Babies and old people fall. Babies fall easy. Old people fall hard. Since I am not a baby, I guess that puts me in the old category.
Imagine if you will, a plane completely full with cosmopolitan, savvy, LA bound, passengers. Most of the passengers carry roller bags onto the plane since very few want to pay the fee for having their luggage thrown around and dumped in the plane and then plopped onto the carousel.
I assure you that I have flown many times and I have seen smart, seasoned travelers check the overhead bins in the front of the plane for an empty space for their bag, particularly if they are seated towards the back. Today, I forgot the seasoning and kept walking towards the back expecting that there would be a place for MY bag. Oh, I forgot to mention that I was in the last group and there were only eight people behind me, most of them without a bag.
I got within ten rows of my seat and a squat flight attendant came up to me and told me I had to check my bag because all the overheads were full. That leads to another dilemma. I am willing–sort of–to pay $25 for one bag. However, if your bag is over 50 pounds it will cost another $25. Therefore, I put the heavy electronics in my roller bag. My breathing machine must weigh at least 10 pounds. Then I added a laptop, an iPad, and a Kindle. I think I had one small jacket in it to pretend I was padding the machines. What I am trying to say is I did not want to check it and get my electronics broken or stolen. I tried explaining that to the flight attendant, ok, I begged the flight attendant to let me keep it on the plane. A begging old lady is a pathetic sight on the plane, so luckily–I guess it was lucky– she found a space in first class. I hurried up the aisle because all the passengers were already seated and waiting for me. As I pass into First Class, I see these awesome black patent leather shoes attached to very long legs sticking out into the aisle.
The space was at the very end of First Class. This compartment is half the size of a regular compartment. Oh, I think I forgot to mention that I am also wearing a backpack that weighs 15 or so pounds.
I study the hole. I gauge the height and the force that is needed to get my bag up there.
My gauge was broken.
I swung the bag up and unbeknownst to me, my backpack also caught on the seat behind me. I lifted the bag, it was much heavier than I thought. My aching right shoulder shuddered in pain. The bag was already heading upward and there was no space to let it drop, unless I wanted to drop it on the head of the man seated below the compartment. I could feel the eyes of everyone in first class staring at me. With all my might I pushed upward….
Not enough lift, too much drag from the backpack and I tumbled over, ending up kissing the floor of the plane. I have no idea what happened to my bag. I think my bag landed on me. Now, the men in First Class were helping me.
“Get the backpack off her!”
I was listening, but it was at this point that utter mortification set in. I knew every passenger saw me hit the floor. I wanted to get up and run out of the plane. I wished I was invisible. My arm was at a weird angle in front of me. My head hurt because I think I hit it on an armrest. I hurt all over. The floor reeked of smelly feet. I tasted something that I wish I hadn’t.
“Don’t move,” someone repeated as I pulled myself up.
“The paramedics are coming,” the flight attendant shouted–because old people are hard of hearing.
Oh my God! Please take me away from this circus.
“I’m ok,” I squeaked.
“Stay down,” someone said.
I pulled myself up and a tall doctor-looking gentleman kept asking if I hurt anywhere. He wanted me to stay on the floor and wait for the paramedics. What really hurt was my pride. It would not have mattered if I had a bone sticking out of me somewhere, I would have said I was fine so I could get back to my seat.
“I’m ok,” I repeated. As I turned to go back to my seat. Black patent leather shoes had my bag in his hand and asked if I wanted him to put it up for me. I shook my head yes.
Now, I know what it means to slink back to your seat. My head was hung VERY low. The only people I saw were the tiny ladies in the aisle seats who were asking if I was ok. I barely nodded and moved on as fast as I could. I held my body tight hoping it would grow smaller and I could disappear.
I finally made it back to my seat. I looked down believing that if I did not see them, they did not see me. As I sat there, the pain started showing up in various places. My wrist, my forearm, my temple and of course, my shoulder.
A short, stout policeman came plodding down the aisle, stopped at my seat and shouted, “The medics are coming!”
I could hear the moan from the 200 passengers. Now this lady was going to make them late for their destinations.
“I’m fine,” I whispered. “I’m fine.”
I sat staring at my hands fearing that the men in the bright yellow suits would come clicking and clanking down the aisle and start asking all sorts of more embarrassing questions.
“The door is closing,” the attendant announced.
I breathed a sigh of relief–no more mortifying experiences on this flight–I thought.
I have to thank the pilot because he got on the speaker immediately and said that they still have a few bags to load and once those are done, we would be on our way. I love that pilot because now everyone won’t give me the stink eye when we deplane.
I hurt. I usually sleep, but who can sleep when you hurt and are embarrassed beyond belief.
Of course, people love to talk about other people’s misfortunes. I was standing next to the facilities and black patent leather shoes was talking to the flight attendants in the back. It is disconcerting when strangers are talking about you. Ok, it is embarrassing as all get out.
“Those old guys in first class just watched her struggle. No one got up to help.” He must have sensed my presence because he turned around and stopped talking. As I left facilities, he turned to me and asked if I wanted him to take down my bag when we landed.
“Yes, please,” I murmured feeling a deep flush come up my face. “I appreciate your help.” True to his word. The bag was waiting on the floor of First Class.