My travel life consists of planes, trains, and automobiles. Though lately, planes have been more prominent. For the most part, I want my layovers to be as minimal as possible. With them long enough to use the facilities, get a quick snack or drink, and time to get to my next gate without killing myself and those around me. The problem with this plan arises when the airlines don’t stick to their schedules and the first leg of my trip is delayed. My otherwise determined stroll through the airport becomes an all out race against time plowing through the crowd as if my life depended on my getting on that next plane. When this happens, and it always does, using the facilities and grabbing a quick snack are thrown out the window. I am stuck with whatever is available on the plane – pretzels, peanuts, or cookies, unless I am fortunate enough to get bumped up to first class.
By the time the flight attendants come around with their carts bumping the passengers as they go by, I am dying of thirst and hungry. My drink of choice is either sprite or water, unless I’m in Delta Comfort or first class which it would be a screwdriver. My snack of choice is always the peanuts, though why bother on the snack since there are like 5 nuts in the bag. It’s just enough to take you from just hungry to starvation.
I have been on one or two flights recently where peanuts were not an option at all due to a passenger having a nut allergy. Sometimes we learn of this just by there not being peanuts as an option. Other times, the flight attendant will make an announcement and you will hear the entire plane groan in unison. It makes me think peanuts are the snack of choice.
Anyone who flies routinely or has listened to the stories of my adventures, knows that peanuts are not the only “nuts” on the plane. The airports are full of them. I seem to run into at least one on every trip. I have two working theories on this 1) I have a “nut” magnet floating in my body somewhere, because they seem to be attracted to me, and 2) there are more “nuts” than there are normal people and they are breeding like rabbits.
Through the years, I have learned not to make eye contact or engage in small talk with anyone in the airport. This gives those “nuts” an open invitation to invade my space and my sanity with stories of their pain, anguish, and bodily functions. Now when I say bodily functions, I am absolutely telling the truth. Several years ago during a period when I appeared much more reticent for strange conversation (I left my headphones at home) a lady shared with me her daily battle with Crohn’s disease and IBB in extremely graphic detail for the entire flight. I learned more about those awful conditions than I ever care to know. I have to say I didn’t need the peanuts that day.
The other thing I have learned about the “nuts” on the plane is there are three basic kinds of “nuts”:
- Chatty-Kathy Nuts who tend to be fairly harmless but feel the need to tell you about everything they are experiencing, their inner most thoughts, desires, wants, needs, dislikes, and medical conditions.
- Rude and Obnoxious Nuts who tend to believe the world belongs to them and everyone else is breathing to serve them and the rules don’t apply to them.
- Dangerous and Psychotic Nuts who have violent outbursts (physical or emotional) and should not be allowed on a plane at all.
Unfortunately, I have encountered all three more than I ever care to remember. Now that I make sure I have at least two pairs of headphones at all times, I don’t encounter the Chatty-Kathy nuts that often because they are looking for people who appear open to conversation. I keep my headphones in at all times, whether I am listening to music or not specifically to ward off the Chatty-Kathy nuts.
I seem to run into the Rude and Obnoxious Nuts the most often. There was one time I was sitting at a table in the New Orleans airport eating lunch when a man approached me and demanded that I give up my table so his family could sit down. Mind you, there were at least ten EMPTY tables in the same area. There was another instance when I was on a plane sitting between a lady and her 5-year-old daughter. She had to have the aisle and her daughter the window. I was forced into passing things between the mother and daughter for the entire flight and having the child climb over me a couple of time to give her mom a hug. At the end of that flight, the lady asked if I could pack her daughter’s belongings since I was sitting closer to the child (not by choice I can assure you!!)
I have only run into the Dangerous and Psychotic nuts on one occasion, which was back in August of this year. I was sitting on the plane getting ready to land in West Palm Beach. The guy sitting next to me reared back and elbowed me in the side. This wasn’t an accident. This was a full on assault for which I did absolutely nothing to deserve. I had not said one word to this guy the entire flight. I hadn’t even looked his way. I was merely sitting in my seat working on my laptop the entire flight, when out of the blue, he hit me with such force that it took my breath and brought tears to my eyes. We were within minutes of landing and I told him that when we landed, my husband (who was meeting my flight) was going to kick his a$$ and then I was going to have him arrested for assault. Needless to say, he bolted like a yellow-bellied coward. I ended up with cracked ribs and am still in pain two months later.
Last night, I ended yet another adventure where I encountered a “nut”. I was standing in baggage claim enjoying my husband’s presence and a gentleman walked up and randomly started talking to us about a plane crash occurring in 1977 killing 29 members of the University of Evansville basketball team. I looked this up when I got home and it was a horrible tragedy, but I am perplexed at why this guy felt the need to share this with total strangers.
My travels this past week took me Dallas. While I had been to Dallas on business many years ago, this was my second trip in as many months. Both times, I encountered travel issues more of my own making, for once. A couple of months ago, I ended up trying to check into the wrong airport. I was flying out of Love Field but trying to check into DFW. The Delta agent was quite amused when I proceeded to argue with him that his computer was as messed up as was the entire airline industry…OOPS!!! I ended up taking a cab to the right airport and caught my flight by the skin of my teeth. My latest issue with Dallas travel happened just last night. This time I actually got to the right airport, but boarded the wrong bus to the wrong terminal. The bus driver asked me what gate I was going to. I replied “E17”. He then asked what airline. I replied “Delta”. He tried to tell me I was going to “American”. I’m like “No, I’m going to Delta”. After going back and forth for a few minutes I realized he was telling me the bus was going to the terminal for American Airlines (terminal D) and not Delta (Terminal E).
This helped me realize that there is a fourth type of “nut. The Brain-dead and Air-head Nut whose travel exhaustion sometimes prevents her brain from comprehending common sense situations which results in the “nut” feeling like she is always in the twilight zone.
The last time the flight attendant mad the announcement of a passenger with a nut allergy on board, I wondered what would happen if I called Delta an explained that I had a different type of “nut” allergy and if they could remove the other types of “nuts” from the plane. Then I realized the plane would be empty and I wouldn’t be flying either, because I am one of those “nuts” on the plane. You gotta love the live of a traveler!!