I left Akron feeling surprisingly confident in the face of my previous terror. The recruiter had done a web seminar the day before, the theme of which seemed to be Don’t Panic. I therefore decided to Not Panic. The flight to LaGuardia actually sucked. Lots of medium turbulence followed by bad turbulence on the approach. Bad enough that I had the vomit bag in my lap as I chanted silently “I will not throw up.” It worked. I didn’t. Not really. Burned the back of my throat a little, but didn’t use the bag.
Trisha met me at the baggage carousel and we took my bags to her parents. Then we drove to a subway stop and took the train into Manhattan where we met up with Cheryl. Cheryl took us to Crumbs for cupcakes!
After cupcakes, we walked around looking at Times Square and the environs. Then we headed out of town for dinner. Trisha and Cheryl asked where I wanted to go as it was my last meal in America and I said American or Mexican so we went to Outback. Ironic since the last time I was at an Outback was in Korea.
Then we dropped Cheryl off at a train station, picked up my bags and went to JFK. The first hurdle was finding the desk. Mobs of people and tons of other desks that didn’t seem to be in any order got in the way. When I got to the desk I commented to Trisha that I hoped I was on the flight. She said, “You have a confirmation number so don’t worry about it.” I said, “I don’t have a confirmation number. They booked the flight and never sent it to me.” I suppose it was my unconscious last attempt to dodge this trip. Didn’t work. They had me on the flight though they did insist that I check my carry on.
Trisha walked me all the way to the security. By that time I was pretty nervous, but committed to going. I didn’t have long to wait from the time I got to the gate until they started loading us. Most of the time before that I was talking to the couple sitting next to me who were headed off to do something else, but the girl was going to be finishing her teaching degree next year and had always wanted to teach in the Middle East.
I ended up near the front of the plane so I got loaded last. Nervous as I was, I didn’t have any trouble getting on the plane, though I did take one of my half Valiums. Sitting in the seat I started to panic, but I was so loopy from the Valium that I didn’t. The plane took off and I conked out until a flight attendant poked me awake to tell me they were serving dinner and did I want chicken or lamb. Groggy as I was I went for chicken and cursed myself as I ate because the woman next to me got lamb and it looked really good. Then they cleaned up the food service and I fell asleep again for a couple of hours. I must have slept the first half of the flight. The woman to my right was my hero because she slept even more than I did. I swear it took her 10 hours to get through one movie because she kept pausing it when she fell asleep. The woman to my left was with a different group so I didn’t have any other teachers near me on the flight. Probably for the best since I spent the first half of the flight asleep and the second half watching movies. I got my computer out, hoping to get some work done, but realized that there wasn’t anywhere near enough elbow room. Next time, first class, I swear.
Everybody in the plane had their blinds down and I was dead center in the middle of the plane so I had no idea through out the flight what was going on outside. Every time somebody peeked out their blinds I craned my neck trying to see at least the quality of the light.
Then we landed and the fun began.