Metal Tubes in the Sky

The thing about your entire family living far away is that it means you get to go on a lot of vacations and you don’t have to pay for lodging when you do. Consequently, I have been flying since before I can remember (which, incidentally, coincides with the pre-9/11 glory days). Oddly enough, I don’t actually have a lot of feelings about flying. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the only things I actually give a flying fart about are things that are not normal to care so much about, and things I should care about have little to no effect on me. Anyway, I thought I’d share some thoughts from my in-flight experiences in preparation for a busy summer and a school year abroad.

As I said, I’ve been flying for a while now. The thing about flying is that it makes me weirdly poetic. Not the entire trip; I am my normal, impatient self in airports. But for some reason, the second you toss me several thousand feet into the air I turn into Emily freakin Dickinson (minus the dashes and gayness). It’s probably because I find the view out of plane windows so enchanting, but I also think it might have something to do with the effects of gravity and air density on creativity. Anyway, hardly a trip goes by that I don’t churn out a few lines of prose, or a haiku at the very least. It’s not good, but it gives me something to do until the flight attendants tell me to put my computer away.

There once was a cloud in the sky, that wanted a big slice of pie….?

This was never a problem for me since I was really good at hiding my headphones and ipod when we weren’t allowed to have any electronics during takeoff and landing, and now they don’t care so it doesn’t matter. However, there was one occasion where I did, in fact, suffer without my laptop, and that was on my second trip back from Germany after my phone had drowned when I jumped into the Kiel Canal to save a drowning child.

Okay, fine, I was pushed in as a joke.

Okay, fine, I lost my footing and fell in.


You sick son of a bitch.


My phone was dead and I couldn’t use it to listen to music and shut out anyone next to me who might be impertinent enough to try to engage with me in conversation. So for the majority of the flight I watched movies or listened to music via my laptop, but when we began to descend into the Detroit airport I was SOL. I tried pretending I was sleeping, but then a flight attendant woke me up and made me put my computer away. The nerve. It actually turned out to be okay though because the guy next to me was fun to talk to, plus he gave me some Swedish chocolate. It was pretty much the only time I ever spoke to someone next to me, and I intend to leave it that way. I have such a good record going, why risk breaking it?

The unfortunate thing about flying, however, is that some people do not care how much you want to not be aware of them. Sometimes they’re little gremlins who shriek and yell at their parents sitting right next to them. Sometimes they’re grown ass men who spend the entire flight kicking the back of your seat. I was once on a plane with a little girl who thought it was necessary to loudly point out everything she saw out of the window. Every. Last. Thing. And it was at night, too, so it’s not like there was a whole lot to see, but that did not stop her. “Look Daddy, glows!” They’re called streetlights, ya dumbass, and if you open your mouth one more time I’m throwing you off this plane.

Speaking of throwing, this last flight I was on, I was drinking a club soda and I dropped it on the floor in front of me. Well, not exactly “dropped.” More precisely, I grabbed that son of a bitch and spiked it like I just scored a winning touchdown at the Superbowl. And it was an accident. There wasn’t even turbulence (which, for the record, I love– it’s like getting a bonus amusement park ride with the price of your ticket).

This August, I’ll be embarking in my first international flight in four years. It’ll be a fun reminder of what it’s like to be in a metal tube suspended in the air with strangers for several straight hours, as well as the strange thrill that comes with peeing in almost-outer space. I’m actually not dreading it as much as the average human.

Anyway, in case you missed it, I’m studying abroad in Iceland for the 2017-18 academic year on a scholarship. As the summer draws to a close, I will be shifting my blog to its very own URL and my writing to more travel-oriented topics. It will be readily accessible on Twitter (@NotRachelS) and Facebook so you won’t have to miss a thing, since I know my blogs must be the highlight of your day.

And don’t worry, the sass isn’t going anywhere.

Except Iceland.



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