From The Daily Post…
Long before I made it out of elementary school, I rode a rinky dink kiddie roller coaster at a shady amusement park in North Myrtle Beach. My brother and I both rode it together actually. The coaster, which was a first for both of us, could not have been much longer than a 100-foot oval, and it had its share of ups and downs but we were determined to ride. So my parents shelled over the money (or tickets… it was a long time ago), and a sketchy ride operator latched us side-by-side onto the metal seat and then threw the lever to send us round and round.
And just like the song by Ratt, I did not find it a rockin’ experience. In fact, I was terrified and spent the entire time screaming at a level that would have banshees covering their ears. My brother, on the other hand, held up a solitary index finger every time we passed the ride operator — asking for one more lap.
My relationship with amusement park rides never really improved, although I actually had more luck with contraptions that seemed the least safe. I had no problems circling up to oxygen depriving heights on a ferris wheel or being slung around in circles tethered by just two chains on the swings, but if anything dropped me by more than a few feet, my stomach was like, “Everything. Must. Go. Right now.”
Fast forward to July 2004, when my 32-year-old self stepped onto an airplane for the first time. The Husband and I were flying to Chicago so I could go to the Pampered Chef National Convention. When I purchased the tickets, I made sure I got a nonstop flight. Since motion sickness is my destiny, I damn sure wasn’t going to go through it more than once in one morning.
Because the flight went directly from Greenville-Spartanburg to O’Hare, the plane had only 50 seats — 12 rows of 4 seats and a 13th half row with 2 seats next to the bathroom. On the online diagram, I chose seats closer to the middle. A couple of weeks before the flight while talking to my parents about the trip, I told them about my seat selection. Dad says, “Now, Carla, don’t stress yourself out worrying that the plane is going to crash.”
“I’m not worrying about that, Dad,” I said.
“Of course, if it does crash, they say you should…”
That father of mine… Ever the optimist.
On the morning of the flight, I skipped breakfast on purpose, not knowing how my digestive system would react to a rapid incline to several thousand feet. Mom drove us to the airport. We checked in, and even though I chose seats in the middle, something about us apparently screamed, “Let’s put this couple in the very back row.” Because that’s what they did. There we were in lucky row 13, right next to the lavatory. Awesome…
For those of you who have never flown and therefore don’t know what it’s like to experience the joy of riding in the back of a plane, let me tell you that there is no joy to experience. It’s pretty much like riding in the back of the school bus, every dip, wobble, and turn is magnified — so… yay!
But I didn’t know that before takeoff. We got settled in our seats. The Husband gave me the window seat. (Pause for “awwww”s) And then, upon seeing there were no barf bags tucked into the seats in front of us, he asked our flight attendant where the motion sickness bags were.
A blend of perfume, aftershave, and hair products greeted me as the air generated from 48 other heads whipping around made its way to the back of the plane. If I were able to hear others’ thoughts, I’m sure the “Oh shit, we’ve got a puker on the plane!” would have been deafening.
The flight attendant reached into the overhead compartment and handed us two barf bags, and The Husband said, “I mean, she’s never flown, so I wanted to get one just in case.” Our flight attendant gave us a smile that said, “Sure, I’m just gonna go up to the front of the plane and avoid this row until at least halfway through the flight.”
I definitely don’t begrudge The Husband for having the forethought to get the bags before takeoff. It’s just that no one really wants to be one of THOSE PEOPLE — the parent with screaming kids, the self-centered asshole, the person with motion sickness. No one wants to be the person who makes fellow travelers get off the plane and tell their friends later, “You would not BELIEVE the person on the plane with me today/this week/last month/this one time.” That’s just not the impression one wants to leave.
Thankfully, despite being in the last row and experiencing every bump with extra feeling, I never even reached for the barf bag.
But two months later, a quirky, little show called Lost premiered, and as we watched the crash scene, I looked at The Husband and said, “You better be glad we’ve already gone to Chicago, because I would be in the office right now canceling our reservations.”