Joel Vernier

Flying and napping just seem to go together! Unless you are a white-knuckle flyer. The seats on a modern jet are not all that comfortable, especially if the person in front of you puts their seat back, all the way back. If you have your tray down, it jams into your knees and is just not relaxing. I think they built the seats to accommodate people from the middle ages. Over the last 150 years, human’s average height has grown four inches. Weight has gone up dramatically; just look at the movies, commercials, and newsreels from the 1950s and Americans have gained a lot of weight. I attribute this to fast-food chains; portion size has gotten a lot bigger just look at a burger, fries, and a Coke years ago compared to today. Do we really need a triple burger? The airline industry had to create seat belt extensions for passengers that need a skosh more room to be able to hear the click of the seat belt.

I remember my first flight with my mom and dad to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit my brother and pick up a new car from him with his employee discount. I was very nervous, I gripped the armrests, looked around the sealed fuselage and thought to myself, I have no control of my destiny. The take-off seemed to stretch out the runway, and as the lift was attained, I began to sweat, rapid heart rate, nausea. I was 16. 

My next flight, I was 22 and was going to Princeton, NJ for training to begin my career in pharmaceuticals. The same nervousness took over my body. For the next few years, I flew two to three times a year, mostly for business. We did fly for Disney vacations and award trips, including Bermuda, Paris, Amsterdam, and most of the 50 states. Each take-off and landing was an unsettling experience for me. I actually logged my take-offs and landings. I took a promotion in sales training, and I began to fly multiple times a week. After my 300th flight, I figured I was either going to be okay or not, but I did get acclimated to flying.

 I began my napping on planes. I adapted to the point that I would get in my seat, fall asleep after take-off and wake up just as the coffee cart reached my aisle. I became a seasoned flyer. When you watch a person flying in a movie or television show, they go to the airport, next scene they are on the plane taking off with some elevator music playing and then landing and next they are checked into a posh hotel. 

They don’t show the hassle of getting to the airport on time, which meant 20 minutes ahead of your flight before 911. There was no security screening, carry on anything that fits in the overhead or under your seat. Today, it’s even more of an adventure, long waits, check your pockets for a pocket knife or lighter. Please do not leave a gun in your carry-on like my brother did, which extended his vacation in the local jail, and added $10,000 in legal fees, that was not in his vacation budget.

I don’t fly much anymore, no business travel, we generally vacation within a five-hour drive. Although I became quite comfortable with flying, the hassle, cost, and now with the Wuhan virus, flying is even more uncomfortable. 

Yes, I am ready to fly again, the views from the window of the plane give you a different perspective on life, the planet seems smaller, looking down at cities, mountains, lakes, oceans are beautiful. I have flown over the Grand Canyon and over the brush fires in California. But for today, I’m going to take a nice uneventful nap in my “Comfy Chair!” I think I will ask Alexa, my personal computer, to play Frank Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon!”

“Remember, every day is a gift! Some are just a little more fun to open than others. © Joel M. Vernier 06/16/2020 Author of: “The Guinea Pig In The Freezer.” joelmvernier@aol.com.

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