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  • Writer's pictureRyder Lyne

2023-05-19 whats so special about special

In one day, Mike and I had accrued over 7000 steps traipsing through two international airports, at last settling into our seats for the second and final leg of our journey home from Europe. I almost wrote “cocooned in our seats” but that sounds way too cozy. “Canned” is a better word. 

After breezing through customs in Philadelphia, we joined the maze for security screening. Twenty minutes later, a TSA officer shouted that passengers with TSA PreCheck were in the wrong line. Okay, well, where is the right line? Her vague arm signals sent us back through the maze and further down the hall where we located the TSA PreCheck flag positioned strategically behind a three-foot concrete column. Observation: in Spain and Portugal, airports post signs with instructions to pass through security; Americans shout. 

Aboard the 787, I unwrapped the blanket and pillow absconded from the earlier cross-Atlantic flight, hooked up my iPad, and squeezed my water bottle into the seat pocket, quieting my mind for the final 5+ hour flight. Fatigue and hunger for decent food fed my anxiety until an attendant finished her welcome with the succoring offer: Thank you for choosing American Airlines. Let us know if we can make your flight more comfortable.

I promptly summoned the attendant, noting the exact contrast to the attractive Portuguese stewardess on the earlier flight. 

“Could you please remove the row of seats in front of us?” I asked.

“Ma’am, I can’t do that.”

“Oh, well, can you ask the passenger reclined in my husband’s lap to set her seat upright?”

“Ma’am, I can’t do that. She has a right to recline her seat and break your husbands’ knees.”

“Does my husband have a right to be comfortable?”

“I’m sorry, Ma’am, but he does not.”

“Okay, then, can you ask the pilot to fly faster to shorten the flight time?”

“No, Ma’am, I cannot.”

“Well, what can you do to make the flight more comfortable?”

“I can offer you alcohol.”

“Okay, I’ll take a whiskey.”

“That will be $10.”

“I would be comfortable if you would waive the $10.”

“No, Ma’am, I can’t do that.”

“So why do they invite passengers to make requests to make the flight more pleasant?”

“Ma’am, that is a psychological ploy. Market research has shown that 98.2% of the people relax immediately when hearing that announcement, falsely assuming that they have control. You must be of the other 1.8%.”

Anticipating no immediate relief, I excused myself, clambering over the lady in my husband’s lap, to stretch my legs by visiting the lavatory, where I discovered no toilet paper.

Having sandpapered my privates with paper towels, I returned to my seat and summoned Mr. Non-Portuguese Flight Attendant.

“Would it be possible to put toilet paper in the lavatory?”

“Ma’am, I am sorry, but I can’t. It is refilled weekly. Perhaps a nice turkey sandwich will settle you.”

“Thank you. But I see a large bun and no turkey.”

“There is no turkey, Ma’am. Market research shows that 98.2% of the people who are told that they are eating a turkey sandwich believe there is actual turkey in the bun. You must be of the other 1.8%.”

I settled my head on the cotton swab pillow and reflected, “I always wanted to be special.”

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1 Comment

Feb 20

Go with the flow, I guess. Even the clunky, unpleasant flow, that will end when you get back to your special place, home :) ahhh

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