Friday, February 4, 2011

The Mother Load

You don't get a vacation from being a mom. Even when you're on vacation. Maybe even, especially on vacation. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. Starting with the airplane ride.

I'm not afraid of flying. At least, not per se. But it doesn't make me feel very good when:

-in the boarding area an air traffic personnel person tells me, chirpily, that we'll commence boarding right away. They're just fixing our plane's flat tires.

-once we board, the captain announces that we'll spend a good deal of time de icing the plane. And a distant memory surfaced. Somewhere, sometime, I remember watching on TV- maybe an episode of Mythbusters, I couldnt' be sure- but something along the lines of even a tiny little drop of ice or condensation of the wing of the airplane could bring the whole thing down. I look at my kids, who are innocently and happily licking their lollipops, which were for take off. "I can't wait to take off!" Payton tells me. "Mmm Hmmm," I reply, absently, still watching the crew spray some sort of chemical on the wings. I hope they get it all, I think.

-The flight attendant approaches me and says, again chirpily- why are they always so chirpy?- that "the captain has decided to make this a four hour flight instead of five and a half. So I thought I should give you the heads up that you might want to keep your kids seat belts fastened for the duration of the flight. I'm expecting a really bumpy ride." I force a smile and nod.

Fucking awesome. Our pilot has apparently decided to go Kamikaze on us. Thanks for keeping me in the loop. Maybe I would rather not know that, I think, as my heart rate begins to speed up. I glance again at my kids, still licking their lollipops. For some reason it wrenches my heart to see them like that. So blissfully unaware of my deepening unease. I begin to wonder if my unease is a sign. Something more than just a feeling.

An intuition.
A premonition.
My heart rate speeds up again. And I think what if...
I have a sudden vision of the cabin losing pressure. Oxygen masks deploying. The children looking at me, eyes wide with fear. And I just know that I wouldn't be able to put my own mask on before helping them. The one thing you're supposed to do in an emergency and I don't think I could do it.
The engine revs, and the kids look at me with anticipation. "Here we go," Payton says.
"Here we go," I say. For better or worse, here we go.
And the thought occurs to me: I wonder if they keep on Valium on here- for emergency purposes? I mean, what if someone has a panic attack while they're on board? It's not like you can get off. All they offer is a barf bag?

But that flight wasn't bumpy at all!
In fact, the worst thing that happened was the in flight movie was Eat, Pray, Love. And that was pretty bad.
I was almost wishing that the plane would go down.

Anyways. That feeling cropped up, on and off during the vacation. We got to our suite on the third floor. I felt a lot better about that one than the one that was practically inside the parking lot (AKA possible crime scene.) Until I went out on the balcony. What if?

 I thought as I looked at the table and chairs that were near the railing. Knowing Alex he would try to...
"Keep this door locked when we're not out here," I told Geoff.
Maybe, but bad things do happen, even in paradise. That thought was never far from my mind. I thought of Madeiline McCann often.

And of course, it doesn't help when I meet up with some kook in the hallway (at least I'm hoping she was a kook) who tells me that the hotel has MAJOR security issues. She emphasizes the word major so much that it actually becomes two words. May and Jor. Apparently, the staff is all corrupt and the maids are in it with the security guards and they communicate everything on two way radios- who's in what room, when they're in or out of their room, what kind of stuff they have in their rooms. It was hard to believe that Bertha, our maid, who was about seventy years old, who walked with a limp and had a dowagers hump, could be plotting against me. But then again- you never know.
And not only that, but the locals (read: drug cartell) can and do watch the movements of everyone on the third floor because the shrubbery doesn't go up that high and there's a clear view to the interior of the rooms. "Just keep your shades down," she said. "And you should be all right." Emphasis on should.

And so I felt, among other things, when I got home a sense of profound relief that we were all home and we were all safe. Payton had a slight sunburn on her cheeks. Alex had gotten a rash from his bracelet. Other than that, we had survived, unscathed.

Anyways, I think it's about time that I started to post some GOOD vacation stories, because believe me, there are lots- and I will do that. Mondays post: parasailing.


Stephanie Faris said...

EEEEEEEEEEEEEK. Remind me not to watch that episode of Mythbusters. Flying terrifies me enough as it is!

Terri said...

I am NOT a good flyer. Airports scare me more. I was a mess at LAX. I suck :(

Anonymous said...

I am so glad u pay attention to the inflight rules--In case of emergency, cause I will not listen, that would mean acknowledging the fact something REAlllly BAD could happen!

Lorrie said...

Ever seen the movie 'Airplane'???? Oh wait, you don't like movies about airplanes or Leslie Neilson movies and especially ones about airplanes WITH Leslie Neilson (RIP).

Joann Mannix said...

I'm the same way. I get these ominous feelings and I think it hits especially when you're on vacation when you're feeling more vulnerable.

And even though I travel a lot, I am a nervous flyer. And de-icing? Forget about it. That's some bad shit there.

Love your crazy lady. I think the crazies are drawn to me by some karmic magnet. I had an old man at Walmart the other day, pull out his hearing aid and shove it into my hand as I stood there browsing cold medications. He wanted to know the battery information. I told him my eyes couldn't read that fine print as I practically threw it back at him. Gotta love the crazies.