Thoughts from a westbound plane

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I’m aware that since I’m in “airplane mode” that by the time I actually manage to get this posted, I’ll no longer be ON a plane, simply working my new six-day life as an island girl.

That said, as of right now, the moment my fingers fly across the keys of my battered MacBook, I have a lot of thoughts about this exceedingly westbound plane.

First. Looking out the window is boring.

We’re flying so freaking high that all I can see are clouds. And I know that if I didn’t see clouds, I’d see only ocean. A lot of ocean.

I think I’d rather see clouds. If I consider the vast miles of ocean, and me up here in a sardine can with wings, I might go a little buggy. Since this here flight is due to last some five hours, that’s a LOT of spare time in which to go buggy.

So I’ll refrain.

Next.

When did the airlines start cheaping out so much? Remember when you’d receive packets of snacks for no charge? And headphones too so you could watch the movie as you slide down the window shade and try to imagine the patchwork quilty American Midwest below your feet instead of vast chilly salty waters?

Remember when you didn’t have to have a credit card so you could check your luggage?

Remember when the flight attendants and crew were actually nice?

Remember when people used to dress up to travel?

Ah. Memories of a bygone era.

My white-haired Irish grandmother in a fur collared overcoat and perfect lipstick descending the metal stairs from a plane parked outside the Albuquerque International Airport. Impossibly glamorous to a sun browned hick kid from the desert.

It left a lasting impression.

On to the next thoughts…I get it that I’m going to a tourist destination. Sure. But the abject marketing of product at every turn is a bit more than I can take.

Sure, money makes the world go round. But it’s also what got my ass elevated to 35,000 feet. I’ve paid my dues already. Haven’t I?

As they play this “Hawai’ian Skies” video highlighting all the charms of my destination, they keep pausing to play Hawaiian Airlines ads. I give. You got me. I’m here. You have my money. I don’t. Quit marketing to me!

Oh no, but there’s a Hilo Hattie coupon on my food tray, an on-flight magazine chock-a-block full of “Buy this! See this! Do this! Only this many dollars!”

Dude. Mr. Jones took most of my money. I’m doin’ what I can already!

Next thought.

When I sat down, there was this young punk looking kid at the other end of the row. Like straight outta Compton-wannabe-ville. You know the type. Hat turned, thick gold-plated zirconium bling, chest bowed out fussin’ and fumin’.

I thought “oh geez…five hours with this?”

Until across the aisle plopped down a mom and a dad.

How hard must it be to represent when mommy and daddy just bought you a turkey sandwich so little Johnny won’t be hungry?

Whatevs.

Click, click…what next?

Here’s a thought. If you are *going* to Hawaii and while on the plane you are wearing a tee shirt that *says* Hawaii…then I’m pretty sure you are a tourist.

I’m just sayin’.

The guy pulling this stunt is huge and sort of angry looking. So I won’t say.

But I’ll think it. Ooooh I’ll think it real good.

One woman is also already wearing coconut smelling lotion or sunscreen or something. She smells like the swimming pool at the Dunes in Vegas, and not in a good way (The Dunes, RIP, you were a fabulous schlocky hotel).

Can ya wait to get there to put that crap on? Evidently no.

Next!

I read a pretty interesting article in the in flight magazine about a guy who grows avocados in Hawaii. Evidently these local avocados are delightful.

The article mentioned that your traditional California Hass avocado is about 8% fat and the Hawaiian avocado is more like 25% fat.

The grower said, “it’s like eating butter.”

Where can I sign up?

Evidently most groceries in Hawaii ship in California Hass. You can’t get the local stuff (it’s looked down upon, oddly).

Maybe there will be a farmer’s market nearby? The grower mentioned in the article lives near where I’m headed.

Journey to a Good Avocado.

Now THAT is worth the trip.

Next thought.

Hawaiian words. Will I be expected to know them and use them?

Will I be branded a moron for not knowing the vernacular?

