I’m writing this as I sit on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Vancouver. I’m in a middle seat and I’m listening to my Beyonce playlist (obviously). I’ve spent the last two-hours-and-45-minutes reading the May issue of Cosmopolitan magazine – all 264-pages of workout tips, must-buy makeup and body oils (I don’t think I’ve ever been more interested in getting body oil and I don’t even know why I would need it), surprisingly insightful articles about bullying and being a stay-at-home wife and obviously an, “Are you a secret bitch?” quiz, to which I received the result: Joan Rivers. Apparently, I’m a sassy bitch, which is the only bitch to be. Too bad I didn’t get, “You are Beyonce, therefore you are the bitch who runs the world and are one of the most influential people in the world you run, as declared by everyone and Time magazine.” It wasn’t an option, though, so I’m not too broken-hearted.
I’ve never actually sat and read through an entire Cosmo, from table of contents to the back page Gucci ad featuring the ever-flawless Blake Lively (her hair, face, eyes, legs, etc., though…). Thanks to the best girlfriends I could ask for, who prepared me for my week-long vacay out west to visit the boy, I was sent away with a care package, consisting of Mentos (the fresh maker), chocolate, sour watermelon slices, purel, lip chap (uh-mazing) and two super girly magazines. Love ma girls.
I don’t mind being on planes. I just get really anxious when people around me move or make repetitive noises (I have self-diagnosed myself with this). Or smell. I also get really hungry but hate plane food – all I think about when I even just drink water on the plane is, “Is this real water? Or the water they give to astronauts to bring up in spaceships with them?” Clearly, I know nothing about plane food and drink, but I did have a really bad experience once that makes me nauseous at the thought of consuming something from a mystery tetra-pack.
Seven years ago, I was travelling to Italy for the first time ever for a three-week language course and I had never been on a plane before. This was a few months before I turned 17-years-old. My mom had packed me a prosciutto and cheese sandwich – yes, I snuck a prosciutto sandwich on a plane to Europe when I was 17-years-old and ate it with pride. As I was gnawing on this delightful dinner, the person beside me smiled and said, “Oh, you haven’t been on a plane before. I can tell,” as if she was Naya Rivera or something. Dude. You’re flying economy class. Relax. And, your Glee name isn’t Santana Lopez. You don’t even have a Glee name. Basic.
After my belly was full, the flight attendants started handing out alcohol and food to hungry guests. The person behind me ordered a glass of red wine, but it smelled like morning-after-wine-breath and was making my stomach turn. It reminded me of kissing my dad goodnight after a long night of Christmas Eve celebrations at my grandmother’s house – where all the men drank ridiculous amounts of homemade wine and sat around playing cards while smoking cigarettes. Barf (to the smell, not the awesome family time).
I tried to fall asleep to ease my unsettled stomach, but then the mystery woman sitting behind me ordered a piece of lasagna that smelled like it came out of a microwavable box called like, “Airplane Kitchen,” or something. I imagined the cheese being yellow, when it was supposed to be white, and the sauce being thick and sweet like Ketchup. The ground beef, in my mind, was either mushy a la Taco Bell or the consistency a chewed up over-cooked McDonald’s patty might be. I presume my nerves of being on a plane for the first time and going to some place I’d never been without my parents also played a large role in why I wasn’t doing too well, but still. The lasagna smelled awful. And the wine-breath-stench was still floating around.
I remember staring through the window (I had a window seat – score!) and trying to focus on how beautiful the stars looked, as I was also attempting to decipher what country we were currently flying over. But, my focus was often disrupted because I could see the reflection of the stinky glass of wine and way-too-soggy lasagna through the glass. Then I started to imagine the chick chomping with her mouth open and that was that.
I was probably being a diva, but the point is: I don’t eat plane food unless my stomach is eating itself. The smells and the thoughts that cross my mind make chewing on even airplane apple slices difficult. Normally, I come on board with a tea, an apple in my bag (no more prosciutto sandwiches while traveling, promise) and a water bottle ready for filling (I do usually ask the barista at the café I order my tea from to fill up the bottle with tap water, so to ensure I’m not drinking anything weird like dinosaur spit or something). This being said, the longest plane ride I’ve been on since I traveled to Italy last has been five hours, not eight. After eight hours of not eating a meal (or two), I’d probably snap.
And then, when the plane lands and my belly is literally screaming, “FEED ME,” I walk to the baggage claim all hangry and staring at any over-salted bag of nuts in the little airport snack shops as if they are four course meals prepared by a Parisian chef.
The last time I flew out west, I sat in the wrong seat (oops) and got booted out to find the actual seat I had selected. After switching, I was sitting next to an extremely drunk man who, from the get-go, was told he wasn’t allowed to consume because he was intoxicated. He then proceeded to rant to me about how “Air Canada is stupid,” until he finally fell asleep. And, when he did fall asleep, he began breathing that gross-wine-breath that made me sick to my stomach the first time I experienced air travel all over me. He snored too. He also talked in his sleep. “Mumble, mumble. I’m not drunk. Psh. Mumble. Air. Mumble. Canada. Mumble. Wine is my fave.”
I obviously had to use the bathroom during my time in the air, so when I got up, a flight attendant approached me and said, “I’m so sorry you have to sit beside that drunk man! I was going to suggest you just stay in the seat you thought was yours so you didn’t have to be near him.” I laughed and said, “It’s okay. He’s just really smelly.” Then for the rest of the trip, this flight attendant and I were besties – making little smirks at one another whenever he walked by. This helped me get over the fact that I was breathing in recycled air that everyone else had breathed in before me, because of the aircraft we were all confined within.
When I was coming back from my last time in Vancouver, I did order a chicken wrap with arugula and ate it unhappily, downing my pre-filled water and not really breathing through my nose so to prevent any smells from entering. The thought of not eating anything while also choking back tears because I was not going to see my partner for months was dreadful. And so, I ate my wrap drenched in way too much mystery sauce, listened to New York by Snow Patrol and was overcome with emotion (and a bit of nausea, of course).
I don’t get queasy often and people have told me I have a “stomach of steel.” (Read: I can eat most things and not feel sick. Don’t read: I have abs). Yet, every time I get on a plane, the thought of eating something that I did not buy while in the airport or did not bring from home immediately turns me off.
Do you have any weird plane “rules” to which you abide?