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Heading to the Land of the Free

USA! USA! USA!

It was the first time I hadn't been alone on a long haul flight so I figured it would be a breeze. A quick 13-hour zip over to Los Angeles full of movies, chatting, eating and drinking but EEEEWW BOY! what a flight, the little plane on the radar seemed to be stuck in the middle of the Pacific the entire journey.

We left Sydney at 9am and were soon fed and then that was it, the lights were off for the next 12 hours implying that it was time to sleep. My body was obviously saying “you just got up fool, you’re not even tired”.

So I'm wide awake for the next 12 hours.

It’s cramped and crowded. Thankfully after a 5th request of airline staff, a flight attendant on-board arranged for me to sit next to my sister. That way despite the full flight, we could share the no man’s land - that tiny bit of communal room you sacrifice when you are next to a stranger.

I watched two movies and waited for my next meal to pass some time. We must be due? Nothing. I'm actually peckish and 20 minutes of wrestling the foil lid of an orange juice would be a welcomed distraction at this point.

As I soon learned, the biggest blow to my airline experience wasn't the lack of food, but that I had taken for granted my TV screen and its glorious collection of film and TV. Not wanting to use up all the shows I had earmarked in my mind I was rationing my TV time so that I didn't spend 12 hours in front of a screen and get square eyes. So instead I started playing one of the games they have on the in-flight entertainment system, a trivia game which amuses me for 40 minutes or so as I manoeuvre myself to the top score on the plane.

At this point all is well in the world and aboard Delta flight 0008.

My sister starts to suspect the lady in front isn't appreciating my use of the touch screen and the tapping on the screen. I can’t have been pressing it too hard or tapping loud because the sensor was so far out that to select the answers I had to carefully line up my finger and hold it over the answer.

So I'm trying to get to level three, having a good time, learning new things, quite frankly minding my own beeswax when BOOOOOOOM! there is an almighty crack.

The mannish woman in front throws her body back into her seat, the way people do if your knees are in their back to assert their presence. There is a loud bang and the lady next to me even looks over as I have a bewildered look on my face by this sudden act of in-flight aggression.

My game freezes mid-round and that it, it’s all over, with 6 hours still to go my TV screen is broken. No more TV shows or movies for me, and I had barely scratched the surface, I hadn't even looked in the general collection yet, I’d only fossicked through new releases.

If she had an issue you would think she would turn around and say “bitch, that screen tapping is getting me down”.

But no she acted like a crazy wench and ruined my screen/life.

She stood up later and she was of solid build with a bum bag synching the waist of an oversized tee. She could kick my ass. I spent the rest of the flight watching what the people around me were watching, guessing the dialogue and taking one ear of my sisters headphones and having to watch whatever she chose, ie. The Glee in Concert.

Later on, while I was wide awake in the dark staring at a blank screen the wench in front started playing the same quiz game and I thought “I hope the guy in front turns around and slaps your dumb face”.
He didn't because I assume, and I might be going out on a limb here, he is a normal human being. As a small compromise she wasn't very good at in-flight general knowledge and had shit got real and we were duelling in “geography” or “people and places” she may have come off second best.

When I wasn't staring at the back of her head thinking about what I could say if she turned around or if I had any guts, I spent the rest of my hours standing by the toilets like one of those annoying loiterers constantly in the way of the flight attendants. I was trying to stretch my legs and pass the time as let’s face it, being stuck in a middle seat with no TV is one of the worst things to happen in modern society. I couldn't sleep comfortably, I longed for the window seat to rest my head. I stayed awake, waiting for it to be time to get off. We flew over Hawaii for what I am sure was 8 hours.

Eventually we arrived, I was tired because I hadn't slept, I was still incensed at the woman in front and hoped she got cavity searched by immigration upon arrival under suspicion of importing bad behaviour and general acts of assholery. To top it off my legs ached because I was doing so many anti-DVT exercises my legs had run an equivalent marathon.
We passed through customs, cheery 6am American customs where they bombard you with questions that though simple, are hard to answer when you have been on a plane for 13 hours. But they don’t listen to any of your answers anyway.

It was exhaustingly long journey for some reason, at least on the Australia to London jaunt I can eat-and-watch-TV myself into a slumber and not have to go searching for peanuts while I loiter by the toilets instead of taking my forced to nap.

Regardless I arrived at LAX for three month North American adventure.

Posted by The Tipsy Gipsy 01.07.2013 21:15 Archived in USA Tagged usa airports air_travel the_tipsy_gipsy

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