There’s nothing like starting a good road trip like an airplane flight. My flight from Phoenix to Pittsburgh was scheduled to take off at 7:00 am. That’s early. That’s even earlier when you didn’t leave the bar until 1:00 am. It was my last night as a full-fledged bachelor and I wanted to go out. Early flight be damned. From here on out, I’m going to break down the sequence of events by time.
6:00 pm: I packed everything up and laid out a pair of gym shorts and a tshirt in anticipation of a showerless, quickly dressed morning. I had no idea at the time that doing this would effectively save my life.
12:25 am: Good times. I was out with about 10 of my closest friends of friends and having a blast. I had spent most of the night wing-manning for a Mormon I barely knew and trying to find the people I actually knew.
12:41 am: My ride informs me he is about to leave. I tell him two more minutes.
1:03 am: My ride tells me he’s ready to leave. I tell him two more minutes. My ride leaves.
1:14 am: My ride turns around and comes to pick me up. Clutch.
1:39 am: I plug my phone into the charger and make sure the alarm is set for 5:15. I pass out in my bed.
6:17 am: I wake up on the couch downstairs. I squint at the time on on the cable box and flip into a state of paranoia. Evidently during the night, I had taken a little sleep walk. My subconscience must have told me, “This bed is not sufficient for optimal sleep. You should walk as far away from your alarm as possible and sleep on your much more uncomfortable couch.” The problem with sleepwalking is that you become a slave to your subconscience. You do whatever he says because your old buddy Logic drank a lot of beers last night too and he was passed out, nowhere to be found.
6:19: I bang on my roommates door who was giving me a ride to the airport. I seize the gym shorts and tshirt I had so thoughtfully laid out the night before, grab my wallet and take the phone off the charger. I think to myself, “I know I’m forgetting something.” I leave my phone charger by the bed and see my girlfriend has sent me two texts and a phone call to make sure I was up. No time to respond.
6:23 am: We get in the car. My girlfriend sends me a text that she’s really nervous I wasn’t awake. I respond, “I’m up.” It wasn’t a lie.
6:32 am: We whip into terminal 4 and I start running through the airport like Macaulay Culkin’s parents. I print off my boarding pass and realize my gate is on the other side of the airport. I take off running like Macaulay’s mom’s milkman was Usain Bolt. The security line was short for the first time ever. I get through and see my flight is already boarding. I slid into my my B18 spot on southwest that was next to board. I made it.
6:50: I text my girlfriend that I’m boarding, the flight is on time, and she worries too much.
7:10: I can’t sleep. I can always sleep on planes and I can’t sleep. My body yearns for water to wash away the sweat from my recent sprint and the dehydration incurred from last night. I can tell the old couple beside me hate me.
7:24 am: Finally the flight attendant comes around. She looks like she used to be a stripper. The ozone layer must be slightly thinner over her house from the amount of hairspray she used. She had dyed autumn hair except for one strand that was blonde and another smaller strand that was bright red. Her makeup was caked on and the lipstick she wore could be seen by the blind. “I know this sounds stingy, but can I have two waters?” She smiled back at me and said she’d bring me a can. She felt my pain.
7:50 am: The cotton mouth is setting in. The flight attendant comes back but with no drinks. She has snacks instead. I know peanuts aren’t going to quench my thirst. The old couple beside me take about 4 snacks a piece. They’re stingy too. The Difference: mine was out of necessity, theirs out of gluttony. I’m trying my best to hold in the beer farts in. I finally let one go, knowing other passengers would see the really tan old guy in the Hawaiian shirt beside me and consider him the most likely culprit.
7:59 am: She’s back with drinks, but only enough for the few rows in front of me. I see that someone ordered two beers and cringe. Flight attendants have to be the only alcohol servers in the nation to not get tipped. Well baseball stadium vendors too.
8:04 am. Salvation. I’ve never seen water in a can before but I would drink out of a pig trough at this point. The water streamed over the oversized ice cubes like a gently flowing spring in Heaven’s meadow, then rushed down my gullet like a hurricane in New Orleans. Twelve ounces didn’t last long. Neither did the second twelve ounces.
2:00 pm: After the connection in Chicago I sat beside a man, no, a gentleman in a yellow sweater vest, bowtie, mustache, and khakis that were way too short. And he was a talker. I now know the zip codes of Pittsburgh, the life and times of Ian Fleming (author of James Bond), his daughter’s law school graduation, his grandson’s 3 year old birthday adventures. He knows I’m a pharmacist.
2:57 pm: Ding! As people made a mad rush to the exit and the plane deboarded, I couldn’t help to think of the Southwest slogan. “You are now free to move about the country.” Country, here we come.