The Summer of 2002...

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The Hitchhiker Takes Flight

Anchorage. The word settled on my mind like a linebacker settles on a quarterback. I looked around the cabin and, to my comfort, the other passengers were going through the same epileptic fit that I was (except for Rob, who was distracted by a very attractive stewardess and had missed the announcement).

The Captain chirped back onto the speakers and, thoroughly delighted with himself, apologized for the joke. He reassured us that we were definitely going to San Antonio. Nobody laughed. He chuckled a bit more, and finally announced that we were indeed headed for Orlando. After that little spectacle, I seriously doubted if we would make it.

As I finally settled down to catch my breath, I suddenly realized how hard breathing had become. Those of you who have ever been in the middle seat on an airplane know what I’m talking about. Rob (who had the window seat) and I are both fairly tall guys, right around 200lbs. The gentleman who sat next to me eclipsed us, and we incidentally unleveled the jet. I attempted to sigh, but failed miserably. So I finally just plugged in my headphones to listen to some light jazz—this maneuver itself proved difficult with my arms pinned to my sides. After some intense wriggling I got the cord into the jack, and soon discovered that my channel button was stuck on something I could only identify as Swedish Rap. I unplugged the headphones.

The stewardess began passing out the snacks and drinks—and yes, I was in coach. She accidentally spilled a full cup of Pepsi on the lady sitting in front of me, who jumped up screaming, banged her head on the compartments, and cursed rather loudly. Although I felt sorry for the lady, I couldn’t help but be thankful that it actually wasn’t me this time! An obnoxious and annoying thing happened to someone, and it didn’t involve me!! Maybe my day was finally beginning to turn around!

“Sir, you may want to move your bag”.

The stewardess was pointing to my Pepsi-soaked carry-on that was under the seat in front of me. “Ah well”, I thought, “Nice while it lasted”. I moved my bag, asked for a Sprite, and sat back to see what would happen next.

Five minutes later I got hit in the back of the head with a pretzel.

30 seconds after that, I had visions of a small red-headed boy spiraling towards the Earth from the open hatch of the jet. I quickly dismissed these thoughts and turned to happier things, like monkeys.

As we got closer to Orlando I woke Rob up (he had been asleep since the Pepsi incident) and began gathering my stuff together. The Captain chuckled and said something over the intercom, but nobody listened to him. The plane landed without incident, and I peeled myself from the seat. The clumsy and attractive stewardess apologized to Rob for getting his bag wet, while she stepped on my toe. I finally made it down the runway bringing a pretty grouchy mood with me, and Rob and I went to the luggage claim.

I know what you’re thinking… “Now he won’t find his bags!” But they were actually there! I was surprised too, so I just decided I’d lose them on the way home and accepted it. We went to find a taxi, but as we were headed down the hall I heard a girl scream at me from across the room.

“I’ve been looking all over for you!! C’mon…I’m your ride to the hotel”.

Rob set off and followed her out the door, not realizing that I had no idea who she was.

Chapter Three...coming soon

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