My Zen Guide to Flying (No Really)

People think that I don’t have patience; that’s not true, this is because I never get credit for all the times I want to punch someone in the face… but don’t; or all the times I want to say something mean (but true) or inappropriate (but true)…but don’t.

I do have Patience and I save almost all of it for when I fly. Flying can be a traumatic experience for a lot of people for a number of reasons: babies, bad neighbors, bad foods, small seats, nasty flight attendants, the list goes on and on. You’re in cramped conditions with mediocre food sitting next to complete strangers just praying to gd that they had the decency to shower and not bring an egg salad sandwich with them. People who know me would barely recognize me for the Zen state that I try to take on when I am on a plane. I can basically shrug off anything short of someone banging on the cockpit door yelling allahuh akbar. This is diametrically opposed to my usual state in which I am running on a fuel mix of sarcasm, disdain for like 80% of people, and coffee. Why? Maybe because I fly infrequently and therefore still have a different attitude for it or maybe it’s just because getting rowdy on a plane carries federal charges but probably because flying is a communal experience…in the same way that prison is a communal experience, cramped conditions, bad food, and a poor movie selection makes everyone a little restless.

My only real request from the universe when I fly is that I not sit next to someone who is fatter than they are tall and that we not plunge into the ocean. I’ve come to the sad realization that it as altogether too much to ask that a fluke booking mix has Bar Rafaeli bumped from First Class to the seat next to me. Beyond that I try to take deep cleansing breaths and let everything else slide off. Crying infants, someone knocking my seat, the guy by the window having to get out a million times. I try not to let that drive me crazy because, like I said, Federal charges and all.

Remember that photo that was going around about the parents who handed out ear plugs and candy in little bags to everyone on their flight to apologize in advance for their kids crying? What a bunch of losers; they should only have considered doing that had the kid been a teenager and the note should read “sorry we are terrible parents and now you have to pay the price”. But then if they did that they’d have to be giving out gift bags every single time the kid was a total waste of life and made the world worse for everyone around him.

One time flying from New York to Israel a women had an infant and to say that the kid was clearly not enjoying the flight would be an understatement. Aside from the infant she had another young child with her and seemed clearly overwhelmed; she apologized profusely every single time the kid cried but I told her it was fine, what do you expect from an infant? She seemed to appreciate that she wasn’t sitting next to a complete asshole (or at least she didn’t realize that she was sitting next to one).

As I write this I am on a flight to New York my neighbor is nice enough and the stewardesses having been feeding me wine the whole time in paper hot cups like a drunk at a PTA conference. If you’re reading this than I made it safely to my destination and so, short of Esti Ginzburg coming back here to ask if I wanted to keep her company because it’s lonely in first class, it’s the best flight I could possibly hope for.

Side Note: The moment the plane doors open I am back to my old self; the girl in front of me was reading a prayer book while pushing her bag which kept on getting stuck I cut in front of her; I don’t feel that I should be in the back of the line at customs just because she’s not smart enough to pull the bag and not read a book.


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