A Moment of Reflection: Travel

03 Aug

Today has been a harrowing day and yet in this moment I find a moment of forced pause to consider recent events. Last week I took a trip with my parents to Orlando, FL. I had not been there in over a decade and honestly could not recall what it had been like to ever fly into its airport. Being the germaphobe anti-social person that I am I was immediately taken by the many people who coughed, sneezed, and were out in public. While most of the people I saw were in the Atlanta airport, I did feel like everywhere that I touched or came in contact with could give me some sort of disease. Am I strange in my fear of being sick? My brother says that I’m a hypochondriac however, I seemingly get sick at the drop of a hat. If I am sneezed upon or in the general area of someone who is ill I will catch it or something worse within a day or two of exposure. I certainly don’t think that that’s being a hypochondriac.

As I pass individuals cough or sneeze you will likely find that I will hold my breath until I feel that the immediate threat of exposure has passed. I realize how silly it is but I do it. I’ll hold my breath and then if possible, try to exhale prior to again inhaling in the hopes of pushing the toxins even farther away from me. And when in public settings such as airports, airplanes, or theme parks I seem to have an even more critical eye to people. That’s the case with everyone, not just some. I don’t want to be touched or spoken to too closely for fear of contracting a cold or something worse. I know, my behavior and perception of things are a bit skewed, but that’s just how it is. Maybe it’s just that I am more attuned to people hacking or sniffling when I’m walking around Jesus Land, oh sorry, Holy Land. Maybe I should pray that they are in better health soon.

Since before I was a year old I have been a frequent flyer. Having spent my childhood in Jamaica and going back and forth to New York and then Georgia, I’ve racked up a lot of miles (I wish they were actual frequent flyer miles). What I learned on this last plane ride is that while I don’t like flying, I don’t mind short trips that are no more than an hour or so. Considering how one is sardined into a seat with stagnant air, offensive odors, loud children, loud adults, inconsiderate people, etc. the less time I spend on the plane the better. And I never recline the seat. That’s just rude. I don’t care to be in the lap of the person behind me. Sadly, it’s rare that I travel in first class as I’m sure my phobias and eccentricities are better suited for it. As such, I completely understand the need and desire for others to do so. If I could afford it, I wouldn’t travel any other way.

In our short flights we were seated near the wing of the plane and sadly waited quite some time before getting offered something to drink and a few peanuts. Why serve peanuts when it’s such a common allergy?! I personally don’t like peanuts unless they’re in a Snickers bar. Long gone are the days of meals on flights. I loved those days. I never thought they’d ever be over. Nor did I ever think that you’d be expected to pay for carrying luggage with you on a trip. Isn’t that kind of the point? Am I to go naked? Shouldn’t that be built into the price of the ticket? It’s as Alanis says, isn’t it ironic? You’re charged an extra charge for something that is already an expectation or arguably a necessity when one has to take a trip on a plane.

In a few short days I’ll be heading to Jamaica and with the over two-hour flight filled with no meal and the aforementioned individuals and situations, I’m not too thrilled about the trip there. While I’m sure the destination will be wonderful (it usually is), the journey will be wrought with my feeble attempts to somehow be superhuman and dodge all the germs along the way.

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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Web Exclusive


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