The first time I boarded an airplane, I was 15 years old and I was going to New York City, the only place I had ever wanted to go. Even going to the airport made me feel glamorous. I was going ‘somewhere’, and everybody knew it. Yes, they were all going somewhere, too, but that’s not the point. I felt like I could be anyone, maybe even someone who did this all the time. People who did this all the time must be rich and powerful and fresh smelling. I was very excited to pretend to be all of those things.
As a little girl, I always dreamed of getting on an airplane and going on a trip. My mother had been on an airplane many times, and although she wasn’t rich, but she was very strong (she could lift the heavy barrel vacuum up all the stairs) and quite fresh smelling. My mother has always had the warmest skin and smells like Ivory soap.
My mother would regale us with stories of flying to exotic destinations like Fredericton, New Brunswick and we would be in awe. Our favorite game to play was ‘Airplane’. She would write out the stewardess announcement and set up chairs in the living room like it was a plane. We would take turns each day being the stewardess. The game included packing your bag, boarding, listening to the announcement, and taking the flight. This is where the game is pure genius: We would sit and watch Days of our Lives or Sally Jesse Raphael or whatever our mother wanted to watch to get a moment of quiet and rest. We would sit and watch until it was over. She would announce that we had landed, we would exit the plane and go back to screaming and dancing and destroying her house. Genius.
I am flying to Newfoundland in a few hours. I still find flying glamorous and dress my very best. I also sometimes pretend that I am going somewhere really important. For ‘business’.
I wish they showed old episodes of Sally Jesse Raphael on the plane. Then flying would be just like I’d always imagined.