Plane things

Giant drops of rain poured on Chicago from the tail-end of storms. Midway is the most exciting of airports, but they’ve made improvements since the last time I connected there.

The small alcoves between eateries have been updated with tables—tall tops and regular tops—that are outfitted with phone charging stations. Along and in the middle of a few of the tables are what look to like flower boxes only they are filled with grass, plastic grass. 

Upon the completion of their tech tables, they should have smiled and called it a day, as in, “No grass is better than plastic grass—always.”

I gave my cell phone a boost while I gazed out a wall of wet-streaked windows and watched the rain. I texted Gary, my personal weatherman, and he assured me the storms had rolled on to another airport. 

I wanted to believe him and hoped what sounded like roars of thunder were planes lifting up and off runways. 

While in flight, I made a list of things one should always take on a plane—things to make flight time bearable. My incentive to come up with such a list sat somewhere—anonymous—nearby.

Number one on my list? Gas-X. You know, those little green capsules that magically clear the air.

I hoped the poor soul who sat either in front of or behind me was not headed in my next direction. Let’s just say it was a relief to de-board what my daughter and son-in-law and I will always remember as the “Flight of Flatulence.” 

Had I packed one of the magical products, I may have stood up and said, “I have Gas-X. I’m happy to share.”

Instead, we endured two hours of misery, though I am sure the culprit suffered as well. Everyone says, “It wasn’t me,” but we can prove it. Our connecting flight was flatulence-free. 

Number two on my list? Travel-size disinfecting wipes. 

Laugh, but I did the research for a newspaper article. Airplanes are full of germs. Wipe down those seat trays and armrests, and don’t touch the magazines.

Instead, turn to number three on my list: a book, preferably a good one.

I bought a book at Midway. It sat at the charging table, beckoning me to open it.

I didn’t want to buy the book I bought: The Handmaid’s Tale. First published in 1985, it didn’t catch readers’ eyes until last year—“The Most-Read Book of 2017.”

My daughter Jordan read it and called me.

“I just finished The Handmaid’s Tale,” said Jordan. “I loved it! You would hate it.”

My daughters know my taste in fiction. When Jordan or Kristen say, “Don’t read that book,” I follow their advice.

What book did my book club choose? The Handmaid’s Tale. Thus the reason Margaret Atwell’s novel accompanied me on my trip. I’ll reserve judgment on the book I don’t want to read for after I’ve finished it. 

Number four on my list? A laptop or tablet.

Working from a plane makes the bird fly faster and keeps the mind from wandering off after flight attendants use their emergency protocol scare tactics on me, i.e. oxygen mask and life preserver demonstrations. 

I’ve written quite a few columns and letters while traveling up among clouds and stars, which brings me to number five on my list: Cards and/or stationary.

Communicating by phone is more efficient, but texts and emails don’t add the personal feel of handwritten letters. I always carry fun cards and a good pen or two with me wherever I go.

Remember to take chewing gum to protect the ears, Ibuprofen to protect anything that hurts, earbuds for music to fly by, and those little green capsules. No one has to know you have them, just please don’t forget them. 

Enjoy your flight.

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