My Behemoth (and other intimidating aspects of traveling)
The first time I ever flew overseas, I flew to the Czech Republic. I had been intrigued by the idea of traveling and seeing face-to-face all the things that I had previously only seen in history books. Once my flight was in the air, I had an mouth-opening encounter with motion sickness. I was traumatized—not because I had vomited just outside the bathroom and caused the German stewardess to swear in English, but because the possibility of having to give up my dreams of traveling due to an easily upset stomach.
I carried on through, however, and have eagerly soaked up experiences in Czech Republic, Italy, Costa Rica, and China. Yet I do not relish the hurtling of my body through unnatural speeds in the sky. Last time I flew overseas, I had already been awake for 18 hours when I boarded my flight. I then had a six-hour layover in Toronto and another lengthy layover in Frankfurt. Sitting in Toronto before a Richard Serra sculpture, bleary-eyed and stressed by the security of a G-6 summit, I yearned and halfway vowed to never fly alone internationally again—hoping the next trip would have me accompanied by some handsome gentleman who would guard my bag as I slept and remind me to take Dramamine.
Alas, I shouldn’t vow, for I am currently seated in the Minneapolis Airport, looking out on the Us Airways jets taxiing and viewing Air National Guard planes parked across the tarmac. My stomach is shaky—even though I am sitting still. I am suffering the physiological consequences of potential travel. (And there is no handsome gentleman accompanying me.)
My dear oldest sister was sainted yesterday as she bravely took on the task of rearranging my luggage yesterday morning while my cowardice required me to withdraw myself and take a shower. I had scrutinized and soliloquy-ed over the various items—measuring them in figurative and literal scales. The crème de la crème alone remained—and it was not cooperating; it was much too snobbish to comply. I had laughed and sighed over my 32-year-old sister face-planted over a vacuum-bag full of teacher-appropriate sweaters, and our effective packing resulted in a 65-pound checked bag. Post shower, I found my bags still too heavy and I decided to unload the vacuum seal bag and arrange my items by category (sweaters, shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, et cetera). In the end, my choices were little altered. I could cut no more, and I must pack by bags and face whatever may come at the flight check-in.
The next 24 hours were a swirl of goodbyes, travel to Minnesota, delicious food, and coffee. At 2 PM, I streamed through the airport, searching for American Airlines while my father trailed behind with the behemoth with which my sister and I had been wrestling. Another match occurred at a scale near check-in which again called the beast overweight. After some more furrowing of the brows, deep sighing , and rearranging (all on my part), we decided to stand to the reckoning. The final weigh in? 50.0 pounds. I exhaled and uttered a “praise God.” My father took a picture with his cell phone. We left the beast with its new escorts, and my bulky other companions and I proceeded through security.