I know I should be telling you stories about my backpacking trip in Europe, but I just can’t get that mojo going tonight. Thus, let me tell you about the minor plane “crash” I was in a couple months ago. “Crash” is in quotes because we coulda, mighta, almost crashed, but we didn’t and no one got hurt. It was a crash in the sense of fear, trepidation, and preparation, but NOT a crash for the lack of fire, death, dismemberment, and national news coverage.
Anywho, we had a mechanical issue in which whatever part is supposed to slow down the flight for landing failed to comply, and we had to fly around for about an hour to burn off fuel. Then we did the whole “wrists crossed, head on the back of the seat in front of you, kids grabbing their ankles” crash landing thing as we came down at what had to be 200+ mph. I was in the emergency exit row next to an Asian guy who didn’t speak any English (!!!) (Alaska may get some hate mail from me on that one. Aren’t they supposed to check that out and put you elsewhere if you can’t speak the language?!?!)
Meanwhile, when the other passengers realized that this dude between me and the emergency exit door didn’t have a clue what was going on, they started looking at me wild-eyed, wanting to know what was happening. This guy just kept reading his book in Hanzi or Kanji while they taught us how to position for the landing and get the doors open. I was a lifeguard, and I’ve been trained to deal with drowning people [who basically try to kill you in their zeal to live]. I was ready to punch this guy out if that’s what it took to get to get past him and get the door open!!!! However, let me take a moment to admit that I can’t help but note that if I am ever on an Asian-run plane on which no one speaks English, I will BE that guy. Domo Arigato.
Anyway, the stupidest part was that – aside from possible issues with my clueless neighbor to my left – I was all worried about my crap. They said if we had to go out the side doors (we didn’t – the pilots did a good job) we needed to leave all our belongings behind, so I had stuffed my pockets with everything I could – wallet, car keys, iPod, Blackberry, headphones, camera, prescription sunglasses, etc. In my final moments (possibly) I was trying to salvage my possessions. Other people were praying or huddling together and I was cradling my booty! I would make one lousy Buddhist…
Moreover, and for better or worse, I’m pretty sure that my non-English speaking neighbor never realized what had almost happened. At the most, he probably thought we Americans could stand to get some retraining in the plane landing department. They say ignorance is bliss, and I think they’re onto something.