I wish I were a minimalist...sometimes
Melodramatic airport tales
After being in Paris for fewer than 24 hours, so many of my expectations are already shaken. I have surprisingly managed to fit everything into my tiny urban apartment, which is a feat in itself given my pathetic status at the airport.
I can barely carry a gallon of milk from the car to the refrigerator, so handling my two overweight bags totaling 120 pounds was not an easy task. Constantly thinking other airport-goers were judging me, I soon realized no one probably cared about my struggle. The moving walkways helped a bit, but didn’t override the fact that I have the world’s shortest stride. Thank you, short legs, thank you. I blame genetics.
Once my bags were checked and my economy class ticket to Charles De Gaulle Airport was printed, things became slightly easier. Finally settled on the plane and seated in a roomy exit row, I realized the painful truth. I was suffering from traveller’s stench. Though wearing one’s heaviest coat during travel seems like a savvy way to save room in one’s suitcase, it causes excessive sweating and subsequently, a horrid odor.
My only relief came from the flight attendants serving warm dinners in aluminum foil rectangles. Never has aluminum foil looked so good. My gluten allergy often makes standardized meals like this difficult, and I curse the day when I am stranded with a pasta dinner to salivate over but not enjoy. To my debatable luck, however, the chicken and rice dish was still available and even though it tasted like an expired Lean Cuisine, I inhaled my meal.
Flipping through the channels of a miniature personal television screen, I landed on HBO’s “Girls.” Since I was mildly familiar with the series and always told myself I would watch it one day, I decided that an international flight might be the time to start. I could not have been more wrong.
The 30-something businessman reading his Wall Street Journal was as embarrassed as I was when the characters immediately began having very naked sex. The soft-core porn on my screen promptly attracted my neighbors’ attention. Trying to play it cool as if I had known this was going to happen, I sat as far back in my seat as possible and attempted to enjoy my show without revealing my complete shame. After three minutes of this and an increasing amount of wandering eyes from the men and women around me, I lunged forward to end the program.
I quickly chose a more PG-rated show and tried to forget the last five minutes of my life. The man to my right giggled and I knew what I had to do — take a sleeping pill. Six hours later my eyes jolted awake to the plane landing in Paris. I smiled to myself, not because I was anxious to befriend some wine and cheese, but rather because after such a disastrous travel adventure, my semester could only get better. And so the adventure begins.
Allison’s column runs biweekly Fridays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.