It all began with some salted nuts. I fastened my safety belt, stowed my tray and tucked my ruby pleather bag underneath the seat in front of me, just as I was instructed. The flight attendants took their places, strapped like dynamite to their jump seats on the reverse of the pilots cabin, and so we began our taxi, leaving behind the Columbus International Airport.
Sometimes I say hello to the people I find myself next to, but on this evenings' flight, my seat neighbor didn't seem too warm nor bubbly, not like the guy behind me on the flight out, who'd slurped down three Jack Daniels just before meeting his wife and kids. And since I didn't have my usual window seat, I tried to make best of the new scenery. Lots of legs, shoes and a carpet lined aisle. Not that exciting. Now I'm remembering why I like the window seats best, but the lady doing Sudoku beat me to it. At least, I tell myself, I'm not the guy in the middle. And he had long legs too.
I said my usual "dear Lord, please guide the pilots, keep us safe" prayer, realising this prayer could be my last, and by 'amen' the plane was bumping along, leaving behind the men with orange batons and Velcro vests, so that they resembled Lite-Brite pegs on a runway box.
Opening my eyes from grace, fixed on the long center aisle, suddenly I felt like I was at a carnival or playing Plinko on the Price is Right. It was amazing. We were now airborne, and as our height and incline increased, so did all the stuff that came gushing down the aisle. Being a regular to the egg shaped, plexi-coated, body smudged window seat, I'd never before had this grand avalanche view- or the opportunity to fish for free bees. That's what it seemed like to me, like bobbing for apples. If you reached down with an open hand (or mouth) at just the right time, you might walk away with, say, a penny, a stick of gum, or maybe even a pen filled with ink. It was like reverse Skee-Ball.
Well tonight the grand prize was a pack of shiny blue peanuts. And I failed to win. (I'm still remorse over it all). And so it unfolded that since the peanut pack was indeed shiny like a rocket, and came crashing past me with such ferocious speed, it called out to me like an itch needing scratched. It was food, and I was hungry. The sky waitresses only pass out two blue packs of peanuts per person, and there are but 12, maybe 13, peanuts per pack. So this flights dinner, consisting of 26 peanuts, was looking scamp, and I welcomed any extra rations.
And so the peanut pack came to a stop catercorner across the aisle from me, under the seat of a boy wearing a baseball cap. And there it sat, next to the sole of his shoe, like it was camped out for the night- ready to toast marshmallows and join in the kumbayas. Since the peanuts were now officially the boy's, (since they were touching his shoes), it seemed wrong to reach across the aisle (so that everyone behind me could see) and take the peanuts from the sole they'd just befriended. Sadly all I could do was glance in their direction, and convince myself that they were perhaps already eaten. It was surely an empty pack of peanuts that had answered gravities call.
But right when I thought the fun house was over, the games all played and prizes passed out, out of nowhere, this canary-yellow Mentos looking thing came cruising down the aisle at optimum speed- right in my direction. I saw it coming from about seat 7B and I was all the way back at 13C. The whole thing, mainly my imagination, was too much to handle, and at this point I let out an audible laugh. I suppose I imagined that the small yellow pod was indeed a miniature space craft, space rider inside, and had just tumbled in from a far away galaxy, and into our own, and for whatever reason this was real funny to me. (I think the guy in the middle was thinking I was rather odd at this point-that I was staring blankly to the aisle, giggling to myself). But I tried not to draw attention to the fun that was undoing itself in the aisle, and instead told myself that the other passengers would think I was just a funny gal with a funny laugh.
Perhaps what made the whole Mentos spaceship thing so hilarious, was that it seemed that no one else on the plane even noticed. Here, this small yellow mint had reached such velocity, such impeccable speed, (and even dodged carry-ons, stowed underneath) and tumbled all the way, light years away, to six-seats-from-home. And landed at the base of my booted right heel. But no one else was laughing, nor was a soul cheering, so this made me, the lone cheerer, audience of one, laugh even harder.
And like the shiny blue pack and the boy with the cap, the mint nestled to my sole, as if it waned to take a nap! But what fun is that? So, with a tilt of my heel, or a click like Dorothy, I set the pod free and it soared all the way to 33B. And there it sits, a cage bird freed, and I just can't stop laughing here at 13C.