My sister used to live in Houston, Texas. 


Yes, that’s me in pink camouflage trying to escape from California.


My sister used to live in Houston, Texas.  There were times I could find a round trip ticket for under $200 and I was always able to find a direct flight.  That was before she retired and moved to LaLa Land, otherwise known as California.   Had I just finished basic training in a marine boot camp, the 3 flights with their 1 hour layovers might seem like just a stroll around the continental neighborhood.  But I’m 5’4 ½” tall, skinny, and don’t navigate in unfamiliar territory very well. 

When I travel, I carry a 17” computer with case (13 pounds).  My giant purse,  with some additional clothing enclosed, weighs the same as the computer case I’m schlepping.  If you’re as bad at math as I am, picture a 106 pound woman with a purse the size of a gym bag carrying 26 pounds while running to the next plane.   On second thought, just look at the picture above.

I have holes in my visual field and it takes time to fill those in.   When you walk through an airport, you have to zigzag between meandering people.  But when I walk through the airport, it should be called, “Bowling for passengers.”    That, and the fact I need 3 hours between planes to find the next gate, means that I have to ask for assistance.  Sometimes I have to have a wheelchair—when the migraines hit.  Most of the time, all I need is a brightly colored shirt to follow to the next gate.

Picture me in Atlanta, standing at the ticket desk just outside the gate in concourse D where I deplaned.  Picture me looking for the porter who was supposed to be waiting there to take me to the next plane on concourse A. 
Imagine my surprise when I’m told that people requesting “meet and assist” are considered low priority—which means if I wanted a wheelchair someone would have been there, but by the time someone comes to walk me to the next gate I’m going to be covered in spider webs.  

The gatekeeper had to call 3 times for assistance.  Finally, a guy meandered up only to be commandeered by the gatekeeper at the ticket counter across from my position.  To his credit, the man who had requested assistance for me 3 times intervened and said, “She’s been standing here for 30 minutes and her plane leaves in 20.  She has priority.”

My opinion about seats in commercial aircraft is this:  If you’re rich, there’s no problem.  If you’re poor, you get seats that can only be considered comfortable if you’re a deformed anorexic midget.  I have to say that the seats on the Delta airbus from Atlanta to Salt Lake City were quite comfortable, and there was plenty of legroom for a woman of average height.  It provided solace for the fact that because I arrived so late at the gate my seat had been reassigned to someone else and I was given a seat with a complete view of the plane’s giant wing.

Fortunately, I was able to follow an overworked supervisor in a lavender shirt from one end of the Salt Lake City airport to the other as he guided a woman in a wheelchair to a gate a few gates past mine.  That’s all I asked for, a steady pace and a bright shirt to follow.  At least 1 part of the trip went as planned.

What about the 3rd plane?  Even the pilot apologized for the fact it was an “older model.”  I swear there were some bullet holes on the side from the action it saw during WWII.   I think the gremlins are getting creative.  Instead of sitting on airplane wings taunting William Shatner, they’re keeping a low profile by removing the stuffing out of the seats and putting steel bars across the backrest in the worst possible place.   When you bend the seat back, it presses on your sacroiliac.  When you bend down to look out the tiny window, it presses against your sacroiliac.  If the gremlins weren’t responsible for the condition of the seats, I want to meet the insane genius capable of such detailed planning—with a noose in my hand.

I was contemplating how to endure the sadistic seats when I spotted the man who was about to sit next to me.   Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to slam down the arm rest before he completed his controlled crash.  He radiated his unhappiness at me for making his fat mold itself around the barrier I’d created, and I made plenty sure he had no chance to lift the arm rest for the 1 1/2 hour plane ride.   Once it was time to depart, he stormed out of his seat as if it would mean something to me.  It did.  It meant that the last leg of my trip was merely unpleasant instead of excruciating because some guy growing a smegma farm between the folds where his waist should have been had his ass planted on half my seat.   

I was up at 3:30am to get to the airport on time.   Nine hours after the first plane took off I arrived at my destination.  And guess what…no one was there to show me the exit.  What a not surprise.

I’ll be working on my book for almost 2 weeks, starting after I recuperate.