When Erica Jong introduced her best selling novel, “Fear of Flying” in 1973, the book literally flew off the shelves. Of course, that was long before we learned that “grey” actually has 50 shades, or is it 55? I’ve never been good with numbers or subtlety either.
So it was, that although I absorbed the hilarious story of Isadora Wing, the central character in “Flying”, I decided that at the age of seventy, “grey” has more to do with my hair color than my reading enjoyment.
Thus, if it seems inappropriate, that I, a matronly grandmother of two would choose “Fear of Flying” as the subject of my family-oriented periodical for my monthly column, I would beg your tolerance and also encourage you not to jump to conclusions regarding this piece.
You see, I have just returned from a four-day junket to North Carolina that required me to board five different airplanes in order to cover the 6,000 mile round trip.
Now, as a relatively “seasoned” flyer, (I’ve been boarding air-craft since I was eight-years old), I have observed over the last sixty-two years an astounding change in air flight.
Not only are the planes larger and faster, they are also far less comfortable, more crowded, and less efficient than the flight transport of yesteryear. Alas, no longer does one get dressed up to fly across the continent. Nay, in today’s world of airline travel, the worse you look the better.
And there is a reason for that! After all, who wants to wear a Channel suit with a silk blouse, accented with an Italian leather and silver belt, silk hose, and completed with Jimmy Chu “heels” and matched with a Gucci handbag, when you know what you have to face prior to boarding your means of transportation.
First is the moment of truth when, depending on the airport, you are told to produce not only your boarding pass, but a photo I.D. as well. This is the same photo I.D. you had to show at the counter downstairs when you obtained your boarding pass and have now returned to your wallet which has dropped to the bowels of your over-sized handbag.
Oh, yes, did I mention that with the recent “charge” for carry-on luggage that every woman on board is carrying a “purse” that could hold a small foreign automobile. This because one may have ONE carry-on piece of luggage AND ONE PERSONAL purse at no extra charge.
So now, armed with two “baggus giganticus” one is forced to dig once again for photo I.D. while holding the boarding pass firmly in one’s mouth. Not only is this great look, but the germ issue is over the moon.
All this is occurring as one simultaneously attempts to remove shoes, jacket, belt, and any metal item that might cause the alarm bells to ring and force the culprit who dared to have knee replacement surgery to move to another area of the check-in area for a “pat-down” that would have given even Erica Jong pause for thought.
And mind you, I have not even begun to relate the process of trying to stuff the two giant carry-on's into the over-head bins or under the seat in front of you….ah, that is really fun. But I want to say the rest of this tale for next time.
Happy trails to you until next issue.