the road warrior

So I wrote a blog for my friend, Amberr Meadows not too long ago.  She writes a cool travel blog, Like a Bump on a Blog, and asked me to come up with a “travel” story.  Never one to back away from a challenge…of course, I wrote one.  How could I not?  It was a chance to share my adventures with a whole new bunch of readers.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to share it with my regular readers too.  Especially those of you who aren’t social media junkies like me…those of you who may not have stumbled upon the blog accidentally…those of you who would probably like to know why I don’t fly anymore…

Oh, sure…I adore travel.  I love to jump into the car, top down…destination unknown…with nothing but a bag stuffed with clothes, and a compass.  I’m reckless like that.  I hit the open road like a dog with my tongue hanging out, delighting in the way the wind whips my hair around my face, stabbing me in the eyes and blocking my view of the path ahead. 

Reckless…bold…fearless.  As long as my feet are planted firmly on the ground.

My sister called me today to do a little bragging.  It’s a long story, but the short version is this…my sister booked a trip for her and her husband to travel to the Bahamas.  Fun, right?  Well, she didn’t realize the online trip company didn’t do the boarding passes, and by the time she discovered the problem, she realized she would be seated on the opposite end of the plane from her husband on a multi-hour flight.  She wasn’t a happy camper…but she didn’t want to spoil a perfectly good vacation over a seat assignment.  Then she talked to me.  I told her I would have found a way to get seats together.  She knew I was right. 

I have a way with words. <Shrug>  

So today she decides to call and have a talk with them.  She was going to lie…and admittedly, as bad as lying is, the lie would have been too funny.  She was going to tell the airline that her husband has Tourette’s syndrome.  Now, before you get upset, I’m not making fun of anyone who actually has Tourette’s.  I promise.  But my sister was stabbing in the dark for something that would make the airline want her husband seated next to her, and no one else. 

She didn’t lie.  She’s a bad liar.  But ironically, she remembered that she actually DOES have an anxiety disorder (complete with prescribed medication and all) so she didn’t have to lie at all.  At first mention of “anxiety disorder”, a bell went off somewhere at the airline <dingdingding> and my sister had her adjoining seats.  She laughed when she told me like I didn’t already know this would happen. But, oh yes…I knew this very well from my last time on an airplane. 

Airlines do not like people with anxiety disorders…

I was traveling from Atlanta to Las Vegas in 1998…the last time I traveled by air…and I was explaining to the gate agent (as calmly as I possibly could) that I would like to sit in an aisle seat over the wing on the left side of the aircraft.  If the fuselage ripped open, an aisle seat was further away from the gaping hole and I might not to be sucked out of the airplane.  I also needed to sit near the wing in the event the plane caught fire so I would have some possible route of escape.  The best side was, of course, the left side due to the positioning of emergency avenues.  I also told them I had specifically requested to fly on a 767 due to the lengthy glide ratio in the event both engines went out.  A 767 could glide far longer and quite possibly land safely on the ground before crashing and burning.  Someone had changed the equipment for my flight without telling me, and we were booked on a 737.  A 737 does not have a long glide ratio. 

I made them very aware that was not happy, and could they please change back before takeoff?

As usual, I appeared to have consumed several pots of coffee and my cheeks were stained with tears and mascara after bidding my children a tearful goodbye at the gate in the event I would never see them again. 

They put me in first class.  Gratis.  And made sure I had lots and lots of liquor during my four hour flight. 

I don’t fly anymore.  Not because of fear…although that is a big part of it.  I don’t fly because they tend to get me drunk, and I’m not a big drinker. 

I’ll stick to that open road…just no steep inclines or sharp drop-offs please.

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on September 27, 2011 .