With the coming of Spring and the help of my countdown clock, my thoughts have now turned to the three airplane encounters coming up for me in the remainder of this year.
The first and most important, the one that's now 58 days 13 hours and 3 seconds away, is the 22 hour odyssey to Sydney undertaken primarily to visit my daughter. Yes, to all of you who are familiar with my love of air travel, I'm going. And I'm going with my sister, as a belated "special" birthday trip.
The words "22 hour flight with my sister" originally conjured up the picture of me, heavily drugged in LAX, frozen in terror on the jetway, hands and feet spread wide, clutching at the doorway of the aluminum tube soon to be my home for 14 additional hours, refusing to board, refusing to move. Said sister would be pushing me from behind, all the while muttering words that resemble, "I'm not putting up with this sh*t. Get moving or get out of my way!" Interestingly enough, as the day of departure draws closer, that particular picture has receded, to be replaced by thoughts of a comfy seat, interesting in-flight entertainment and a long 8 hour snooze (it has to be mentioned here that I have never actually been able to sleep on a plane for more than a second or two at a time, but hope springs eternal). I've purchased my neck pillow, my eyeshades (okay, so they came out of a cereal box and say Kelloggs All Bran on one side, but they are soft and silk-like and they do work. I'll keep the side with the print facing in). I'm researching a foot rest and contemplating the best seating on a 747 so neither one of us has anyone crawling over us to get to the bathroom or to do in-flight calisthenics. I've ordered my supply of happy pills, both of long and short duration, and am generally keeping the goal in mind; getting off the plane and seeing my daughter and spending some time with her in a beautiful place a world away from here, in more ways than one.
Banished from memory recall are thoughts of the last long flight I took, stuffed in a middle seat, next to a small, whiny child, whose parent mistakenly thought I'd serve as an in-flight nanny, seat back in front of me inches away from my face and fighting a panic attack for the entire 7 hours it took to fly across the Atlantic. I will not think of that. I will not. I promise.
I am taking pride in the fact that my sister will be deprived of the opportunity to experience travel with "Psycho Traveler," the name my immediate family calls me any time I need to board an aircraft. Psycho Traveler will be left behind this time. I'd rather not travel with her either.