My district manager sent me an email that said,
"Bring only a carry on bag. There is a strike at
one of the airports and we don't want anyone
to have to pick up their luggage."
Of course, I was late for my flight.
Once there, I realized the little plane was
already full of passengers and I was the last one.
Having never flown before, I was uncertain
of the procedures, the routines, the rules
and regulations. I was scared and sad and
not wanting to leave my husband and kids
for a week.
They said I could not take my "carry on".
It was too big. I argued with them. They
insisted it was too big. I tried to tell them
that damn it, my district manager sent me
an email and said I had to take my bag on
the plane...I had to!
They brought out the machine that
was supposed to show me that my bag
was, in fact, too big. I cried and snapped,
"Take the damn bag, take it, take it...
if I can't get it at the airport, I will just
attend all the manager meetings in the
clothes I have on!"
The girl in the security room asked me
to put my bag on the conveyer.
I broke down. "Bag? What bag?
I don't have a bag! Your people took
my bag because they said it was too
big! Even though my district manager
sent me an e-..." "Your purse."
I could see my husband through
the glass, through my tears of fear
and frustration. He looked sad and
helpless. They ushered me through the
gate and onto the plane.
I had made it.
I flew on the first plane unscathed.
I easily and quickly retreived
my "carry on" even though the airport
was on strike. I tearfully explained
to my district manager the predicament
I had put myself in and she laughed.
During the rest of the manager meetings,
she was known to ask if anyone had seen me,
was I in some state of flux, crying in the corner
somewhere? I took it as a sign that she
(in which, we fly home)
I get on the plane, confident and unconcerned.
I am a seasoned flier now. I am early and
prepared. I stop at my row. I check my
There is a man sitting in my seat.
There is a man sitting in my seat
who is pointedly ignoring me.
I continue to stand, looking up at row numbers,
looking down at my ticket, up at row numbers,
down at my ticket.
A woman in the next row tries to help me out.
The man sitting in my seat finally looks over
and asks if I would mind switching my seat for his
because his legs are longer than mine
and my seat was next to the door.
The stewardess comes along and goes
through all of the rules and expectations
that come along with the responsibility
of sitting by the door.
The man reads a magazine during this.
When the stewardess walks away, I turn
to the man and say, "Do you make a habit
"Of what?" He is obviously confused.
"When someone is giving you pertinent
information that involves everyone on this
airplane, you choose to ignore it, and read
He looks a little surprised. And sheepish.
He assures me that he knows how to open
the door, that he has flown before. He
thinks that I do not believe him so he
repeats all of what the stewardess has
just told me and I know that he is right,
because I had taken notes, as she was talking.
I calm down.
And realize that I have swallowed
the gum that was supposed to stop my
ears from hurting.
I want to go home.