Jan 5, 2015

The Things I Get Myself Into: A Tale from 30,000 Feet

This morning I was flying to San Francisco for work on a project. I woke up at 4:45 a.m., not from my alarm clock, but from nerves. I had to be out of the door by 5:30 a.m. anyway, but oh how anxious I get when I have to fly. I get to the airport, make it to my gate with twenty minutes to spare, pop a Xanax and get on the plane. 

The plan was to sleep for as much of the flight as possible to compensate for the long hours ahead with a nice layer of jet lag. I made it halfway. Despite my best efforts to go back to sleep, I was awake. "Ok," I thought, "let me dig into my email and see what I can start working on." 

I pull out my laptop and it's covered in...well, goo. Exhausted and sedated for the flight, I'm just utterly confused. But to be fair, if the same thing had occurred at home I'd be just as confused. I smell my hand, which is also covered in goo to find a teriyaki-ish, somewhat sour, something's-definitely-wrong-here kind of smell. That couldn't be good. 

Lucky for this particular situation, I had been sick for a small eternity so I had a lot tissues in my pocket. I began wiping down the laptop wondering what the hell was going on. Once I got the laptop all squared away, I stuck my hand in the computer pouch and encountered more goo. I try to find some sort of explanation. 

The bag had been sitting near the garbage for a week since I had been off. Maybe, somehow, some thai got dumped in it on the way to the garbage. Which would suck. Really, any answer here would suck, because there was some sort of rank goo in my bag. I clean up what I thought, well hoped, was all of it, but figured I'd best make sure. As I shoved my hand into the bottom of the computer pouch, I encountered a handful of the rancid smelling goo. What. The. Fuck. What was possibly going to be in my hand when I pulled it out. And then what? What am I supposed to do with this from an airplane, in a window seat, in the dark. (For whatever reason, not one person on this flight opened their window shade. So the entire flight was lit by some weird 90's pink neon lights, which I guess Virgin finds posh.) 

I grab the plastic case my tissues were in (you know those little travel plastic wrappers) and proceed to pull out a handful of awfulness to put in my tiny makeshift garbage bag. And that's when the goo revealed itself. A completely disintegrated banana. It must have been sitting there since the last time I worked, which was exactly a week ago, and the fruit was in questionable shape then.

I now have a travel tissue pack full of rancid banana and I'm still stuck in my seat because now the seatbelt light is on and some really decent turbulence is starting. Ah, but wait! My one quart bag! I dumped out all of my liquids containers into the middle section of the backpack, and put the mess in the quart bag and sealed it. (Clearly, not checking my bag was the correct choice this morning.) 

Now I have a quart bag full of rancid banana, a backpack that smells like week old garbage and sticky, smelly banana hands. Luckily a stewardess was walking by so I handed her the mess and was later able to get a plastic bag to wrap my computer in. Upon examination in the airport bathroom, I found had removed all the goo and only the smell remained. Small victory. The morning was redeemed, however, when I stopped to get a double double from In 'N Out burger on my way to the hotel. 

So the moral of the story? When life gives you rancid bananas, go get In 'N Out. Or maybe it's something like, don't check your bags when traveling, you never know when you'll need a one quart plastic bag. Or perhaps I just need to remember to check my bag for fruit at the end of each day. 

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