The weather in Martina del Ray was predictably bright and sunny yesterday morning as The Daver and I blearily made our way downstairs to have breakfast before we had to leave for the airport. We mocked a couple of locals who were obviously cold and in boots and coats, because, well, we were going back to a place where it was a balmy 16 degrees.
Later, after spending some time in the airport where I hoped to spy even a C or D list celebrity (current tally of celebs seen in LA besides, of course, myself: 0) I squeezed myself into the window seat of the plane. I was slightly relieved to not be next to The Daver because it meant I could be quiet, and noted my seatmate was a 90 pound girl.
*phew* I sighed, as I settled in and strapped on my iPhone, as I happily envisioned a plane-ride where I didn’t have to fly with some mouth-breather all up on top of me.
My relief was short lived as my seatmate fell asleep and stretched her entire frame onto mine. Her legs snaked underneath my seat, her hands kneaded my side and she rested her head on my shoulder. Had I been a horny dude, I probably would have popped wood and smiled blissfully, but no, I was slightly annoyed.
I was kind of in shock that someone so small could manage to take up so much space.
As the plane ride drew to an end, I tried to enjoy my last hours as a free agent, albeit one with an external parasite, but inwardly I cheered as I recognized the lights of Chicago winking in the distance. My stomach flipped excited as the circling of the O’Hare airport began and I mentally checked off the places that we might have some dinner as I researched my column for the following day.
I live for take-off and landing.
As the plane began to descend, I realized this one was Just Bad. I’ve been flying regularly since I was 6 months old and I’ve been through 2-3 Bad Landings and this was setting off all kinds of warning bells. Why? I don’t know. I’m not a fearful flyer.
The plane was shaking wildly and I realized that the wings were covered were ice. They must have iced up when we switched climates and didn’t get de-iced properly. I don’t know. Either way, we were all shaking around like popcorn kernels in the cabin of the plane.
It was clear that something was Very Wrong.
The descent seemed to take forever, and finally, we approached the runway going way too fast. I waited for that comforting gnash of tires on the runway as the tires made contact and I braced myself against the seat in front of me.
It didn’t come.
Next thing I knew, we were going up, up, up again, the plane shaking and shuddering as once again we climbed back up to cruising altitude. The PA system was quiet and the passengers, most of us waiting to taking connecting flights which were now going to have been delayed until the following day, all had banded together the way people do in a crises.
Voices carried, people talked loudly, babies screamed, the skinny foreign chick slept on top of me, and the guy next to her and I looked at each other, scared.
But the PA was silent. Always a Bad Sign because it means it’s serious.
The plane circled and bounced and it was clear that the pilot wasn’t quite in control of the plane and I said a prayer, my thoughts of dinner and my column for SodaHead a distant and frivolous thought of the past. Eventually, the descent began again, and again, we shook and shuddered and afforded a lovely view of the wing, I saw yes, it was ice and the wing and yes, it was really probably serious.
I white-knuckled the hand-rests like that was somehow going to help me in the event that we crashed and tried to focus on anything but staring out the window.
Because really, if you’re gonna die, you might as well enjoy the ride down, right? On my list of Ways To Die: Plane Crash is on my list of ways that wouldn’t be so bad.
But I wanted to see my babies one last time, so I kept on praying and when we touched down, I cried a little.
We got stuck on the tarmac for quite awhile while the plane was de-iced and I swear to you, Chicago never looked so pretty or wonderful or good to me as it did last night, or this morning, or really, ever.
Today, I will count my blessings, count my angels on my shoulder, and know that it must not have been quite my time to go yet. Then I will go pour something in my coffee to quell the shaking and kiss my babies and cry a little bit.
The sun is shining very, very brightly today.