Passengers Part Two

imagesToday I’m posting part two of the ‘Passengers’ story from a few days ago.   I originally had these  together  but it was just too long.  So, if you are interested in more crazy airplane stories, this one’s for you!

I love how little toddlers truly believe if they close their eyes they can’t be seen.  Our 23-month-old, Jude, does this and it is so precious to watch.  When she decides to come back, she opens her eyes and smiles, as if to say, “ok, I’m back and ready to proceed.”  I think that would be a highly coveted super power to possess — very useful in strange, difficult and embarressing situations. I used to think I would choose flying for my super power, but I’m going to have to rethink the whole thing now.

For goodness sake, we were on the very back row of the airplane in our best effort to minimize the attention that comes with having two babies under two with us.  What could go wrong back there?  I innocently flipped open the lid to what I would call a very well-made, air tight, travel cup -these are awesome.   This H2O made the hissing sound of a coke can and sprayed roughly 10 feet in the air, by my estimation.   I had forgotten the airplane pressure factor. I had drinched Rachel, both babies, myself, and the tall man with red hair in front of me with sippy cup water.  After we tried to clean up what we could and stopped laughing, I told Rachel one of my most embarrassing airplane ride stories. (Sadly, I’ve had more than my fair share).

A few years ago, when traveling alone, I had the middle seat, as usual.  The guys on both sides of me were about my son’s age — in their 20’s.  They were very nice looking, cool, hipster type young guys (I can see my kids rolling their eyes and saying, “Mom, don’t ever say “cool and hipster again.”).    They really were though — I admired the look.  People like this seem to have cornered the market for all their airplane necessities to not only be functional but superior looking.  These types just know how to handle things in a smooth manner.   They never fumble or dig down too deep into their bags.  They have the headphones and music pre-strung through the backpack, what they need comes out without a struggle.  I’m always so impressed.   I always look at other people’s carry on situation, because I never feel like I can get it just right.  I admit to having airport carry-on envy.  Why can’t I ever get this to work out for me?  I’ve almost given up because I’m afraid it can’t be taught.  But I refuse to be beaten.  I will prevail!

These guys were each sporting a great watch, tall hair, an iPhone, Levi’s skinny jeans with a slight roll up nicely displaying the mungledly patterned socks.  Each had a shirt obviously made from a company who paid an honest wage to workers and donated the proceeds to a charity, a few well-placed tattoos, rugged redwing boots or light weight slip on shoes, like Toms, with no socks, and the most upstyled urban unisex  backpack out there.  I do have a little side note because I just googled  “The Top Ten Cool Backpacks for 2016”  and I must tell you that I am feeling very “with it” right now because I am delighted to see my current backpack is the one listed first!!  Score one for Mama. Imagine that!   It is the little America Backpack (just in case you’re looking to be cool like me!).   Well done, me!  I have to be honest, if I’d had this backpack then I might not have this story now.


As I claimed my seat between these 20-29 aged guys,  I felt very aware of my age. I didn’t want to reinforce any negative stereotypes they might have of an older middle-aged, grandma, caucasian female type.  Not really sure what all those stereotypes are right now, but the word predictable seemed to edge it’s way to the top.  So, I gave a cool, raised-eyebrow chin lift greeting and sat down.  I quickly put my headphones in.   I decided I felt called to lay low and get to my destination without incident. I’d had a run of ridiculous travel experiences of late and needed a nice uneventful flight to ensure continued solo travel privileges with my husband, Bill.

The flight attendant made her way to our row for beverage service and I thought I’d get a Coke. I asked for a cup with ice as well as the can.  My two guys didn’t want anything, one was sleeping and one was reading. I carefully took the cup and then the can from her with both hands — very intentional not to disturb the aisle guy.  I opened my can and poured the beverage into my little clear airplane cup. Both cup and can sitting securely on my tray table. I would have been golden if I had stopped there, but she offered the napkin and I was not expecting it. I deliberated, briefly, in my head — “No, I’m sure I don’t need it … but what if I do?”   I looked at her and I could tell she wanted me to have the napkin.  This is what she did, and I wanted her to feel like she was doing a good job.

So, I took the napkin easily enough — but unfortunately a gust of air from my overhead fan caught it and lifted my napkin into the air moving westward. It began to hover threateningly close to sleeping window guy’s face. I could not allow this to happen!   I had to get that napkin before it hit his face and woke him up. So I’m all leaned in towards him, certainly invading his personal space because I felt confident I could reach in and retrieve it without him ever knowing what happened.  But most unfortunately for everyone, as I reached up to grab it,  my sleeve caught the cup of coke I had just poured and it went straight into sleeping guys lap.  He jumped up like he was on fire!  Upon reflection, I think the most startling part for him wasn’t so much the wet Coke lap, which I feel sure was high on the list  but I’ve come to believe the fact that I was so oddly close to him was understandably more troubling.  Oh how I wish I had just let the napkin land on his face or, better yet, refused the napkin offer.   Those two things combined just couldn’t be apologized away.  I did try though.

I wish this were the end of the story but I fear it is not.  As he’s hopping around, he then bumps my tray table and, I kid you not, the rest of the coke can spiraled through the air pouring coke as it did all over cool, reading-aisle guy, and finally landed on the floor in front of the flight attendant.  She cleaned up the mess.   Then I couldn’t believe it but she actually asked me if I’d like another Coke. I could feel the eyes of these guys burning a hole through my brain, as they all awaited my answer. I didn’t dare look at either of these guys in the eye, nor them me … I just looked at her with wide eyes and mouthed the word “No,” while shaking my head.


Oddly enough, I escaped the whole ordeal without one drop of Coke on me or in my mouth.  I was full of “I’m so sorrys” to them both.  Let me be clear, they were never mean to me. They just both never spoke a word — which to me seemed worse. I apologized over and over until finally they each pursed their lips firmly but nodded respectfully and gave me the ‘hand up’ stop sign. Really, what does one do at this point? I couldn’t leave, where would I go?   I waited without moving a muscle, with my head staring at my tightly folded hands resting securely in my lap. I was silent for what I deemed the proper amount of time for my punishment and remorse and grief.  I then ever so slowly and carefully put my headphones back on and closed my eyes imagining, like Jude, that I was escaping an unpleasant situation.


Just Jesus

Sheri Langley


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