Mele Kaliki Maka is about my limit. Thanks Bing for putting that one into my brain. I imagine saying Merry Christmas to the locals won’t put me in any good stead.

Mahalo. I can probably work that one.

But what about aloha? When does one use that? It’s sort of a one size fits all word. Is there ever a wrong time to use it? Will I whip out an aloha and get frowny eyes in return?

Is it like when the pimply web designer at work tries to talk Spanish to the girl who makes espresso drinks? She tolerates him mangling her native tongue because, why bother correcting him, really.

What’s the right way not to insult locals? To attempt the language or to refrain?

It is to wonder.

Next.

Well. I’m only two hours into this flight. Not even half way. My right leg is already bouncing and I’m itching to stand.

Have I mentioned I actually dislike flights that go more than a couple hours? When I went to New York, I was so worried about my buggy feelings that I packed an art project to keep me busy. Worked pretty well, actually. My seat mate wasn’t too impressed with my cross-stitch craftsmanship, but what’s a cranky businessman got to do with it?

I brought along a book. After hearing, well, EVERYONE talking about this young adult series “Twilight“, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

I’m a veteran of the “young adult” genre, Harry Potter, Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series (from which the movie “The Golden Compass” was born), and more.

All the ladies of about my age range are twittering about “Twilight”. A vampire love story, I believe.

It’s a thick tome, some 481 pages. I thought that would be sufficient to fascinate me for five hours.

And if that worked, I wouldn’t be writing this, now would I?

Final thought.

I have to pee.

Man I hate peeing on an airplane.

I can hold it for three hours or I can just cowboy up and get ‘er done.

Not the most erudite way to end this missive.

Ah well. I’ll try to be a little classier when I descend from this plane in Honolulu, channeling my Irish grandma and pretending I’m actually a grownup.

Mahalo, aloha and Mele Kaliki Maka to everyone!

This just in…I have wrongly accused the coconut smelling woman. Turns out it’s the soap in the bathroom. Great…now the whole plane smells like the swimming pool at the Dunes. Ugh.

So…what did YOU do for the Fourth?

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How was your holiday? Didja do something nice? Fun? Cool as heck?

Yeah, how did that bbqpoolkidsfamilymomanddadhotdogsfireworksinthebackyard turn out?

Good? Great, happy to hear it!

My Fourth? Well.

The day was mostly quiet. As the sun was setting, that’s when it got interesting.

The evening kicked off, well, here:

That’s the, uh, San Carlos Airport.

And those there are, uh, you know, your standard issue Cessna type aeroplanes.

See…our next-door neighbor is a pilot. He started in the military then had a career piloting the “vomit comet” for NASA.

These days he’s semi-retired, making money by piloting incredibly expensive Gulf Stream and Eclipse jets for the Bay Area wealthy.

So an offer was made to The Good Man and me…see, he’d rented a plane for the evening…wanna go see fireworks from up there?

Yes! YES WE DO!

And we did!

Our original course was the big show in San Francisco.

However, San Francisco being what it is…this is what it looked like up there.

Gorgeous sunset. But miles and miles of fog. Not so swell for watching fireworks.

We headed down the peninsula, intent on taking in the fireworks near the much clearer San Jose, at the Great America amusement park.

Problem is, Great America is in the San Jose Airport airspace, and they don’t think weekend fireworks cruisers are all that interesting. Humorless, they are, as they keep busy landing and taking off a near steady stream of commercial airliners.

So we headed back up to mid-peninsula in took in the smaller shows in Redwood City and Foster City.

You ain’t never seen fireworks until you’ve seen them from up there.

Wow.

Can’t offer much in the way of fireworks photos. Between it being dark and the motion of the plane, none turned out. But damn…it’s amazing to see!

Oh, and the ol’ “vomit comet” pilot showed us what just two G’s feels like (fighter pilots get up to 9).

Feels like getting out of the damn plane and walking around on the ground again, please!

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I had a cooler Fourth of July than you did….:)