A Faint Odor
A Faint Odor
Today during my flight home to Chicago the gentleman next to me ordered a Jack and Coke. With the exception of Jose, Jack is my least favorite man in a glass. I immediately panicked, wondering how long the odor of my neighbor's whisky would be wafting above our seats, stinging my nose and tickling my gag reflex. Thankfully, the man worked swiftly, finishing the putrid mixture in mere moments. Unfortunately, he decided to have another. The minutes of pure horror I experienced, stuck in my flying cubicle of alcohol-imbued doom, reminded me of another top-notch flying experience…
About three years ago, I surprised my then-boyfriend-ish-thing with tickets to a Counting Crows show for Christmas.The show was the night before I was to fly home to Chicago, and we had a grand ol' time. When we returned to our car I discovered the first sign that fate wasn't on my side. I, in atypical Spain fashion, had left the lights of the car on all night, so we returned to a dead battery. Problem solved--we convinced a hippie with a heart of gold to jump the car in the parking lot. Success! Next stop, O'Briens in Santa Monica. Well on our way to wasted already, I somehow engaged in conversation with a guy at the bar, who I apparently challenged to an Irish-car-bomb-off. He bought the drinks, and I lost miserably, as speed-drinking a Guinness for me is equivalent to trying to chug a cold can of black bean soup. Things got a bit fuzzy from there on out, but apparently my boyfriend-thing decided he'd keep the competition going with another round…or three…
Cut to the next morning. My alarm apparently failed to break through the steel-walled keg of my brain at 8:15am and I awoke to see the clock reading 9:30. I jumped out of bed. I was going to be late. Very late. Still drunk--in fact, still absolutely hammered, I shoved the last couple things in my bag and we rushed out the door. I arrived at LAX, smelling of booze, looking like a Vegas hooker after a long New Year's night of work. I dragged myself through an hour-long line at security, electing not to check anything--even the extremely heavy, barely-carry-on-sized bag I had. Nauseaus, parched, dizzy, confused, and winded from running through the airport with all my bags, I arrived at my terminal with less than 5 minutes to spare. I got directly on the plane, no food, no water, no bathroom stop, still breathing heavily. As we prepared to take off I put my head down, trying to stop the spinning and trying to convince myself that I wasn't going to throw up.
I wanted liquid so badly I would have squeezed the sweat out of my shirt and drank it. As soon as we began our ascent I could ask the stewardess for some water, but it would be rude to trouble her now, while preparing for take off, right? Right. So I tried to keep it together, breathing slowly as the plane started to take off. Finally, I decided I was, actually, going to vomit all over myself, and I needed to get to the bathrom, stat. I was in the aisle seat, so I stood up, took one step...and fainted. I woke up lying on the floor of the aisle, no idea where I was or why I was lying there. Not surprisingly, everyone was staring at me. The stewardess had to help me back to my seat, whereupon I was asked a series of questions to confirm to the airline, and anyone within earshot, that I was, in fact, an alcoholic and therefore not planning on blaming the airline for the mishap.
Yes, I was drinking last night. No, I haven't been drinking this morning, it's 10:40am. Yes, I would like you to bring me some water and an oxygen tank. Yes, I would like for the girl sitting next to me to let you know when the tank is empty and a new one should be brought over. And yes, I would like to spend the next 4 hours and 20 minutes passed out in a heap on my tray-table, mask properly placed over my mouth and oxygen tank resting securely on my lap.
I will never. Ever. Get that hammered before a flight again. Probably.
© 2006 Sarah Spain