forbid we slide into a ditch or a snow bank and have to spend the weekend there. I would hate to resort to eating paper or trying to melt snow with an emergency flare, when Twizzlers, Flipz, and Whoppers are such better choices.
And by the way? We DID actually solve the rain forest issue. We also figured out a way to end world hunger (that didn’t involve Twizzlers), make alternative fuel affordable, and came up with a plan to save the endangered leatherback sea turtle. Sorry to say, the brain cells containing all this valuable information had a mysterious and unfortunate collision with :cough: amaretto :cough: and all data was lost. Suffice it to say, the sheer genius of our ideas will have to wait until the next time I get together with my girlfriends. Because you know if we can solve problems like that, we are just as important as those other people.
I think next time I fly, though, I’ll stay in my pajamas, to make it easier for the other passengers to understand how important I am, too.
PS. 95 percent of this journal entry is written in jest. Three percent of me really was annoyed with those obnoxious people on their cell phones in the airplane, and the remaining two percent was being eaten alive with a white-hot jealousy at all those other passengers and their laptops. I wouldn’t be forced to make fun of them if I had one myself, right? I have an anniversary coming up, and it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out what’s on top of my wish list.