I’m one of those people who prepares for a flight like I’m getting ready for a weather emergency. Do I have water? At least one meal? Shoes that I can run in? Okay, I’m ready.
In my teens I was once stuck on a train for fourteen hours, traveling up through Kyushu and Honshu to Hiroshima in one big dash. No bathroom, no drink machines, no food past lunch when I ran out.
After that day, I never took a train ride longer than an hour without at least an onigiri in my purse and a water bottle at hand. If the train got stuck, I would be ready.
So determined was I, I even chose my purses based on whether they could hold a water bottle. Couldn’t fit one? I wouldn’t touch it. Water fountains are nearly non-existent in the land of the rising sun, and so I monitored my supply while I was out and about, frequently refilling it against the possibility of dehydration.
Plane trips are the same as train journeys for me. I have a water bottle I leave empty in my bag through security so that I can fill it up in a restroom just after. Some airports encourage this practice by providing bottle fillers right next to the bathrooms. These sanctimonious little devices display how many plastic bottles they’ve “prevented” and tout the airport as “eco-friendly,” as if we aren’t all jetting around on enormous flame-powered tubes of metal, using plastic forks like it’s going out of style.
But that’s okay by me, because I’m not carrying a water bottle for the environment. I’m doing it because there’s few things worse than a twelve-hour flight with nothing to drink, and most of my flights have been of that duration.
Except, they aren’t anymore. To go to Scotland this holiday, I had a mere six-ish hours in the middle seat, barely time for a nap, let alone a full night’s sleep plus three movies as is my habit. I disembarked in merry England with half a bottle of water still leftover, which I only noticed when Husband and I lined up for security at Heathrow for our connecting flight.
There we were, TSA-equivalents chivying us along as we simultaneously chugged water and took off our shoes, the rest of the line raising their eyebrows as if to say “are you for real?” But we emptied it out like champs and found our way through the scanners with no problem at all.
And then I found a restroom and filled my bottle back up again, because, well, you never know.
Despite my over-the-top preparedness, my insisting on being sensible, I refuse to be one of those lost souls shuffling to the gate wearing a neck pillow. I don’t care how comfortable they are, they’re bulky. Yes, they make those six hours more comfortable, but they make the entire rest of the journey a slog of hauling the stupid thing around.
Do people really buy them and then store them for twelve-odd days as they tour? Or do they toss them in a bin as soon as they’re off the gangway? That seems the only sensible course of action to me, yet I find the same people who are all for neck pillows tend to be of the fill-the-bottle-save-the-whale persusion, so surely there must be another answer. Perhaps they continue to wear the pillows while visiting various destinations.
I don’t know, and I refuse to buy one and find out because over my dead body am I going to look that stupid in public. TSA finds enough ways to make us all look moronic in front of our fellow travelers; I see no reason to help them along.
Though on that front I should probably stop water-chugging in line. Or doing the thing I did yesterday where I wore a new skirt to fly in. The skirt has a decorative zipper that I joked would set off the alarm. Which it actually did. Who got caught by the metal detector? That would be me. And what did I do? Did I sheepishly shrug and move on?
No, I went, “Aha, the zipper! I knew it!” Then I proceeded to call to my husband,“I told you so! It was the zipper!” through the security line as the nice guard led me to the scanner, pausing only to point at her screen and go, “Zipper! See?”
It was quite an event, because I knew it would do that, I knew it, and I used to have a hair clip that did it, can you believe it? Such an event that I nearly forgot to fill my water bottle before we got on the flight. Can you believe it?
All in all, flying itself is something I love, just as I love sitting on a train, or riding shotgun in the car. Scenery does not become tiresome, and with the sandwiches I’ve secured in my purse, along with the water bottle, the can of Coke, the little baggie of chips, the container of carrot sticks, those two chocolates I brought along just because, and, oh yes, the other water bottle, travel can be a lovely, comfortable experience.
So long as you wear shoes you can run in, of course. Really, you can’t be too prepared.