September 27, 2007

ALOHA: chapter 1- The flight to Honolulu

September 11 2007 I lifted off from Salt Lake City airport enroute to Honolulu Hawaii, via San Francisco. The night before was filled with mixed emotions. I had been feeling nervous and aprehensive about taking such a long flight on the Anniversary of the Twin tower terrorist attack in New York. Although I spent the night at a friends house who would take me to the Airport the next morning I knew it would be a sleepless night. I was so grateful for the comfort of not being alone left with my runaway imagination and thoughts.
I walked into the airport tired, scared and nervous. Got my bags checked through, prepared to go through the security maze. I looked up and there were 7 podiums. All had official looking men behind them in official looking white shirts with badges on them. The podiums had the presidential seals on them and they said "HOMELAND SECURITY." I stepped forward and took a deep breath. Removed my shoes, placed my purse and carry on bag in a grey plastic tub and held my place. After 45 seconds one of them men motioned to me "please step foward ma'am." Again taking a deep breath I stepped through the security screen. "BEEEEEEEEEP!" My heart held still. I beeped! Oh crap! "Please step to the side.." I stepped to the side and a female officer came over to me... " Ma'am do you have any jewelry, car keys, or a cell phone on you?" That darn cell phone, in my pocket. " My cell phone, I'm sorry!" I handed it over. She placed it in a stray grey tube that held some elses shoes. The man behind me sort of chuckled. A few minutes earlier he and I held a conversation, so they probably thought we were traveling together.
"Step back through and come forward again, please." I stepped back through the security screen and came forward again. "Thank you ma'am!" And they were on to the next person. I scurried around trying to find the tub with my belongings, I quickly gathered them and the kind gentleman behind me handed me my phone with a smile and said... "you have a good time sweetie!" I smiled and said, you too, and thanked him. I walked passed the Homeland security podium and the Officer behind one of them said to me "Have a great time!" I thanked him and headed toward my gate.

Thoughts of the upcoming week came to mind: "Will my 17 year be ok at home alone for a week? I paid all the bills to make sure that was squared away. Why did Osama pick 3 days ago to surface after 3 years? Is my spiritual life where I need it to be? I'm sooo tired....."

I sat for a couple hours in the airport contemplating where I am in my life now and where I'd like to be. The plane ride would be a great opportunity to sort these things out. And what better place but Hawaii? Oh Hawaii! My thoughts turned to where I'd bee in the next few hours.
My best friend was getting married on the weekend. I was so excited for her! I was so happy to be the link that brought her and her husband together! I was anxious to see her, meet him and meet her brothers, sister, mother, nieces and nephews that she and I would shop for when she lived in Utah. They were just babies then. THey would be in High school and middle school by now. I began to grow excited about the events that may lie Ahead.
The loud speaker called out the boarding request and I gathered my belongings and boarded the plane. The plane, was huge. I searched overhead at the numbers to find my seat. The further back I walked the more I realized I was probably going to be in the last row.

Contrary to popular belief... there is very little joy in being right most of the time. My seat was in the last row.

I had the isle seat of a 3-seat row. I pushed my purse and carry on under the seat in front of me. The flight was pretty full but not totally full. I had the back row to myself so that was sort of nice as I was not in the mood the really speak with others. I sad down, buckled in, laid my head back and closed my eyes. I listened as the monitors came down and recited the details for what to do in case of an emergency...." pull mask tightly over heard...... closed exit could be behind you.... seat cushion doubles as flotation device..... " the voices slowly became faded. The last thing I remember was feeling my body slightly jolt back in my seat as we lifted off the runway. I was OUT like a light before we even left the ground. It was a 2 hours flight. I missed the in flight movie and courtesy drinks and so on. I didn't care I was TIRED. I woke up for the last 30 minutes of a 2 hours flight which was perfect.

