Drowning First Class Sorrows
San Diego's international airport was full of souls in transition. Emotion is always palpable in airports...so is excitement. Even if the destination does not have any justifiable reason to visit, I think I would still be excited for the oncoming juxtaposition of life. For the new place to sleep. For the view of a different bathroom. For a place to rest contently away from the monotony of a daily routine.
I wasn't actually thinking these things as I sat down in an empty seat at gate C-6 to wait for my first flight of the day. I was just savoring the excitement. The kind of excitement that clicks in your ears. I was going to see my girl.
There were 40 or so minutes until boarding, and after verifying my seat assignment at the counter, I sat down to relaxation facilitated by an ipod with new music. When I heard my name being announced over the loudspeaker, I launched out of my seat, throwing my ipod across the carpet of the seating area. An airport is not the place you want to hear your name being announced over a public address system.
The middle aged woman behind the counter had a smile meant for customer relations. With kind eyes she informed me (like I had no control in the matter) that she was giving my seat away to a woman so she could sit in the same row as her children. For half a second dark pessimism took control of my mind and all I could think about was worst case scenarios. I said alright and waited for more of her words. We are going to give you another seat she said with a smile curling at the corner of her mouth...a smile that was supposed to be secret.
She gave me seat 1A, the very first seat of the airplane. It was conveniently located in first class. So it was before my plane had taken off that I had a Bombay Sapphire gin and juice in my hand while sitting in a seat large enough to comfortably accommodate an orca whale. Unfortunately my 75 year-old seat neighbor answered with few words and sought refuge in statuesque sleep. He was kind enough to give me his SD Union Tribune Newspaper when he was finished and he smelled skillful enough with a bar of soap.
Everything was just fantastic until the Continental Airline crew starting showing their in-flight movie "Marley & Me." I don't really even feel comfortable admitting that I watched this film and I should have just steered clear. I was completely unaware of the potent and wet emotional wreckage that would soon be dealt by the movie. For those of you who haven't seen the film, the plot is basic enough. A couple buy a dog and name it Marley; they become a family; the dog destroys and disrupts everything yet it is cute because Marley is a dog and that's what some dogs do; then Marley grows old and after a long dog life, he passes away. And the onscreen characters along with the viewers are left devastated. My sincerest apologies to those who haven't seen the film, but honestly save yourself the heartache, because it will hit and feel like a car accident in slow motion. Or maybe more like open-heart surgery with a spoon that you are completely conscious for. I think I like the latter best.
As I am a fairly fat animal lover, (with my affection even extending to the-of late-much scorned pussy cat) this movie tore me open. So there I was decently drunk, in first class, half-way an emotional wreck all because of some G*damned movie with a dog and Owen Wilson. Not quite what I was expecting. It was of course still worth it, and the experience ranks highly amongst my airplane stories. Cheering up was no hard task either, knowing who would be waiting for me at my destination. Shall I stick to flying coach? I think not in the face of the opportunity, as I am always willing to take a ride on an emotional roller-coaster, so long as their isn't too much airplane turbulence.