You know the best place to try and be mindful and practice meditation? A full airplane. And by “best,” I mean if-you’re-really-crazy-and-want-a-challenge.
Sandwiched between a gaggle of cackling hens (Golden Girls trip!), a screaming baby who didn’t seem to get the memo that the time for blood curdling screams was actually last month, and a Nervous Nelly flyer (who kindly warned me) and has surely burned over 100 calories by fidgeting alone.
I breathe, in and out. Relax the jaw. SCREAM. Tense the jaw. FIDGET. Relax the forehead, smile at the eyes. GET SIDE SWIPED BY MAN’S ASS ON WAY TO BATHROOM. C’mon Angela, relax your neck and shoulders. CACKLE. CACKLE. CACKLE.
How do people fit in these seats if they aren’t 5’4 or less and weigh no more than a waif-like 110lbs?!
Peeling back a can of sardines has suddenly become the most accurate analogy of what it’s like to travel. Cramped, uncomfortable, sharing space with complete strangers with identical destinations. Legs stop feeling blood flow, trapped in one position until that exit door opens and you slowly peel yourself from the sticky uncomfortable home you’ve inhabited for the past several hours.
“Flowing river stream for stress relief” and “thunderstorm over ocean” aren’t cutting it anymore. Everything else cuts through like a loud knife cutting through too soft butter. THWACK.
Today, I am flying Southwest and I know people who are die-hard fans of this airline (with some good reason). I am decidedly not one of them. First, the no seating arrangement kills me. You know what happens when you check in 4 minutes after your check-in time? Group B. Group B means that you walk on the plane and every single aisle and window seat in the damn plane has been graciously taken by EVERYONE ELSE. Thank you! So kind! Gone are the days of “I’m A22, is that a window or aisle seat?” It’s now a game of which middle seat on the spectrum of awful-to-horrendous shall I shove myself into? Damn you, Southwest.
Second, they joke A LOT. I mean it’s constant. They look at us all canned up and think magically if they make (at times) clever jokes, we’ll forget our canned crampness and “enjoy the ride.”
I realize that I am sounding very unmindful right now. But you know what, this is a hard place to be present and in the moment. Because, let’s be honest, all you ever think about when on a plane is…”are we there yet?”