You remember the movie Flightplan, right?
(According to IMDB it’s “A claustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobody admits she was ever on that plane.”)
Scott and I saw it on a date back in 2005, and if I recall correctly, it was actually pretty good.
Yet never did a million years did I guess that just seven years later, I would experience my own version of the “claustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller”.
Last weekend, Scott and I travelled to Texas for a friend’s wedding. Because we live a million miles from the airport, catching our 7:00 am flight required leaving the house at 3:00 in the morning. This wouldn’t have been so bad had Scott not decided to start making eggplant parmesan from scratch at 11:00 pm the night before.
While the eggplant was incredibly tasty, it meant by the time we arrived at the airport, we had each managed to snag only two hours of sleep.
This is the part where I get really jealous of Scott as he’s able to sleep just about anywhere.
I snapped this photo while we were waiting at our gate to board, but believe me, this behavior definitely continued once seated on the plane. The problem with sitting next to Scott is that he assumes our marriage vows allow him to freely use me as a body pillow whenever he likes. This means that while he’s enjoying a delightful nap, I sit there entangled in all four of his limbs, listening to his snores and unwillingly catching his drool on my new leather jacket.
It is for this reason that I usually book two seats that aren’t next to each other. Yet in the hustle and bustle of making travel arrangements at the last-minute, the thought had slipped my mind when scheduling this particular flight.
Luckily, Scott decided to drink an entire gallon of water on the drive down to Minneapolis, which meant I did get a few moments of solitude during his frequent bathroom breaks.
Just as the aircraft was beginning to taxi, I felt the large, sweaty man wrapped around my stiff and uncomfortable body begin to stir.
“Hey,” he whispered, “I’ll be right back. I’ve got to pee again.”
I nodded and reclined my seat, attempting to make the most of the five minutes I had to relax. I must have been more tired than I realized as I slept through the entire takeoff. When I finally did wake up, it had been a good twenty minutes. I looked to the side, surprised to find that the seat next to me was still empty. Scott was still in the bathroom? I shrugged it off as indigestion and went back to sleep.
I woke up fifteen minutes later to a still empty seat. Had Scott really been in the bathroom for thirty-five minutes? While I truly didn’t want to go knocking on the bathroom door and calling his name, I decided that if he wasn’t back in five minutes, I was going to have to swallow my pride and resort to airplane bathroom trick-or-treating.
As luck would have it, during that five minutes the flight attendants came through the aisle with our beverage service. I was trapped by their drink carts for another 25 minutes. I kept frantically looking towards the back of the plane, searching for Scott. He was nowhere in sight.
This is when I started to panic.
Naturally, the following scenarios ran through my mind.
1. Perhaps Scott had really bad indigestion from the eggplant parmesan?
2. Maybe he was so tired, he actually fell asleep on the toilet?
3. What if he somehow de-boarded the plane because he forgot something and then we left without him?
4. Would it be possible for the bathroom alone to become depressurized? And for Scott to get sucked out into the atmosphere with his pants down at his ankles?
5. Had someone kidnapped him? Was this trip to Texas just one massive conspiracy? Did Scott know something dangerous?
In my totally rational mind, number five seemed the most plausible. I’m going to blame that on the fact that I was running on two hours of sleep and hadn’t had any coffee.
Sitting alone is seat 11B, I came to the disheartening conclusion that I was actually experiencing the real-life version of Flightplan.
Just without Jodie Foster.
And instead of an adorable young girl being taken hostage, it was a 29-year-old man who was wearing flip flops, and just so happend to be dangerously sleepy.
Other than that, it was totally Flightplan.
After what seemed like an eternity, the aisles were clear of any flight attendants and food carts. I made a mad dash towards the restrooms, crestfallen when I realized both of them were vacant. Instantly, I jogged (as much as one can jog down the aisle of an airplane) to the front of the aircraft. Perhaps Scott had opted for the first class bathrooms?
Again, both of them were empty. It was official. Scott really had been kidnapped.
(Or sucked out of a depressurized bathroom, although I’m pretty sure the captain would have made an announcement about that.)
I realized at this point, I would need to inform the flight attendants that there was a missing person.
I slowly returned to the back of the plane, where the attendants had congregated. Just as I was about to tap one of them on the shoulder and inform them of my grave situation, I saw this in the back row.
I was pissed.
Pissed because Scott had gotten an extra two hours of shut-eye while I created hypothetical scenarios about his espionage-related kidnapping.
Pissed because I had been so worried, I didn’t even take advantage of the free peanuts the flight attendants had offered me just ten minutes prior.
Pissed because I had worn my tightest pair of skinny jeans and feared kicking my husband would cause them to rip at the seam.
To save the jeans, I went with yelling instead.
I’m sorry, but you don’t put your wife in the middle of a 2005 Jodie Foster movie and just get away with it.
After I’d gotten all my anger out, Scott explained himself. He had exited the bathroom during the middle of takeoff, and a flight attendant had insisted he sit down and buckle up immediately. He could return to his assigned seat once we reached cruising altitude. In true Scott fashion, he had drifted off to sleep before that happened–my yelling was the first thing that had woken him up.
“How long have we even been flying?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes, stomped back to my seat and pressed the flight attendant button so that I might order a large bloody mary. And peanuts. Lots and lots of peanuts.
Somehow, I had managed to survive my own personal Flightplan.
But if Scott ever decides to put me through Panic Room?
Let’s just say it’s gonna take a lot more than peanuts to fix that one.