Flying Free

American Airlines has direct flights to and from New York and Tokyo. This is uber convenient. However, it does make for a long flight—approximately 14 hours to Tokyo and eleven and half to New York. On flights this long people usually find the need to pee, stretch at times even stand. I am no exception.

At hour four of my flight, after Ocean’s Twelve and snacking on a small pouch of party mix provided by American, my lower back screamed at me and demanded I get up. When my lower back is unhappy everyone is unhappy, so I did as commanded and made my way to the lavatory. Soon after I arrived at the vacant little room an elderly, Japanese woman walked over. As I didn’t really need to empty my bladder I gestured to her that she could cut in front of me. Now, the Japanese are exceedingly polite and she would not hear of going in ahead of me. After several minutes of ridiculous miming I finally communicated to her that I didn’t really have to go. It was awesome to finally put those movement-acting classes to work—6 years later. While she used the facilities I decided to go for a stroll. 15 paces later I had made my way to the other bathroom at the front of coach. I dared not cross the curtain threshold into business class—the Wizard might get angry.

At this bathroom I met a post middle-aged, Jewish couple. No they did not tell me their age, or their ethnicity or their religious beliefs. But I am not deaf, blind or dumb. We were joined by a shlubby, 42ish year-old dude. After five minutes of conversation I learned that none of us planned on going to the bathroom. Very shortly after this realization a woman sitting in the bulkhead seat near where we stood informed us that she was trying to sleep and reminded us that FAA regulations prohibit congregating on the plane. Then she put her head phones back on and continued watching Meet the Fockers. Like good New Yorkers we turned our backs on her continued chatting. We were barely able to finish the thought “the holidays are late this year” when a stewardess (pardon me--flight attendant) asked us if we were waiting for the bathroom. Like schmucks we said, “No.” She then reiterated the no congregating rule and told us take our seats. Then she proceeded to walk back to the couple sitting in row 34 to continue her conversation with them.

I am so glad that the terrorists haven’t won. That we Americans enjoy the same freedoms we always have. I also love that we all enjoy the same rights equally.

Definitely, four, physically, pathetic human specimens are a threat to the aircraft. We obviously are speaking in code and at any moment are going to take out tweezers and bum rush the cockpit. Thank goodness the flight attendant was on her toes and broke up our conspiracy ring. I can’t believe we were thwarted like that. Who would have thought that our standing and conversing with fellow humans would draw attention.

I am also confused by what exactly we did wrong. Are we allowed to talk as long as we are sitting? Or we are allowed to talk as long it is to a flight attendant who maybe a double agent? Or is that we told the truth about what our activities—you know stretching and chatting--unlike that bitch in the bulkhead who was never going to sleep.

People, all I know are these 4 or 5 things: humans are social creatures; Americans are in lousy shape; freedom doesn’t mean not allowed to talk to consenting adults; that girl in the bulkhead is a lemming and a liar, and my lower back is really pissed off at the FAA and the “I was just following orders” flight attendants at American Airlines.


Dashiell said…
Don't they have some kind of lounging area (even for the plebs) on those long overnight flights? Are you really expected to stay seated for 14 hours?
rachael parenta said…
you are allowed to get up and go to the bathroom, but the days of my youth when people would stand and chat at the rear of the plane with a cup of coffee are over.