Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jet Blue Art

So, after the initial delay of our flight, came Tuesday night, and we are on a plane to the East Coast.

A red eye flight.

The plane is overheated. Way overheated. Like, way Way WAAAAAAAAY overheated.

And because we were transferred from a flight that got cancelled 2 days before, I find myself stuck in the middle of the 3-seat row, between two strangers. (The JohnnyB is stuck in the row in front of me, between two other strangers, only his strangers are nicer).

The guy on my left is eating a sandwich with his mouth full open, chewing for the whole world to share his pleasure, and then - just when I am certain my nerves are strung to the maximum with his gastronomical concert of wet masticating, he decides to treat everyone to a grand finale with a bag of potato chips. Yes, they are very crunchy. No, he is not closing his mouth while munching on them. Why should he? The other passengers may miss his joy.

To add to the joy, the stranger in the isle seat (to my right) is sleeping. Which is fine. Only she keeps yawning. Loudly. And, judging by the delightful scent, she hasn't brushed her teeth since she her first tooth has budded.

OK then, I put my sleeve up to my nose. The window seat dude is done with his chips and is now deep asleep; by some unfathomed miracle, he is not snoring. I try to sleep, as I am very tired. It's been a long day and it is, after all, a red-eye flight.

But - lo and behold - two rows behind, on the right, someone keeps sniffing.

And sniffing.

And sniffing.

And sniffing.

He's got a cold.

The concept of tissues has obviosuly escaped him. So, he sniffs.

I desperately try to sleep, despite the noises.

Aha - now the flight attendant is rustling with the bags of chips. Apparently, 1am is the perfect time to rearrange them.

My back is painfully stiff, as the Jet Blue seats, while allowing a lot of leg-room, only recline about 20 degrees or so. I dunno why.

There's a personal tiny TV screen in front of me, with an impressive selection of shows to watch. But apparently I am expected to bring my own head phones. They do not give nor sell them on the plane.

I can't sleep, I can't watch TV - by now I am too agitated to read, so I sketch the boring image that's frozen on my screen. Twice. Different styles. I've got time. Plenty of time.

The 4.5 hours of the flight finally come to an end, and my neighbors look very refreshed (with the exception of the mouth of the isle-seat gal).

The wait at the JFK airport is not as bad - Jet Blue has a new cool and hip section there, with colorful sofas (all full of passengers in various poses of being fast asleep) and fun food court and a jazz band(!) playing Christmas songs. And they are pretty good too.

The next flight boards pretty much on time, and The JohnnyB and I are - yet again - separately stuck between two strangers. And again, The JohnnyB's share of neighbors is far better than mine. Because, guess what: the guy sitting on my left is now sniffing. For the whole duration of the flight (he has loads of napkins that come with his drinks, but - needless to say - he is not using them to blow his damn nose once and for all).

And this flight has an additional twist to it: one row behind, on the left, a gal is chatting up a guy with one of those high-pitch voices. She asks him everything one needs to know, from which school he went to, to what his parents do. The guy is obviously charmed, as he answers all her questions obediently. And, to each answer she responds with a braying laughter. One of those phony yet very vocal laughs. Everything he says gets a laughter. EVERYTHING! I sneak a peek, and realize that the poor woman sitting to the left of the girl is close to tears, with head phones and a miserable face on. I send her a sympathetic look. I mean, I am sitting 2 rows ahead and am struggling with a passionate desire to get up and choke that brayer - what must she feel like?.

Again, I accept the no-chance-of-sleep-here-either verdict, and start to sketch the frozen image on the screen in front of me. Luckily, it's a different image, and is one of my favorite actors, Javier Bardem, who - despite his violent roles in movies (have you seen "No Land for Old Men"!?), has a very cute smile on his face.

So I sketch him, too.

Luckily, this flight only lasts less than an hour.

We get off the plane, many passengers are shooting murderous looks at the blond (yup, she is blond) bimbo (yup, she is) who garnished every minute of the flight with her nerve-wracking laugher.

The JohnnyB's mother and sister welcome us near the baggage claim carousel, commenting that I look very tired and somewhat stressed. and with very bloodshot eyes.

On the way out, The JohnnyB's mom has a golden opportunity to smash into the bimbo's car. Alas, she doesn't.

I don't think I'll fly red-eye in the near future, but - going for a cocktail of silver lining and half-full glass: a yield of 3 sketches is not so bad for my state of mind.


singleforareason said...

I so enjoy these travel stories from hell! Is it awful of me? I guess I know all of these characters you were surrounded by each in my own way and thought every thought you did BUT I was not able to sketch my way through it!! Now, if only you had sketched the guy eating his sandwich and left it on his lap for him to see when he woke up!!

Myrna said...

Love the pony in this story!

Daniel Bruckner said...

I was going to say it's stories like these that make me feel better about being too terrified to fly. But then you had to mention the blond, and I realized I really should find a way to get over this fear.

Anonymous said...

thanks for reassuring me that i have reason not to fly any more......all vacations to be in sunny cal

....and, have to get back! how about railway travel?


Rhonda said...

all that and you still managed to be creative?!!!
I'm more than impressed.
I hate flying...for these very reasons. Don't ever leave home without headphones (even if they don't work - when plugged in).

Jen Norton said...

Ahhhh, the sea of humanity. But you wouldn't have had this cool blog entry without it! All is as it should be, grasshopper.

Nava said...

Pat, not awful at all. It's always fun and funny from the side. I'll keep your sketching-the-muncher for next time...

Myrna, yeah, I guess you are right: there's always a pony.

Daniel, most flights do not have the blond, so don't come complaining to me in case you do fly and she is not there to bray.

Valerie, I am bracing myself for the flight back. I'll definitely keep my sketchbook ready.

Rhonda, a lot of art cometh from suffering. And yes, I'll never ever leave home without headphones.

Jen, welcome to my blog. Please have a seat, Master. And yes, you are right! said...

Oh my, isn't flying fun. My last flight the guy next to me sneezed all over me. I'm still waiting to see what I come down with.

Take the train. It is a lot more fun and you can get away. However, it is not the cheapest way to travel.

The Amish travel on trains so you can have some costumed models to draw.

Happy new year.

bonnieluria said...

Oh my gosh Nava! I completely empathize with you in your oh so funny ( sorry ) narration of the REAL fear of flying.

Being a captive in a seat for 4-5 hours is interminable at best, but with a chewer and a brayer - impossible!!!
And you still managed to do some terrific sketching.

After experiences like these, the only thing I'd be able to manage to draw, would be blood!

Good for you.
I hope your flight home is/was lots better. said...

Are you still ill from the flight? Try to sit up in bed long enough to do a painting or at least to change the sheets.

Blueberry said...

Ugh, I hate traveling these days. At least you got some sketches out of it (and hopefully no viruses that make you sniffle and worse).

Carol King said...

I'm sorry, but I laughed and laughed at your misfortune in airplane seating. Flying is not my favorite thing at all. I usually tranquilize (over-tranquilize)which make the flights tolerable.

But one thing I never did was sketch and I loved the sketches you did on the plane. Wonderful. Great story, Even greater sketches.