Squished into an airplane with my outer thigh pressed up against a stranger next to me is so invasive. Sometimes, in an attempt to avoid touching the person next to me I’ve nearly folded my shoulder bones together, which, side bonus, does make my cleavage look very impressive. This is the awkward little airplane dance of mandatory, yet unwelcome physical interaction. The closeness, the touching, the small talk – it’s all enough to make a perfectly sane person think of jumping from the airplane.
But here is the real injustice of air travel. Air quality. Am I the only one who hates breathing in hand-me-down air? I feel like an oxygen starved guppy, tempted to put my mouth directly up to that toothpaste top vent, gulping in the moving air, even though I know it is not even fresh. Something about the air moving makes it seem healthier.
However, the most serious grievance of air travel is travelers who fart in their sleep. On my last trip I wanted to wake up the tooting passengers and glare at them through eyes that were watering from the insult to my olfactory. “Look. Look at what you have done to me”! I would point at my eye for emphasis, perhaps with my middle finger. “Have a breath mint. May I suggest where you should put it”? I know flatulation is an inevitability whenever people are sleeping, except in my case (I’m pretty sure I have never farted in my sleep), but for most people this is a foregone conclusion.
When traveling in such close quarters, shared air happens. I have traveled my life with some grand adventurers. So many of my “circle” carry the fragrances of love, grace and hope. Some, however, are putrid, rigid and carry baggage that smells like the city dump. So, I try and pick my fellow travelers carefully. Those who give me life, share love, forgive and offer grace; those who inspire those qualities in me. Those are the people who I choose to wander with these days. That is the air I want to breathe.