[written during the 6 hour flight]
"Have you ever flown before?" asked the TSA. If I hadn't been so tired, I would have laughed.
Before we start, let's get on thing straight. I travel. A lot. In the span of 20 years, I've covered thousands of miles (possibly more than 100,000..I've lost count). But don't let me deceive you- I haven't been to many different places, just a lot of the same cities. I've never been west of Michigan, north of Niagra Falls, Canada, or south of Key West. This trip, however, has brought a few firsts.
I've spent a good amount of time on a plane these past two years; so much that the routine had grown monotonous. No, really. I've memorized the pre-boarding speech and the safety speech. Not to mention that I'm always at the window seat closest to the wing, so I have a fairly good idea of what's normal plane behavior. Is it any wonder why this flight in particular didn't worry me?
Well, this time around I had a layover in New York- a foreign airport but not a foreign concept. While sitting at the gate, the woman beside me noticed my card of Irish verbs. That thing is a conversation starter, let me tell you. Her and her daughter live in Dublin and so were curious as to what I will be doing during my stay. All of that, however, was just to lead up to what they really wanted to know. "Aren't you travelling with anyone?"
"No," I tell them, and watched them try to hide their concern. I know how ridiculous it must have sounded, to be going to a foreign country on my own...to get from Dublin to feckin' Galway without a companion. I wasn't afraid though; somehow the preachings I got from my fam triggered some sort of bravery (or more like a stubborn determination to show that I'm not like most people). At this point, I was still convinced that this was just like my other trips. Just longer.
Finally it came time to board. A brief, mild shock went though my system when I stepped inside. It was so...mòr! I'm sure that someone reading this is probably chuckling but some part of me was anticipating something closer to the size of a Boeing 737...not an Airbus 330. I made my way towards the back of the plane, taking my seat and securing the seatbelt around my hips. See? It's still the same. I could not, however, continue to lie to myself when the safety video came on. First of all, it was a video, not a stewardess making hand motions. Second of all, it didn't follow the script that I had familiarized myself with. It was at that moment that the truth finally broke through my consciousness. This is different. This is foreign to me on all levels- new country, no companion, no familiar person(s) waiting for me at baggage claim. And did I mention I have to catch a bus to take me from Dublin to Galway? Ok, maybe now I'm a little scared. Just how crazy am I?? I guess all I can say is...
Tapaigh an deis!