You know, I really couldn't tell you why, but for some reason I was a nervous wreck on my trip to Detroit this time. I was just filled with anxiety and nerves, but I had no reason or cause for the feeling. Well, no reason other than being a 48 year old male trying to pass as a 29 year old woman in a crowded airport anyway.
I wanted to cringe when the TSA inspector took my ID and ticket and then asked "Please state your first and last name." Austin is the only airport that asks you to do that it, and I have no idea what the point is. Are they waiting for someone to say "my name is Achmed the bomber" or something? In any case, it’s a bit embarrassing for me because here I look like Kimberly but have to tell him out loud that I am Matt. Grrrr. . .
It's been a while since my number came up, but as soon as I replied to the above question “My name is Matt Huddle”, a female TSA agent stepped up in front of me.
"Ma'am, you have been randomly selected for additional screening. If you will please follow me?"
"Sure," I told her, "this is the only lottery that I actually win ya know?"
Well, a few minutes later they had determined that I really wasn’t "Achmed the terrorist" and I was on my way to the gate area, where I took out my book to pass the time.
Not long after, they announced that boarding would begin soon, and so I grabbed my backpack and made my way to the boarding area where I stood around with about a dozen others who were also waiting to board. I still couldn't shake that nervous and jittery feeling, and much to my surprise I realized that I was so nervous that it felt like one of my legs was shaking. I figured it was just nerves, and that it probably wasn't obvious to anyone, but I was wrong. I glanced down at my leg and discovered that it was visibly bouncing up and down, and entirely obvious should anyone be looking at me.
"Well this sucks!" I thought to myself. "It's gonna be real annoying if this starts to happen often!" I just placed more weight on the traitorous leg until its shaking wasn't so glaringly obvious. The good news is that I calmed down for the rest of the day and so the problem went away.
As my connecting flight in Philly was taxing to the runway, the plane kind of jerked a bit to the right, and being subject to the laws of physics, the poor flight attendant standing in front of me went skidding to the left, almost falling into my lap. The male flight attendant that was talking to her started laughing once it was clear that the young lady was safe.
"You know, she almost wound up in your lap!" He said with a laugh.
"That's ok, I would have caught her! Well, I would have tried anyway!! I replied with a wink.
Later, as the plane was taking off,I struck up a conversation with the hapless young flight attendant. She was sitting in a uncomfortable looking chair right in front of me that was facing backwards so that we were essentially sitting face to face.
"So is that seat as uncomfortable as it looks?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah! It's straight up and down!" She said, with look of disgust on her face.
"I kind of figured since It looks like a couple of pieces of plywood with a little padding attached to it."
"So are you going home or going to work?" She asked me after a moment.
"Oh, I'm definitely going to work. Ive gotta go and earn my paycheck. How about you - are you headed home?"
"No, I’m from right here in Philly."
"I've only spent time in Philly once or twice, and as I recall, the hangover lasted almost a week!" I replied with a laugh. Of course she had no way to know it, but I was speaking of the night that I had hung out with Sophie in an awesome piano bar. These days, I rarely stay out terribly late if I am not assured of a day of rest to recover, but I was having so much fun that night that I had overlooked my personal guidelines on the matter. All kidding and attempts at humor aside, I had felt bad for a good three days after and have sworn to never do that again!
It didn’t take long to figure out that the guy seated next to me was not the overly chatty type. I’d made a comment or two on the flight and was met with little more than a grunted reply. Still, when the plane landed, I offered to hand him his bag from the overhead bin since I had the aisle seat and there wasn’t enough standing space left for him to get out of his seat. He proved that he wasn’t stupid when he waited until his bag was firmly in his own hands before he gave me a smug smile and said “Thank you sir!”
So help me God, if he had said that before the bags changed hands, I’d have thrown it right back in the bin. . .