Ben and I. Ridiculously young. Highly jet lagged. One of my most fab friends!
Our prompt: Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation; anything from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of the car on a family road trip.
The prompt brought me back to one of my favorite journeys during early college years. My friend Ben and I were in a musical tour for chorus that spanned Austria, Germany, a bit of Switzerland, & too many beautiful places to keep track. It’s so important to travel and see the world. It’s something my parents did for me, something I want to do for my kids, and it is a passion of my dear friend Ben’s.
But that’s not why we’re here. No no!!! We’re here for the story of an insane 19 hour flight. Sitting in the middle of the middle row as we sliced the air over the ocean. I saw 2 sunrises and a glorious sunset. But. The plane was freezing. We were discussing our ‘survival plan’ for the jetlag and reality that we would need to stay awake through our first day in Europe to adjust to the new time zone.
My sorority sister, Sara was sitting on one side of Ben and I, the other. When you are young, do you remember things like ‘Bring amenities in case your plane ride is freezing, the food is terrible, and you need to sleep to survive the coming day’? Nope. You probably brought your entire makeup case and 6 pairs of shoes though! Oh and 3 books, of which you will get one read.
As Sara, Ben, and I sat there and reviled against our plane food, drank 8 dozen mini cans of ginger ale, and froze, we remembered ‘We can ask the attendant for blankets!’ IMAGINE OUR DELIGHT! We thought these would be nice, fleecy, soothing things so we could all drift off into slumber, listening to the lullaby of compressed air and the air plane.
Now, try to understand our confusion, when the flight attendant that came and tossed us a folded piece of dingy, grey-blue, and coarse material then snapped ‘Here’s you blanket.’ Ben and I blinked, (probably Sara did too, but she is never very vocal in situations like this) and Ben finally slowly said, ‘But there’s only ONE here….’ Flight attendant, “That’s the last blanket. Guess you guys will share.”
As she stalked off, we unfolded the blanket and tried to spread a portion of it across the three of us. Ben and I had hoodies on, which we wadded up to use as pillows on his shoulders, so Sara and I had a place to rest our heads. I just now realized that Ben probably felt like a total STUD. Two cute girls asleep on him? What guy wouldn’t feel awesome?
We all grudgingly woke up a few hours later. I kept saying something smelled funny, but Ben and Sara both looked at me peevishly. Until we folded the blanket back up. There it was. Mocking us on the other side. Huge, crunchy in spots, but still damp in others. White and viscous.
SOMEBODY HAD A PARTY ON THAT BLANKET AND FOLDED IT BACK UP.
(insert retching sounds and shrieking)
Our woes that day didn’t end with that blanket. We then had to be awake for hours, go to rehearsals, and . . . . get ourselves around Vienna for dinner and a night of fun. So to speak. That picture above was the fun part!!!! That was before 6 hours of walking through a strange, foreign city, looking for a decent restaurant (Oh, and all the restaurants we ate at were fantastic), trying to understand the streets, the public transit maps, speaking tourist terrible German….. then deciding it’s time to go this really cool park!
In the middle of the night. Where the weather is not balmy. You have no darned clue where you are. Nor how to get back to the hotel. Thus begins the screaming match where ALL the tears, and ALL the drama, and ALL the jet lag, and ALL the wine from dinner explodes into a mighty clusterfuck.
I will say this. The rest of that 3 week journey was pretty awesome, even with that insane 48 hour beginning.
We’ll be sharing stories starting on March 13th, for two weeks. Be sure to sign up for daily prompts in your inbox. Join us @ScintillaHQ over on the Twitter machine.
Sparkles and Glitter,