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A Second First-Time

The last time I flew was 17 years ago. Hard to believe. So the flight to Florida on Friday night was really feeling like the first time again.

I had to relearn what can and can't go in a carry-on bag. Out with the tweezers. (Sorry if anything is out of place on my face.) Out with the nail file and razor. Hello, scraggly nails and hairy legs. It's okay. I can stop at the drugstore when I land.

All the liquids that are my attempt at looking pretty and smelling pretty have to be in baggies. Ziploc baggies. Quart-size or smaller.

I shuffled through security right along with everyone else. Beep! For some reason, I triggered the system, and the TSA lady had to pat me down to make sure I didn't have instruments for ill-use hidden in the tights under my dress.

Okay, past security with their double-check that I wasn't a madman dressed as a real estate agent.

Got up to Gate 6 to sit and wait. Ding! Oh, there's a text that the flight is delayed... again.

Time to go to the pot. Get a pack of gum. That was dinner for the night. I wasn't hungry, just ready to get the show on the road.

Worked on some real estate while I waited. The lady to the left was binge-watching Netflix. The men to the right were talking real estate. My ears perked up a little. Not enough to let them know I overheard them. Just enough to listen in to someone who sounded like he knew the business well. You never know where you'll get some education.

And I could tell it wasn't an overly private conversation. I would have moved away in that case. I don't know how to be rude on purpose.

After the plane landed that was to take us--those at Gate 6 and me--to lovely Sarasota, I had a colorful people-watching time with the crowd getting off that plane: big people, little people, old people, young people, tidy people, sloppy people, fast people, slow people, tired people, peppy people, shufflers, hurry-ers, minimalists, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-ists...

We boarded finally into the metal tube with jet engines. I walked right past seat 5A. Oops. There's 5A.

Stuffed the carry-on into the one opening above my row, and squeezed past the lady already seated and landed in my window seat. I like looking out. It gives me a place to look when I don't feel like carrying on a 2 1/2 hour conversation with someone. And I like people, but I wasn't feeling much like being around people right then, especially thigh-to-thigh with just anyone.

Just anyone turned out to be a nice lady that said hello, then turned on her movie and kept to herself. She had the earphones, but just seeing the movie, I could tell it was the Hallmark Christmas version of Groundhog Day. I could about fill in the words in my head.

Okay, we finally taxied down the runway, then suddenly the jet engines really kicked in as we picked up speed down the runway. The bump-bump-bump of runway noise melted away into smooth nothing as the plane lifted into the air.

I love watching the ground as it becomes miniaturized. The cars are Matchbox cars. The streets look like a playset. Then the lights slowly shift into one big collection of lights. Out over the scene are more collections of lights, the only way to know there is life down there from way up high.

I looked out most of the time except to see once in awhile how crazy the chick in the Christmas Groundhog Day was getting.

Sleep hit me at some point because I woke up to the sound of someone fiddling with a bag. The man behind me. Hmm... Who fiddles with a bag on a plane except to throw up? I finally saw through the reflection in the window that he was just opening a bag of chips. Good. I didn't want vomit in my hair today.

The landing gear made a whump, whump sound as we descended. The landscape and cars started growing bigger and each light grew distinct.

A slight jolt, and we were back on God's green earth. Actually, on a nice concrete runway, but you know what I mean.

Rolled up to the Extend-a-Tube, or whatever it's called that connects at the door of the plane.

Nobody got trampled getting their carry-on bag and disembarking into the Extend-a-Tube. It was a fairly nice crowd in there filled with courteous people. What did you expect, though, from a crowd flying out of Fort Wayne, Indiana? Just a good bunch of people.

A walk through the Tube, then BAM! Oh, the smell of salty sea air filled all my senses at the Sarasota airport.

Florida! I'm in Florida! I LOVE Florida!

I smell more Florida in my future.


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