Travel is my passion, my hobby and my greatest joy. Planes, trains, cars, boats, feet; give me a destination and I will attempt to get there, somewhere within a day or so of the actual itinerary. Some of my favorite places are quite challenging to visit, like my not-very-well-known favorite Caribbean island (which I won’t name because frankly I don’t want people to find out about it!) that takes an overnight in Miami, two planes, a van ride, two very slow moving immigration and customs stops, a ferry and final taxi. It can be accomplished in about 13 to 14 travel hours, if everything goes according to plan (which it hasn’t yet in five visits, but I am forever optimistic).
With travel you need to be flexible, accommodating and forgiving. I have had luggage lost for three days with nothing but my travel outfit and a swimsuit (no problem!). I have missed overseas connections through no fault of my own, I have stayed in many cities accidently because of flight issues, I have been in cars where certain drivers who shall remain nameless run out of gas in very inconvenient places like the middle of Kansas (my husband) or the top of Pikes Peak (my dad). I have been soaked by a rogue wave over a ferry deck and spent the day traveling in damp clothes, experienced food poisoning in Italy, flu in Jamaica and the worst cold EVER on a Napa wine tasting trip.
This week I read of a Southwest Airlines passenger who went berserk because her seatmate was asleep and snoring, loudly. Evidently, she started repeatedly jabbing him with a ballpoint pen. The stabee screamed like a girl and demanded said pen wielder be removed from the plane. All of this resulted in a return to the gate, an armed police escort off the plane for Bic Babe and a two hour delay for everyone else. No charges were filed.
Seriously? My flying experiences include sitting next to a person who reeked of garlic, bad hygiene and who knows what else; a woman who thought it was a good idea to polish her fingernails in the enclosed space, a woman scantily clad in a tank top and shorts, who was so large her clammy skin was seersuckered to mine the whole flight; a man who continually itched (giving him the benefit of the doubt) his personal arena; not to mention screaming babies, seat kickers and constant talkers, including my personal favorite Chatty Cathy who complained that when she visited Argentina, no one spoke English! I would be pleased to sit next to a sleeper, even if he snores. That is one of the many reasons God invented noise-cancelling headphones.
Let’s try some common sense and civility, people! First, I cannot emphasize enough, invest in noise-cancelling headphones! Put these on, close your eyes or involve yourself in a book; everyone will leave you alone. Ignore the snoring (like I have done every night for 30 years!). You could gently tap the person and explain their snoring is bothering you, but people being so precarious (see story above) I would not recommend it. Irritating passengers make great stories. Hubs and I still giggle about the teenager and her mother who spent a five hour flight applying excessive amounts of make-up while simultaneously backcombing and teasing their own hair and each others before touchdown in St. Maarten, in a monsoon, with pelting horizontal rain, outside stairs to deplane, and a jammed, damp and muggy shuttle bus to the terminal… They looked gorgeous!
I think I should become a marriage counselor and offer a pre-marital boot camp. I would design an arduous week-long trip, full of many possibilities for missed connections, awful fellow passengers, upsets, changes and curve balls. We would see how the lovebirds performed handling life’s little mini crises, and then assess compatibility.
This story reminds me of my strong desire to be an advice columnist. I would answer 99% of the letters with “Just wait until you have REAL problems.”