Today I would like to tell you about my worst flying experience ever.
All of the anxieties you feel about being projecting up into the sky in a small stuffy airbus coupled with who you might have to end up sitting beside for these glorious hours of flying pleasure can leave you with trembling fingers while gripping your pre-flight cocktail. Up until this point in my early twenty-something life it had never occured to me how I could possibly be annoyed by who my seat partner shall be. At that point in my life I was filled with wonder about how much should I share with this possible new best friend? I always got the clues when a person did not want to talk, but if they were half as chatty as me it would be a fun filled ride of the typical get to know you questions. What kind of work do you do? How many grandkids do you have? Have you ever met any celebrities? This was the flight that changed everything.
After boarding the flight and making sure that carry-ons were stowed in their proper place I found my seat in a completely empty row, which is always a relief. Shortly thereafter I noticed a scraggly haired woman coming toward my row narrowing her eyes on the small overhead lettering informing her of seats A,B,C, and D. That was the first problem she was incapable of comprehending the easy diagram showing seat A was the aisle seat and D was beside the window. After slowly, clearly, and loudly explaining I was in proper position with a witness from the next aisle over she took her seat apologizing profusely. Great, a nitwit I'm thinking and smile politely.
As we prepared to taxi the runway and prepare our plane for takeoff it became even more clear this lady needed special help from the stewards to inform her that she must turn off electronic equipment and buckle safety belt. I mean we're 45 minutes into the whole process and this lady is like 4 and 0! After leaving Newark and shooting off into the sky I realize that she had also had too much coffee or was coming down off some strong meds due to the tremor shakes (we'll call her Bonnie) was exhibiting. At this point our attempts at polite neighborly conversation are consumed by her bragging about how her son is a professional skateboarder and here is a magazine, she insists that I take a look at his picture because shes sure I know him. He's famous and rich she exclaims wildly! This is cool for about twenty seconds till I finally make genuine eye contact with this woman and realize her pupils are almost consuming her entire eye area. Geesch I thought this lady is really high on something! At the moment I have this epiphany she somehow intuits what I am thinking. Maybe I accidentally looked sadly at her or maybe she is looking for some kind of confidant. Both must have been true because at that moment she decides it is time to come clean about the real reason she is on the plane headed south. Her family has sent her away to seek treatment for her addiction problem to heroine which she developed while taking care of her mother in Philadelphia. She explains how her mother was dying of cancer and at first she was dipping into her own mothers pain meds to get some sleep or much needed solace. The next thing you know shes down street pawning her mothers heirloom necklace to give Bobby-Jo down the street $50 for a one night high. She cried and admitted she was so ashamed and really wanted help. Whoa! Tragic! All I could think was, "Wow, Note to self: what a slippery slope pain meds are!" So I told her how I was glad she was choosing her family and their love over the chemical addiction and at this point you know me, I was also telling her how she couldn't do it alone and that God would help her do anything. She hugged me and now at this point in our new relationship she wants to share her favorite music with me that helped her already be able to overcome. You know what this lady's favorite band was? Firefall! Really? "You are the woman that I've always dreamed of? Hahaaaaa! I guess we can all dream because this lady was more of the nightmare variety. Unfortunately this story does not even end here.
Next thing you know she goes to the bathroom and the entire plane fills with cigarette smoke! Yeah, she did. When she finally returns to her seat the attendants are in a mad dash for our row to question her and inform her that authorities will be waiting to arrest her as soon as we arrive. As she claims with cigarette breath that she has no idea what they are talking about and they need to stop harassing her! As the plane lands she whispers in my ear that she was afraid she wouldn't get to have another cigarette once she gets on the ground because someone was already waiting on her there to whisk her off to rehab sobriety. Funny enough when we land this lady was the first bitch off the plane and I don't think they caught up with her. Wherever you are Bonnie, I hope your doing well!