"Ladies and Gentlemen This is Your Captain Speaking"
“Folks, we’ve just hit our cruising altitude of 11,000 feet. I’ve turned off the seat-belt light, which means you are now free to move about the cabin. However, for your own safety, please fasten it when you are seated, in case we encounter any unexpected turbulence, or I jerk the stick back and forth”.
Anyone who has ever flown has been privy to the soothing DJ’esque vibrations that all the sudden fill the atmosphere after about 20 minutes into flight. You are acutely aware of this especially if you failed to go to the little girls or boys’ room, as you scurried to your gate passing two “restrooms”, signs and thinking to yourself, “oh heck, I’ll just go when I get in the plane”. Surprise!
“You are free to move about the cabin”. aaah… at that precise moment those are the most comforting words in the English language. Better than grammas fresh baked cookies or snow on a Christmas morning.
There is something magical and sensational. Something wonderful, that is produced in us when we are granted permission. Let’s take a brief saunter through your adolescent years.
Now, giving away your age, locate a polaroid snapshot and capture the very essence of mom or dad saying, “Yes”, to a sleep over, the keys to the car, an extra serving of pie! Ok, you can come back now. I am aware of the freedom that those thoughts invoke and swiftly induce a volcanic amount of dopamine that will typically stretch your lips from ear to ear. ;)
Speaking of planes, I too, boarded one over two decades ago. A massive steel bird that seemed to carry an endless number of passengers. As far as I could see, it looked like hundreds of rows filled with people from all walks of life. Red, yellow, black and white.
Some appeared more liberated than others. Many were bound to their seats and others looked very ill, and lifeless.
I had just recently been offered yet another invitation to test out this airline. I remember hearing stories about disgruntled passengers spewing really negative reviews about their flight experience, the passengers and particularly, the pilots. It appears that one passenger claimed that as she entered the aircraft, one of the pilots failed to greet her? Offended, she vowed ardently to never again subject herself to such disrespectful, rude human beings.
She wondered, "why in the heck would they allow these narcissist men to be at the helm?"
I quickly reached for the tiny plastic baggy containing the airlines signature “airbuds” being extended to me. “Thank you, and I’ll have some peanuts with that please”, I muttered inside.
I often wonder, if when we exit the plane, do the flight attendants go around collecting these two-cent nano speakers and get a roll of plastic, a mini seal-meal, repackage them and hand them out to the next group of hominids? #eeeew
Nevertheless, I suspiciously insert them and commence scrolling through the host of movie selections. “Hmmm let’s see now, Braveheart, Monsters Inc, Jaws, Friday the 13th, Diehard, Police Academy, Cable Guy…. Jaws it is!”
Suddenly, it dawns on me that I am free to roam about the cabin. The Cap’n said so!
“But roam? That’s surely a misnomer if I ever heard one. How does one roam about the cabin? I don’t understand why they just don’t say”, “if you gotta go to the John, get up and go. If not keep your bums on your seat!”
What if I really did take “the Captain” up on his offer? What if I deliberately chose to believe that I was free and not confined to this seat cushion floating device? What if I stood up, stretched, and took a nice leisurely walk around the cabin, greeted a few folks and maybe even shook a hand or two? Perhaps even go out on a limb and invite one of the sickly-looking ones to roam with me? Nah, that’s way to scary. Besides, what would people think of me? Particularly those that appear to be shackled to their seat".
I can hear them now. "Who does he think he is, roaming around here like his peanuts are better than ours? pffft......oh he’ll see, just wait till we hit another row of speed bumps and he goes rolling down the aisle, we'll see how free to roam about he really is".
Truth be known, I’ve heard the Captain make this announcement many times over the last two decades and most of the time I sat there, motionless, gripped with fear. Soiling my own pants, on more than one occasion.
Parked in my herculon seat cushion, with a boot on my tire, I observed those that only had to hear the broadcast once, and they began to roam freely, and by their countenance, it appears they're enjoying it.
Regrettably, it wasn’t until a number of unnecessary costly flights that something remarkable happened. It’s like a giant ear plunger appeared out of nowhere? It attached itself to my hearing devices and removed the debris that was holding me hostage.
And honestly, I’m not always super crazy about the airline, the flight attendants, passengers nor the pilots, who by the way, on occasion seemed to be a bit stiff-necked.
But the one thing that makes my tail wag, is that I’ve decided until “the Captain”, asks me to return to my seat and put my seatbelt on, I am going to roam freely about the cabin and enjoy the flight.
The peanuts, meh, not so much........ ;)