December 12, 2004

If Llamas Were Meant To Fly, They'd Have Wings

As regular readers know, I really hate flying. Coming back from Mobile on Friday, I think the gods decided to set me up for some extra torment.

First, the flight from Mobile to Atlanta was packed solid. I had a middle seat and was squished in between two perfectly enormous fat guys, one of whom needed one of those Mr. Chubby Belt-Extention things in order to strap himself in. Now I happen to be a pretty thin guy, so our row rather resembled a slice of beef sandwiched between two halves of a loaf of French bread. I literally could not move from side to side. This has happened so many times to me and other people I know that I'm pretty sure the airlines have a secret database somewhere in which they keep track of repeat passengers, marking them as thin, regular and extra-chunky, and manipulating their seat assignments so as to maximize this kind of arrangement. (After all, a third fat guy simply would not have fit in my seat, nor could the three of us have been placed in any other arrangement.)

These two fat guys overflowed their seats and, of course, utterly covered both of my arm rests. This was awful, as to me, the arm rest is the single most important piece of equipment on the plane. As apparently only I understand, it is only my constant clutching of said arm rest that keeps the wings from falling off. Without it, I had nothing to hang on to other than my seatbelt buckle.

And damme if I didn't need to clutch extra hard, because this was one of those flights where the pilot even makes the stewardesses sit down. The slightest amount of turbulance gives me the willies. The extra bounce here had me praying pretty vigorously.

Arriving in Atlanta, I discovered that my flight to Dee Cee had been cancelled and that I'd been rebooked on another one leaving an hour later. This was actually good news, as the flight I was supposed to take was one of those little Canadian regional jets and I had been assigned a window seat (me no like), and the later flight was a gen-u-ine grown up airliner. (My rule of thumb is that any plane in which I can see peripherally out the window on both sides at once is too small.) Also, the extra hour gave the weather a chance to push farther out of the way.

Nonetheless, our take-off from Atlanta was posivitely beastly, real "Throat, meet stomach. Stomach, this is throat" time. Somehow or other, it didn't bother me so much as the bumps from the previous flight. Perhaps by that time I had finally reached the stage of exhaustion where I simply didn't give a damn anymore.

I will say that the rest of the flight up from Atlanta was fine. We had a strong tailwind, which means we zipped up in just over an hour. I had a bulkhead aisle seat next to some skinny kid, leaving both armrests at my disposal, and the landing in Dee Cee was extremely smooth. By that time, however, I had pretty much come to the end of my tether. I'd eaten nothing all day, and I hadn't even had any coffee until we reached Atlanta. I tried to go to a party after I got back to my house - they immediately sent me home because I looked so exhausted.

One of these days I'm going to work out the formula to calculate the number of minutes knocked off my life per air mile due to the stress. I'll bet it's pretty high.

Posted by Robert at December 12, 2004 11:21 AM

The armrests are important, but more important is a hip flask brimming with Jack Daniels. This makes even the armrests superfluous.

And, it turns the tables on the big guys. If you're passed out and they're on your armrest, they have to tolerate your sleep slobber on their sleeves. FAA rule.

Posted by: Colossus at December 12, 2004 03:00 PM

Oh my, Robert. Whew- I understand your flying fretting, I used to be the same way, but have had to fly so much since we moved out here, that I have gotten over it. A tiny bit, anyway.

I still request an emergency exit row (I am thin, but strong), a seat over the wing, or in the very back because I have read that people who survive cr*$hes were sitting in those spots.

I also travel wearing jeans and tennis shoes and 100% cotton clothing. I will step on heads to get out if I have to, as well as help a few little old ladies or babies along. I have long hair, so I keep an elastic and my denim ball cap in my carry-on bag so I can quickly get my hair out of the way.

So, see, I am not so paranoid anymore....

P.S. I believe enormous fat guys prefer to be called portly ;)

Posted by: Rae at December 13, 2004 01:23 AM

We meet elsewhere online but I was going to say
"That's what you get for naming this blog 'The Llama Butchers!" You know how much I hate that!


Posted by: firstbrokenangel at December 14, 2004 02:57 PM

Actually that comment should have been aimed more at Steve.

At least you get to fly; I step in llama shit all day.

have a nice day!


Posted by: firstbrokenangel at December 14, 2004 03:01 PM

Oh, sorry, I misread and thought that Robert posted it.

O.K. Steve, read the comment, it's for you :D

P.S. Steve and/or Robert, please send me your e-mail addy so that I can offer you the possibility of guest blogging for me.

Posted by: Rae at December 14, 2004 03:05 PM

Naw, that was my post. It sounds like you're way out in front of me on these things. As for email, it's llamabutchers -at- We're very flattered that you might let us guest post. Hehehe.

(I dunno who Cindy is, but I expect she's one of Steve-O's groupies.)

Posted by: Robert the LB at December 14, 2004 03:20 PM

Nope, Robert but I've run into Steve several times on other blogs and I always mention I hate the name of this blog and I just give him llama shit about it. Maybe that's because I own, raise, breed llamas and it's damn hard work!! I'm all over the place sort of like llama shit in my yard and have run into him on Wizbang or mypetjawa with Rusty, but you guys really don't know me - which is your loss. :-) I'm no groupie either just a main commentator in lots of places, some more than others. I receive some nice email and have even received hate mail for someone without a blog so I've been around awhile. Now I also leave my name. I responded seriously down below as the blogosphere was giving you guys a hard time about "gays" and gave Rusty a new one about being "homophobic." :-) He's had way too much time on his hands lately.

Have a good holiday!


Posted by: firstbrokenangel at December 16, 2004 03:49 PM
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