The London Chronicles: Air Traffic Control

There is an art, or rather a knack to flying.  The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
~Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Our flights were uneventful and our luggage didn’t go missing (which was a major stress point, as J. had packed literally everything he owned into those two suitcases and one of mine).  But, as is so often the case, people were the main problem.

We flew from Washington D.C. to Iceland, Iceland to the UK.  The first leg of the journey was fine, the second was stressful on account of a passenger seated behind us who talked – nay, shouted at the top of her lungs from Reykjavik to London.  She is a grad student going to study in the UK, even though her research is on American military provisioning, for the next two years.  She’s 32, from Boston, former Navy, and divorced.  Really, if the flight had lasted to Hamburg I’m sure I would have learned her medical history and social security number too.  People all around her cast pleading eyes upon the stewardesses with meaningful glances in this banshee’s direction, but to no avail.  She wouldn’t shut up for love or money so I clutched my seat arms and tried to drown her out with my iPod, as I was frankly too tired and feeling too stressed about all the things we needed to do once we touched down to turn around and tie her tongue into knots.  So we sat there.  And listened to her defend her dissertation to total strangers all the way across the North Atlantic.

Unfortunately, her whole clan must be airborne this week because flying back (alone and miserable) another woman I can only assume is a relation was seated behind me on the flight home from Chicago.  This time I was treated to a expletive laden account of her recent life and troubles and her vivid hatred for the final destination, which therefore merited an explanation as to why she was going in the first place.

Ergo, I didn’t get much sleep on the trips and arrived both in London and at home looking pretty haggard.  I’ve written before of my hatred for That Woman On Every Plane who shows up at the airport looking stylish, comfortable and impeccably dressed, and the disembarks in the same pristine condition.  Well, I am not That Woman.  I am the girl who, no matter how many vitamins she pops, how often she hydrates, or how much moisturizer she slathers on, arrives looking like a plague victim.  You’d think a lifetime of travel would have helped, but it doesn’t.

In the case of the return journey, this situation was further deteriorated by sniveling and crying halfway to Chicago (on account of having walked away from my, you know, husband at Heathrow airport and leaving him alone in a foreign country).  Circumstances were not helped by the fact that I was self-medicating heavily with Cadbury chocolate for all of my meals.

Next time, the hunt for a home!

7 thoughts on “The London Chronicles: Air Traffic Control”

  1. I think your flightmate is related to my roommate.

    THE SECRET TO STEPPING OFF A PLANE LOOKING FABULOUS: Do laps around the aisles and stretches/lunges in the crossways. On long flights, fully remove your makeup midflight and do your entire evening beauty routine; shortly before landing, reapply. Bring eyedrops. Wear something that does not wrinkle yet looks polished (leggings, a long sweater/tunic, and a belt can do this). Wear your hair up. And bring a change of shoes so you can sprint for your connections between flights in running shoes, but deplane at your destination in fabulous heels.

    Try it next time…it’s foolproof! 😉

      1. Even the laps and lunges? I thought that was probably the SECRET-secret, because everyone looks at me like I’m insane when I start powerwalking around planes. Hmm. In that case, maybe I’m just one of the people you hate…

  2. I simply don’t have the energy for Scarlett’s routine so I guess I’ll be puffy-eyed and un-impeccable forever!

    Loud must be somehow related to Chicago. Our flight from Munich to Chicago last week, we had the Fred & Ethel show behind us. Midwestern couple, aged between 60-75. Before boarding, she was loudly complaining about how stupid she was for losing her bag with all her purchased gifts and camera. She was very loudly expressing her feelings and her hubby kept reminding her she was in a public place. Lucky for us! They’re seated behind us and the whole trip, she’d say something and he’d yell “WHAT!?” because he had his Bose headphones on. This for 9 hours! “WHAT?!” became our joke for the rest of our travel home. They were newbies to flying and everything was a mystery for them, and a loud commentary about whatever it was they were trying to do or see. Another thing she’d do was push the seat back with her finger while trying to change channels or make video selections, so much so my husband’s head would bounce. Another passenger saw this and would grin sympathetically at my hubby periodically.

    It’s funny now but once he yelled “WHAT!?” so loud, my heart palpitated & i actually jumped in my seat.

    I’m sorry you had a tough trip and are having a tough time with all this. Very excited for you tho, when you finally get over there!

    1. You and me both, sistah. Fred and Ethel sound a-mazing! I like to think that they have two loud daughters whose acquaintance I made this past week.

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