Ready for some whining? Great. I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport on my way to Germany for work, which required me getting up at 4:00 this morning to catch a super-early flight, only to sit in Atlanta for an eight-hour layover before my next flight. All I’ve had to eat so far today is some orange juice and those little dog-biscuit cookies that Delta gives you, and apparently there’s no Jamba Juice in the entire Atlanta airport, which I was kind of counting on, and I can’t even have coffee, because I need to be able to sleep on my next flight. So that’s just the worst.
Anyway, it’s been loads of fun so far. This old man from South Carolina is sitting next to me and has been talking over the little internet bar to these two Australian girls for like, three hours, and this weird guy with some kind of hilarious accent is glaring at them cause they’re not even using the outlets, and he wants to charge his laptop REALLY bad. He keeps walking by us and looking over everyone’s shoulders to make us all hurry up and leave, but they’re not getting the hint, and I’m certainly not going to move. It’s pretty funny.
I’ve made this exact trip once before, so it seems like the perfect time to tell the story of the Worst Plane Ride Ever. Maybe it will fix my little attitude problem.
I did not lose my luggage. The plane did not crash. It was not delayed, cancelled, or otherwise incapacitated at any point, even though I might have preferred that.
This is the story of the last time I came home from Germany.
It started with a necessary layover in Paris. Can I even explain to you how much I hate the airports in Paris? [insert lots more whining.] I do not like them. You don’t even know.
Anyway, I boarded the plane and settled in for the long flight back to the States. The gentleman next to me was from Kenya, and he was okay. He didn’t say much.
The problem was everyone else. Apparently, he and I had somehow gotten the only two seats available on a plane seemingly booked entirely for a French ice skating team made up of 12-year-old girls and a bunch of drunk guys from the Netherlands.
At first it wasn’t so bad. They were playing with their electronics and giggling (all of them) and having a little fun. We hadn’t taken off yet, so I took my sleeping pills and pulled out my blanket and my tiny pillow and tried to get some sleep.
But little by little, the skaters got louder. And louder. And LOUDER. And after the plane took off, everything was even more exciting, and they talked and screamed at things they thought were funny and poked each other and then there was some tickling at one point. I think someone did a handstand. They played games and movies on their tablets on full blast, and their team managers stood in the isles and told jokes and egged them on for hours.
The Dutch guys were also having a great time. They were drunk, and by drunk, I mean hilarious. And by hilarious, I mean not really at all. And they were also loud. But they had to be to hear themselves at all.
After several hours, the poor guy next to me dissolved into a pathetic puddle of sadness. He obviously had a migraine, or had developed one from the constant ruckus, and sat there slumped in his chair with his hands over his ears and his eyes squinched shut in the most desperate kind of way. He may have cried a little.
I resorted to glaring viciously at everybody, which no one ever noticed. I racked my brain for the most insulting French I could think of to yell at them, but I don’t know much French, so anything I thought to say was far too polite for the situation at hand. I harnessed my desire to strangle them by imagining that someday I would turn them all into French fries, and that the ice skates on their feet could be used as toothpicks.
Once in a while, a flight attendant would push her way through the knots of people clogging up the isles, and a couple of times I got up to go to the lavatory just so I could elbow a few of them really hard on my way through.
After eight hours, I almost cried with relief when we got to Minneapolis.
But it’s not over.
I had two more flights to go before I was home, and you know where this is going.
That’s right. The Dutch guys disappeared, and my poor Kenyan friend limped off to wherever he was going.
But those French ice skaters? They followed me all the way home and were apparently completely immune to their lack of sleep. Their antics continued for another three hours to Denver, and then from Denver all the way to Colorado Springs.
And I may have been exaggerating when I said I was the only one on that flight from Paris to Minneapolis that wasn’t on their team, but I’m not exaggerating this time. On that flight from Denver to COS, I absolutely WAS the only one not on their team. Which they apparently found hilarious. They kept trying to ask me questions in French, which I did not understand, and then they would laugh hysterically when I pretended to be asleep.
The flight from Denver to the Springs is a total of 15 minutes in real time, but in Hell Time, it was about eighty hours long. I’ll make you a conversion chart someday. When I finally crawled into bed that night, all I could think of was what kind of condiment to serve with my Skater Fries.
So there you go. The Worst Plane Ride Ever. Another six hours to go before this flight, and I am in a better mood now. [Everybody cheers.] And anyway, all of these people around me are pretty entertaining. Who wants to bet that this creeper and the Australian chicks will still be talking when I leave? And that guy still hasn’t gotten to use an outlet, and he’s pacing and huffing loudly and grumbling in some other language. He’s pretty pissed.