I would have a 2 hour layover at the San Fransisco airport before my 5 hour flight to Honolulu.
We landed w/o incident in San Fran I walked inside the airport and was shocked at how small it was. I checked the monitor for my next gate number and was already standing at the gate. I looked around to figure out how I would entertain myself for the next 2+ hours. But first, something to eat. I went and grabbed a couple of sandwiches for the next leg of my trip. I had one immediately and saved one for later. Airplane food had become expensive and I had an Entertainment stash in my carry one that consisting of: word search and coloring books, markers, colored pencils, sketch pad, 2 books, beef jerkey, chex mixes, gummy candies, texting... I was pretty much set.
I walked around a couple of the gift shops and looked at some of the art. There was a sculpture of an egyptian woman.
I became fascinated with the materials used to create the sculpture. It looked mummified, like shreds of papers. I walked up to look closer and much to my delight the sculpture was made from Cold cereal boxes! AWESOME! So I became enthralled with trying to find how many different cereal boxes were used. I now call her the cheerio's lady because I found more cheerios boxes than anything!

I also checked out a wooden sculpture of a horse. What was fascinating about that was it was just random shaped drift wood whose design happen to create a horse. The creativity threw me back into nostalgia to my Jr High, high school and college days when I claimed to be one of those freak artist who would go around feeling textures and then close my eyes and recreate it through paints or chalks or clay or what not.

Well, that took all of about 45 min. I scurried back to my gate and sat down and pulled out my Garfield and Odie coloring book and some markers and began to work on a master peice. After a few moments I noticed a woman sitting in the seat across from me. She was watching me... and eating quite loudly. I glanced up at her and she stared at me crunchin, smackin and suckin her food down. I went back to Odie and garfield. Seconds later I could still feel this woman watching me. As she slopped her food down like she was eating from a trough. I made a point not to look at her and concentrated on my master peice. I was doing a good job of ignoring her until i heard differnt moans and vocal grunts and things coming from the direction I was trying to ignore. I couldn't help myself i looked up and she was now picking her teeth and sucking on a toothpick with various other sounds. I said to myself... "ARE YOU KIDDING ME LADY??" You know in the comforts of home I would expect it, but in public.. disturbing everyone around you is too much. Much to my horror I became aware that this woman would be somewhere on the same plan with me for at least the next 5 hours. Please, Lord, don't let her sit next to me, that's all I ask!
A while later we boarded the plane. I began the journey down the LONG isle wondering if I would be in the last row again. To my pleasure I wasn't, I was about 3 rows up from the last seat. That was the least of my worries. As I began to settle in and get comfortable the toothpick lady, loud and ignorant was walking through the isle with her many bags knocking people in the head in shoulders. She gradually got closer and closer and closer to me. With each step she took the groans in my head got louder and louder. She stopped right at the isle in front of me... and slipped inside to the window seat. I said to myself... "really funny, Lord, go ahead and laugh, ya got me!" By this time it was only afternoonish. I was still tired so I knew I wouldn't have any trouble sleeping again.
We prepared our selves for take off and the toothpick lady was announcing to everyone around her how she's been to hawaii before and how she was going again and how little it was costing her and which beaches and resorts she would be at and where to go for this and that and blah blah blah. This went on from the time we left and for about the first 45 minutes into the flight. They started in cabin drink and lunch service and Lady tooth pick had moved on to speaking about how God and the devil work and how you rebuke the one and embrace the other. The cabin steward asked her if she wanted a drink. She ordered liquor. Even better right? When they asked her for a chaser she ordered water. Uh Oh. Liquor with a water chaser. This was going to be interesting. She wasn't the only one getting her drink on at such an early hour in the afternoon. I looked around the cabin to see if I was in the Bar section. I felt like it. I closed my eyes and settled into my seat. My first thought was .... "don't start no stuff.. won't be no stuff.." I had decided to just mind my business and try to enjoy the flight the best way possible. My next though was interrupted by the sound of Toothpick lady saying... "Praise the Lord and pass the cavasia!" I closed my eyes and went to sleep.