I haven’t changed my opinion about flying.
Being treated like cattle and herded into a confined space for twenty-four hours with family, small children, reproducing germs and food that is really not fit for human consumption, whilst the rest of the world continues to revolve slowly and painlessly beneath, could be considered a form of torture.
This flight to the Uk was no different in terms of flying experience. I’m a great advocate of getting what you pay for in life and if you pay economy and choose to fly halfway around the globe at one of the busiest times of the year, expectations need to be low.
The tension began to mount at check-in when it took three of us to lift my suitcase onto the scales while the check-in Gestapo asked if the old man’s overnight bag was hand luggage. I furtively tried to conceal the rest of my shoes and fourth coat nonchalantly in my handbag and ignored the look of disgust that the old man threw in my direction.
On the bright side, we were saved from puking, disgruntled and highly irritating toddlers standing up in the seats in front of us and prodding the buttons on our in-flight entertainment whenever their frazzled parents heads were turned, this time. Why anyone would choose to fly with any human for twenty-four hours under the age of ‘normal’ is quite beyond me. And we did all manage to catch a few catnaps at various points of the journey, although unfortunately not in tandem which can make flying an isolating experience when you suddenly jolt awake in the dark in coffee-splashing turbulence whilst the rest of your ship in the sky is sleeping. When the captain puts the seatbelt sign back on, I lose control of my bowels. The imagination goes into overdrive.
Whilst weighing up the meagre offering of films, the ADHDer did at least keep my own in-flight entertainment going by the relocation of his piece of greasy pepperoni pizza, (hastily grabbed on the hop at Hong Kong airport, which due to recent renovations and a new layout seems to have made locating Macdonalds as difficult as finding Wally; although if you want to spend thousands of dollars on a handbag, you are spoilt for choice), in liquidised form promptly into a sick bag somewhere over Asia, during a bout of particularly life-questioning turbulence. Our little friend ‘anxiety’ came along for the ride as we expected he would, and no matter how many times we googled ‘does turbulence cause air crashes’, we never truly got an answer we liked. The very expensive, rapper-style anti-nausea wrist bands, are obviously a con and our hostess could not disguise her disgust as I handed her the bulging sick bag in-between one of her many paid sleeping sessions in the luxury quarters at the back of the plane, in spite of her bright red dress and hooker-style make-up.
In-flight food provided some relief from the boredom and as always I was truly amazed by my capacity to eat during a flight, no matter how unrecognisable the contents of my tray. I even managed to squirrel away a stash of Brioche rolls (stolen from the kids trays, who refuse to eat anything), which I secreted away as emergency rations by the side of my seat and dipped into privately in moments of supreme boredom and anguish, making it necessary for me to loosen my seat belt several times before we reached our destination. The first of the extra Christmas kilos began to gather momentum.
Just prior to the old man strangling the ADHDer with his own headphones, Nerd Queen beginning her tenth book on the quantum physics associated with a Boeing 747, and my eighth Brioche roll, our chirpy British pilot mentioned something about beginning our descent and the ADHDer and I breathed unaided again for the first time since we shakily left Sydney twenty-three hours and twenty-five grey hairs earlier.
It seems that the ADHDer’s preparations the night before our departure, of sitting upright all night in his desk chair to get used to the aeroplane, had been ill-conceived.