The Whole Picture is Nothing But a Compilation of Details.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pete On a Plane

Chapter One:

I'm safely stowed in the overhead compartment. Nooone can see me here, but I can see everyone. Best seat in the plane, by far. I watch as six passengers play musical chairs as orchestrated by the air steward to accommodate PegLeg, who's my best friend. PegLeg never wants to inconvenience anyone, so you may not have noticed that being temporarily disabled due to knee surgery really bothers her mind a lot. But I know better...  It makes me happy to see that she's taken care of and I understand why she insists on flying with this airline. The air steward shares lots of funny stories about passengers flying with medical conditions. One had had breast surgery and the stitches ripped out, resulting in her bleeding all over the place. Talk about embarrassing!

As I'm busy watching people, PegLeg watches the movie "Eat. Pray. Love." with Julia Roberts and I can tell from watching her that she relates to some of it (canned or not) from her past private experiences. And she loves resting her eyes on that Spanish actor Javier Bardem.

I don't need to use the bathroom, but it strikes me how small they are on a plane and wonder how PegLeg is going to fit. Thankfully, she's not too tall and if she angles her foot 90° she can fit and close the door. By the way, has anyone figured out why turbulence only happens when the restrooms are in use? Or for that matter, how this big metal structure can fly?

PegLeg and I were going to see the Swedish countryside by train by flying into the capital of Denmark and take the train from there to Stockholm. We were both really looking forward to it, but as the stars would have it, we arrive London late and miss our connecting flight. The line to rebook is long, as many of the scheduled planes have been cancelled due to heavy snow falls in Germany and Switzerland. PegLeg has her big knee brace on, thus we get well taken care of, but also subject to a lot of extra security screening. Noone asks about me though... Our airline cannot get us to Copenhagen in time for the train but PegLeg tries her luck and suggests with a big smile that perhaps there is room on a flight to Stockholm instead...? Today is our lucky day! As many other passengers are stranded for as much as two days, we get booked on the flight PegLeg wanted to get on when she first booked the tickets for this journey!

A Danish man is seated diagonally across from us. Behind him is a slight, very unassuming, quiet man with long legs. The Dane suddenly snaps his head around and barks: "My seat is in the upright position and there is NO need for your knees to be in my back!" The slight man looks puzzled, surprised at the unexpected attack and readjusts his legs. Then the Dane slams his seat into the reclined position. Out of spite. "What is happening to mankind", I wonder. “Why couldn't he have asked kindly”? Instead, he repeats the scenario one hour later. No Christmas gifts for that man. Nor for the parents of the dreadfully behaved children behind us.

Luggage on our backs, we board the bus to the city center. Due to our change in travel plans we are going to PegLeg's parents instead of to her sister as originally planned. Suddenly, PegLeg's face lights up and I ask why. "Mmmm" she says. "Mum and Dad have an amazing bathtub. She's looking forward to submersing herself completely and enjoy the peace and quiet. But darn it! I didn't bring a bathing suit! I bet she'll keep me out of it... 

There is a lot of snow here in Stockholm, Sweden, which is why PegLeg's parents won't pick us up at Arlanda Airport. Very wise of them to decline. PegLeg told me about the time a few years ago when they were forced off the road by a big ten-wheel garbage truck. I'm glad I wasn't with her then.

Phew, today was a long day. I think I am going to sleep like a rock.

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