I prepared to leave Seattle for Indianapolis in the manner that I normally do: not planning my time out properly, doing one thousand loads of laundry, scrubbing down my entire apartment like it had been a crime scene, and getting about two hours of sleep.
I woke up the morning of my flight when it was still dark out, which isn’t saying a lot as I am currently living in the season of Seattle that involves it being dark most of the day. I called my Lyft and went downstairs, loading my bag in the back of a Prius and zoning out through the window. I was exhausted and ready to be back with my family and friends for the holidays.
The guy driving tried to make conversation, and while I appreciated the effort, I was so tired I just wanted to drive in silence. So when I realized I had closed my eyes and started to nod off for a second, I sprung to life in a hurry, realizing that this man had all of my belongings and me close to unconscious in the back seat which wasn’t the best of ideas.
Fear of getting murdered really is more of a driving force for me in my life than one might expect.
He didn’t strike me as the type of guy who would abduct/murder/make a human skin suit out of me, but people say Ted Bundy was a charming guy. I figured if this was one of the rare times I let my guard down it would likely be the one to get me into trouble.
I talked with him the rest of the way there, about going home, what it’s like in Indiana, and the basic banter to make sure he wasn’t a nice guy turned abductor.
To be completely honest, he was probably equally as spooked if he looked in the rear view mirror and saw an unconscious girl with a mystery suitcase in his back seat, wondering why he’d said yes to that final ride of his shift before calling it quits.
I thanked him for the ride, checked my bag and got in the longest security line I’d seen in a while. I’d expected it with the holidays, but I was running on two hours of sleep, and the girl behind me who was apparently unaware of how personal space works kept hitting me with her handbag until I turned around and asked her if she could not.
There was not enough Valium to get me through this day, I decided.
Once I made it to the front of the line, the security officer was going through his spiel of “check your pockets, take off your shoes, blah blah blah.” I wondered who gets to the front and still needs this reminder, but I figured that most people probably aren’t at the airport enough to recognize the security people there like I am.
That’s when I put my hand in my pocket and found my mace, like one of the dummies I was just judging.
I waited for him to turn his back before I chucked it in the trash can because I couldn’t handle his judgement of me.
It was expired anyways. Plus I made the “decent human” list this year, so I knew Santa would be bringing me a fresh mace so that I could wield the power of potentially blinding someone, just like I’d asked for.
I made it through security without getting a full body search which I always consider a plus.
Then weird things started to happen.
As I stumbled through in my sleepy haze, I heard Christmas music blaring and two girls dressed as elves (relatively slutty ones by the way–I was a little shocked at Santa’s choices) came plowing through on a golf cart singing along with Mariah Carey and handing out candy canes to kids.
It was 7am and I wasn’t really feeling it this early in the morning, so just bah humbugged my way through to my gate, when I saw another golf cart speeding toward me with Santa and a little person dressed as an elf hanging off of the side yelling “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
I stared at them and thought to myself, “Has someone swapped out my pills this morning? Am I hallucinating? Am I still dreaming?”
Once I made it to my terminal, I went to get the biggest coffee I could find so I didn’t run the risk of falling asleep in the chair and missing my flight. I watched a man in a penguin suit walk by and take pictures with people.
I couldn’t get out of this alternate reality soon enough.
They paged me to the front desk and I prayed that I wasn’t getting kicked off of the flight for being an asshole to that girl with the bag or sneakily dropping mace into the trash can.
“We had to switch your seat to accommodate a family, but don’t worry, you’re closer to the front, and you still have an aisle,” the gate attendant said.
I was happy to still have an aisle seat, and considered it my good deed of the day even though the gate lady really hadn’t asked me, she had just taken the initiative to switch my seat on her own.
I boarded the plane, wishing for peace and quiet, but knowing that was unlikely with a full flight and a higher population of children than I usually fly with.
I was settling in when a woman sat in the middle seat next to me, and a guy stood in the aisle staring at me, wrongly assessing my level of niceness/craziness before addressing me:
“Hi. So sorry to bother you. I’m traveling with my wife, and she’s sitting next to you. I was hoping you would switch seats with me so I could sit with her.”
He pointed over to a middle seat across the aisle from me.
“No thanks,” I said. “I really prefer an aisle.”
He glared and me, and she sighed heavily and gave me the cold shoulder the whole flight (which was quite alright by me). I felt the guilt creeping into my heart, as it usually does for things like this, and told myself to squelch it.
I’d already switched seats for a family who was clearly not able to plan a trip with their children well enough to get seats together, which if you ask me is relatively irresponsible.
I don’t really feel particularly obligated to downgrade my seat because I’m flying solo and these two didn’t book their flight in time to choose better seats. Not my problem. Also he probably sees his wife every damn day, and doesn’t need to sit next to her while she’s snoring in the middle the entire flight.
So I’d now made a family happy by switching seats and pissed off a couple. Hoping both acts cancelled each other out, I tried to drift off to sleep, hoping that somehow I was still on Santa’s “decent human” list because I really had my heart set on that mace.