On a Wing and a Prayer

1 Jun

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been away (well, I hope you have). Yes I was doing that Workin’ for a Living thing. I was definitely not working 9 – 5 nor was I working on the Chain Gang. Then I started my vacation and I was workin’ out (note to self – contrary to popular belief, calories do count even while at sea). After that I was workin’ it out (and by that I mean my vacation plans). And that takes me to where I am now. Sitting in seat 10A at 33,000 feet.

Everyone asks me where I go on vacation. My usual answer is home (as now that I saved my house, I never seem to be there). Well, this time I’ve done something different. It’s time for an adventure. Today’s adventure, brought to you courtesy of my birthday, is a trip to England and New York.

It’s impossible to plan a vacation while I’m on board the ship due to the ridiculous amount of hours I work and the Internet that’s slower than dial up (and by that I mean if dial up used an old rotary dial phone – man, if somebody had a couple of 9’s in their number you just didn’t even bother calling). I had to wait until I was on vacation to plan my vacation. When I looked at the airfares I was blown away. Between business trips and using frequent flyer miles I didn’t realize that airfares cost as much as a new car. Luckily I have friends in high places. And by that I mean literally, as my friend is a pilot (can you say Guest Pass?). Here’s the adventure part. For the small price of $679 I am flying stand-by. What could go wrong?

I arrive at the airport at 7:00am, 2 hours ahead of my (hopefully) scheduled flight. My first flight of this adventure was the only one I thought might be a problem. Still with 5 available seats, I’m listed as 2nd in line on the stand-by list. That is until the airline decides to send a plane that seats 150 people instead of the scheduled one with 190 seats. They are actually looking for 27 people to volunteer to take later flights. No worries as, smart traveler that I am, I booked this flight knowing there were 2 other flights that would get me to Philly to get my connection. Unfortunately, even Steven Hawking couldn’t make the numbers work with that first flight bumping so many.

Please understand, I realize that flying stand-by is a risk. I was prepared for an adventure. When I took theatre classes in school they taught us the first rule of improvisation – say yes to everything. Improv, after all, is an adventure. I figured that whatever happened was meant to. I once read a quote that said, “Life can be as simple as falling.” I’m really good at falling so life should be a breeze.

So, with the first flight being so messed up, it’s now seemingly affected every flight of the day. I call my friend to ask her if she can pick me up from the airport if my great adventure simply ends up being an adventure going through airport security all the way to gate B15 and gate A32 (nice, but I think I overpacked). So, here I am, standing at the gate after finding out I’m 12th on the stand-by list. Hhhhmmm, not lookin” so good. I flirt with a pilot hoping he can use some pull to get me in a jump seat. No go. Must be gay. The gate agents are announcing names of people missing. I internally shush them and tell them they shouldn’t look so hard for these folks (yes, I’m going to hell).

There are 6 of us standing at the counter anxiously waiting for them to cancel the missing people’s seats. The agents say they have 3 or 4 seats depending on if the guy standing to the side gets on the flight. He says he’s deciding (what the $&@#?).

Then the most amazing thing happens – a woman approaches me and says that she is also flying stand-by and, if her name is called, I can have her seat. Wait, what? Surely I must have heard wrong. This being an adventure I have vowed not to get upset (read cry) if things don’t work out as planned. But really, what? I find myself crying. I don’t believe I’m crying because I got on the flight (shallow as I might be at times). I cry because you don’t often see kind gestures like this. I thank her and hug her. And yes, I am sitting in seat 10A and she is sitting in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

I’m not sure if I should offer her some money or if that would be insulting (maybe some lunch money would have been nice). I suddenly feel the need to justify to her that she’s done a good deed for someone who not only appreciates it immensely, but, who will pay it forward (uh oh, I think we know where this may be going). So I give her my card and direct her to the Rebel-With-A-Cause.org site. I ask her name and, although she tells me, I’m so overcome that it doesn’t register. I think she would understand, as I do, that it’s not important that people remember your name, but that they remember your deeds.

So, this is the beginning of an Adventure (yeh, with a capital “A”). I’ll put away the iPad now (uh-huh, I caved and bought one) as we’re getting ready to land and, apparently if I leave it on I will cause a blackout in Tokyo or something. Oh, I just let the girl next to me in the middle seat use my pillow (a small start on the paying it forward thing). Stay tuned.

Read on in “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?”

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6 Responses to “On a Wing and a Prayer”

  1. Shaunah June 4, 2012 at 8:30 AM #

    Did you ever find out why she gave you her seat?

    • Carole B. Rosenblat June 4, 2012 at 10:44 AM #

      Stand by for the next article “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood” for an update.

  2. Kimberley Dobbins June 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM #

    “I flirt with a pilot hoping he can use some pull to get me in a jump seat. No go. Must be gay. The gate agents are announcing names of people missing. I internally shush them and tell them they shouldn’t look so hard for these folks (yes, I’m going to hell).”

    we must be twins separated at birth!! Been there… done it… and got angry when they called the names a million times!! 🙂 I hope you are having a blast! I

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. My Own Adventure - March 23, 2013

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  3. Overcoming My Fear of Flying | My Own Adventure - June 13, 2013

    […] (with clients) on a birthday a few years ago. And last year I did my birthday trip to England (read On A Wing and a Prayer) and then flew to New York to celebrate the day with my oldest […]

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