Nancy and Linda Fly the Friendly Skies
When my sister Linda and I first hatched our crazy plan to fly clear across the country by ourselves we actually felt pretty confident. We had no worries about enjoying the destination. My nephew Kyle has been living in Los Angeles for seven years and my sister has been out to visit him once before. She knew what to expect and I knew he would take care of us, driving our rental car and showing us all the touristy sites. In addition, we were not worried about our accommodations because we were staying in the same little apartment in Burbank that Linda had rented during her last trip six years earlier. We knew it would be clean and safe and in a good location. We didn’t even care about sharing these close quarters for a week because even though there is a 12 year difference in our ages (she the oldest of four, me the youngest) we have always gotten along famously. We have the same personality type, decidedly introverted but with a side of adventure. We share the same sarcastic sense of humor, eating habits and taste in wine. In fact, my brother-in-law often claims that we share a brain.
So it was with excited anticipation that we planned our adventure. We had just one obstacle and one big worry…getting there. It wasn’t a fear of flying that gave us anxiety. We both really enjoy the actual flying part. . It was more a fear of arrival times and baggage claims, of security checks and boarding passes. In addition to sharing a brain, my sister and I also share a phobia of rule breaking. The idea that we would be late or get pulled out of line for an infraction of the security rules, which are much stricter since the last time either of us flew, had us both nervous wrecks. Linda alleviated her anxiety by scouring the internet. Every few days I received another link to another site with tips for stress free flying. Personally, I went straight to the horse’s mouth, or rather to my friend Donna who has flown more miles than she cares to remember both for work and pleasure. She sent me a nice long email detailing what we could do to make the flight and check in easier.
When the time arrived for us to finally embark it felt like we had prepared all we could for our 5:45 flight out of Philadelphia. I even arranged to leave work early just in case of traffic. Our bags were packed (although Linda was sure she was going to be over the 25 pound limit for checked bags); our carry-ons were filled with books and food (in clear zip lock bags); we were wearing slip on shoes (in case we needed to remove them for security), and socks (because airport floors=gross); we were without cumbersome scarves, jackets or necklaces so we could plop our stuff into those plastic bins with ease and once through security, we planned to buy large bottles of water to drink on the plane to stay hydrated.
So we were ready, right? Worries and anxiety in check, right? Not really. We still kept imagining everything that could go wrong. Linda worried more than me, always has. I think it’s a birth order thing. Any-hoo, the departure day finally came. We arrived at the airport hours ahead of our flight, checked our bags quickly and easily (she had a 1/2 pound to spare, mine was 10 pound lighter-I know how to pack!), and sailed right through security, without even removing our shoes.
It was sort of anticlimactic. We just looked at each other and thought, “That’s it?” No pat down? No bag searches? No suspicious looks? The most difficult part was trying to figure out how to print our baggage tag from those annoying little kiosks they use now. My kingdom for a real, live person with a pen and paper!! Oh, and we also sat at the wrong departure gate for an hour (long story) but we figured it out in plenty of time.
The five hour flight was a little cramped but fine. The flight attendant did get sort of snippy when we asked for wine. Apparently they had to wait “till we reach cruising altitude.” Yeesh! She obviously didn’t realize how badly we needed that wine! Anyway, finally around 9pm (12am without the time change) the lights of the Greater Los Angeles area appeared below and we began our decent.
We had been warned by several people about how crazy LAX could be but we actually found it easier to navigate than the Philadelphia Airport had been. We found our luggage and my nephew Kyle, who had Ubered to the airport, in no time at all. A shuttle took us to the Hertz Rental Center where we signed in and were sent to pick out our rental car. It’s a nice idea, really, giving you the choice of all the cars in the lot but in the dark after a long day I would have preferred someone just hand me the keys. Since Kyle was going to do most of the driving, we let him pick. By this time, I had a crashing headache and was just ready to climb in the back seat and nap. It was probably due to stress…or the wine…or the fact that I’d mostly had wine for dinner. I could blame it on the dry air on the plane but that’s unlikely. Anyway, my introduction to the insane L.A. Traffic and all the zigging and zagging involved was not fun and I was grateful to make it to our cute little Burbank apartment without hurling in the back seat of the rented Toyota.
Day one down. Technically, I guess, it was already day two since it was around 1am. Linda and Kyle decided to stay up for a while and catch up. Me, I crawled into my pjs and into the nice comfy bed thankful for the peace and quiet. I was asleep in minutes, dreaming of all the adventures to come.
Watch out Hollywood. The Sisters have arrived!