My brother and I have to go to Dallas, so we look up flights online. The flight we need is sold out, but what’s this small print at the bottom of the page?
For free, we can ride outside the plane.
Brother and I look at each other: “Sure, why not?” we say.
Arrive at the airport, and Pilot or Flight Attendant directs us where to sit: at the back of the aircraft, there’s a little tail-fin-sticky-up-thing with sort-of-flat-ish space on either side. No restraints, belts or harnesses. Just a slick little patch of metal. This is where we will be.
Brother and I hop on up and sit down. Part of the landing gear is underneath us, giving us a place to rest our feet. So far, so good.
The plane starts to taxi down the runway. Faster. Faster. Faster… and then: We’re up.
Approximately 24″ in to the air, we panic. What the fuck were we thinking?!
We wrap our arms around the tail-fin-thing, holding onto each other for dear life. Higher and higher we go, until…
Up goes the landing gear, and suddenly, our feet are dangling free.
For those of you who are just the least bit afraid of heights, imagine that rush of panic you feel when you get too close to the edge of those random cut-out atrium overlook things in the shopping mall and (if you’re particularly bold) slightly lean over. Multiply that feeling times six thousand, and you will experience what I felt I was experiencing in this dream.
So here we are, holding on for dear life. Nothing – NOTHING – is keeping us tethered to the aircraft in any way.
Ho – lee shit.
Just when we think things cannot possibly get any worse, I drop my coffee mug.
Julie, where’d you get a coffee mug?
Don’t worry about it.
I also drop my blankie – the same blanket I’ve had since I was about 3 years old.
Julie, why the fuck did you have your blankie?
I SAID don’t worry about it.
As I look down to watch coffee cup y Blankie fall back to Earth (yes, I could see the entire Earth. Apparently we hitched a ride on the space shuttle?) the unthinkable happens…
My glasses fall off my face.
A new rush of panic ensues, because my backup pair of glasses –
Seriously – a backup pair of glasses? What the hell?
STOP ASKING QUESTIONS.
– my backup pair of glasses do not fit my noggin properly and I must LET GO OF ONE OF MY BROTHER’S HANDS TO HOLD THEM IN PLACE ON MY HEAD
Oh, the humanity.
So there we are, both of my brother’s hands clasped tightly on my arm as I hold my hand up to my back up glasses. We seem to be flying higher and higher and higher into the atmosphere when suddenly, we hear a voice: it is the captain speaking, and he is starting our descent into Dallas. Apparently this aircraft is equipped with outside speakers for those wanting to fly for free (Note: we were the only ones flying in this fashion on this particular flight).
We land without incident, joyously hop off the back of the plane once we’ve stopped, and rush to meet our parents, who are camped out (literally: camp chairs, coolers, tents, etc;) with a hoard of other people at the edge of the tarmac.
“How was your flight? Was it scary?” asks Mom, who is aware, yet unconcerned, that her only two children were willing to risk their lives just to save money.
“It was horrible! We’re never doing that again! I lost my glasses! And my coffee cup!” is my reply.
“Oh, I have plenty of coffee cups at home,” she says, ever comforting.
And then I woke up.