Wow, I had an amazing time in
For those who might be unaware or new to this blog, I have never flown prior to June 11th 2008. I have always been afraid to fly ever since a doctor told me that I could lose the rest of my hearing and obviously this a moot point now. What was stopping me? A little thing called spiraling out of control, crashing and burning was stopping me. I consider myself extra special precious cargo and my life and every single second of it are invaluable. The unfathomable idea of ascending 40,000 feet in the air coupled with the fact that I am still a mortal being, a bionic mortal being, but a mortal being nevertheless did not bode well for my central nervous system. I was so anxious that I had to have my wonderful friend, Alex who is a Southwest employee talk me through every single step of the entire purchase process. After two hours of whining, I finally clicked the purchase button but not before an ounce of sweat oozed from my body. In alcoholic terms, this might have not been a bad thing but there was nothing potable about sweat unless you are a vegetarian.
Every time that someone even talked to me about getting on that plane, my palms would start sweating and my breathing would become labored. It wasn’t pretty. There isn’t many things that can send me into a full-blown panic attack but flying was one of them. I managed to keep myself busy to avoid actually thinking about it. I had everything planned out. I had maps. I had boarding passes. I had the security protocols. I had carry-on and checked baggage requirements. I was fully prepared for anything or so I thought.
I went to work on Tuesday and I left a couple of hours early because I had to leave my house at 2:30 am to make my 5:30am plane out of
It was 2:30 in the morning and I gave my mom and my dog a hug like it was the last time I was ever going to hug them. Perhaps I was a bit melodramatic but I was having a hell of a time suppressing this horrible sinking feeling that something was going to go wrong. Regardless I trekked on with the ultimatum because if I can get a cochlear implant, I can get on a damn plane to go to this HLAA convention because this is something that I needed to do for my own personal enrichment. Since I wasn’t going to cancel, I did the next best thing, I cried the whole way to the airport.
I cried just about the whole way, an hour and a half to the airport, tears streaming down my cheek effortlessly and my nose producing plenty of olfactory lubrication. I realized what I forgot to pack ─ Kleenex.
Once I pulled myself into the economy parking lot, I told myself I could do this, just get out of the damn car and do this. After all the chances of being in a car crash on the way to the airport is much greater than an airplane crashing. Did you all know that? I knew it and I did not give a rat’s ass.
I whimpered as I got out and grabbed my luggage. I turned around in circles viewing the 6,000 some odd parking spaces for the shuttle. I saw something in the distance that looked like a bus stop. I ominously walked towards it. Once in the airport, I had no time to dwell on the morbid images freely flowing though my noggin. I had to check in my luggage, get the boarding pass, go through security, Purelled the bottom of my feet and find the gate. Note to self: wear socks next time.
They started to call people by rows but I could not hear the lovely agent of Continental Airlines because she felt the need to hide behind a wall and while she spewed out the numbers. This did not bode well for the deaf one here. So I found myself frantically glancing people's tickets to see if their row matched my row. Lucky be a lady and as it just so happened, a woman next to me had the same row. I followed her when she got up, presented my first official boarding pass to the agent and motioned me towards a dank cavern. I walked cautiously down the hall clearly showing my inexperience with rolling luggage...
I found my seat and I stuffed my 10 pairs of shoes in the overhead. I looked out the window and gasped at the sheer size of the wing. I started to get antsy because I wanted to get this show in the sky. They played a video that revealed all the important stuff like where the oxygen mask and life preservers were housed. How nice of them to caption it on a monitor the size of a CD case. I could hardly see the captioning!
We started moving and so did my blood pressure. I began to perform my self-taught by television Lamaze breathing techniques at this point. The jet roared its engines and sped down the runway and all of the sudden, there was no road noise. This was not so bad. My golly, we were flying! Land ahoy!
Five minutes later, I heard chimes and then the pilot made an announcement over the speakerphone. Mind you, I did not catch the entire announcement but I have all of you know that us deaf people are pretty damn good at piecing together the context of a sentence if words are missing. I am going to poll you people and let us see what you get when you hear just these words.
sorry - plane - mechanical problems - Philly - 15 minutes
I'll even give you a couple minutes to mull it over... If you guessed that there was a mechanical problem with the plane and we must had to back to Philly and ETA is 15 minutes, my god my good people, you are absolutely correct! I can’t make this stuff up.
But wait, it gets better! I am counting every single second to avoid hyperventilating; I noticed the pilot was just circling over the
cannot - land - plane - divert - accommodate -
Alrighty then, the pilot could not land the plane in
If I was pregnant, I think I would have gone into labor right then and there. I was freaking out. I hide it well but I was on the verge of tears but I had none left after the hour and half long crying episode on the way to the airport. This was the beginning of a nightmare. I had a strange thought in my head: maybe I misunderstood the pilot. I’ve been known to misunderstand people especially over speakerphones. I decided to ask the cowboy with the alligator cowboy hat and a beer belly the size of
“Ma’am is this your first flight?” He asked.
“Yep.” I said through a deep breath.
He starts to laugh revealing his tobacco-stained teeth. I don’t think he wasn’t in a hurry to tend to the cattle back home in
Once we got to
The plane was ready and I was in no particular hurry to get back on the plane. I was one of the last one to board and once I sat down, I buckled my seatbelt and we take off ─ again! I kept peering out my window that was fit for a dollhouse trying to recall the rate of acceleration of a falling object just in case something went wrong, I wanted to have ample time to say my prayers. My eyes must have refueled themselves because every time I looked out my window I would start to cry. I think if a good healthy dose of Xanax were offered to me, I would have snatched it up by the bottle. Actually, any bottle would have been good.
I cannot make this stuff up. I board the plane and I had the unfortunate experience of sitting next to two individuals that reeked of rice vinegar. When I finally got to
I discovered quickly how
I had to go through the whole security scan again with taking my shoes off. I am a little anal about where I put my feet. I ran to the nearest bathroom and doused my feet and its ten pigs with Purell. While I was in there, I decided to wash my face and pretty myself up for
I was clearly wrong. We got on board and I didn’t even take a look at the plane as I was walking up the steps. I took a seat to the window and took a look to my right and I saw PROPELLERS! Big ol' black honking PROPELLERS! I was on a friggen PROPELLER PLANE.
My nerves were officially shot at this point. To make matters worse, the pilot was an honorary a tour guide. All I heard him say that this was a beautiful scenic route and I flipped my CI off. I was not the least bit interested in him selling me snow peaked mountains and rugged terrain that we could just spiral down into and no one would know how to find us. How I managed NOT to have a panic attack, one will never know. After him flying over the
Finally, I arrived in
Later on that evening, I met a guy from