Patience at 36,000 feet isn't easy

photo of airplane interiorPatience at 36,000 feet isn’t easy. Flying anywhere is an exhausting endurance test rather than a fun adventure.

You get 17″ of seat width, with 15″ space between armrests, in a metal tube of recycled air, next to people you hope don’t breathe on you. I just came back from a long flight, and these are the kinds of things my brain went to as I sat with my elbows squeezed into my sides for nine hours. This matters especially because I was in the middle seat.

I had to squeeze my elbows into my sides with my arms straight forward to stay in my allotted (translation ‘paid for’) space between the armrests. Don’t get me started on legroom. I either have to slouch slightly for my legs to stretch under the seat in front of me, or sit with my knees at a 90-degree angle if I brought “a personal carry-on item.” If I did, I pray I don’t need anything in my carry-on item, as it requires laying my head in my neighbor’s lap to reach it. (Patience, I tell myself.)

Today, enjoyment begins once I get off the plane at my final destination, and not before. Gratitude begins when my luggage arrives at the same time and destination as I do.

“Fly the Friendly Skies” became “Enjoy third-class” long ago.

The era of “Fly the friendly skies” became “Enjoy third-class” long ago. The current profit mantra isn’t happy passengers. It is calculated upcharges and the squeeze to get ever more passengers in the same square footage the plane always had. I usually fly Southwest Airlines which is unique – all the seats are the same. Seating is mostly first-come, first-served if you check in early.

This time we had to fly the friendly skies which offered four or five ‘classes’ of seats, all for increased charges up to hundreds of dollars. Do you want the city bus or the limo experience? We all get to the same place at the same time. It’s as if they intentionally want you to feel miserable enough or squeezed enough, that you will be glad to pay the upcharges for another inch or two. All passengers are by default lower class. The airline even curtained off the upper sections to preserve the separation of classes. (Patience, I tell myself.) But if it’s like the Titanic, ‘in the case of a flight emergency,’ have First Class passengers paid enough to be saved first? First Class is all about first-on-first-off, right?

I think the more experienced flight attendants are always assigned to First Class. (Sorry I don’t have any flight attendant friends to verify this.) Accordingly, do flight attendants make more if they serve the “upper classes”? Personally, I think the flight attendants in Coach and Economy should be paid more no matter their experience level. They deal with more unhappy and crowded passengers than in First Class.

What is the best Halloween costume for a pilot?
Dark glasses and a white cane.

Fine dining on an airplane is a true oxymoron.

Photo of an airline meal - a true test of patienceThe miniature tray table that folds down is maybe eleven inches, barely wider than my iPad. So, when dinner comes on a food tray a few inches smaller, I try to balance my book and eat without bending my arms into my neighbor’s space or spilling my drink. Good luck.

Everything is scaled to miniature. The plastic silverware is the size of my index finger. A bag of cookies is the size handed out at Halloween, smaller than a small dinner roll. “Salad” was a small, wilted leaf of lettuce and three mozzarella balls, squeezed into a smaller container. The entree was a 2″ x 6″  microwavable tray half the size of a Lean Cuisine microwave dinner. But that’s OK. It wasn’t that great anyway. (Patience, I tell myself.)

Pay for airport food or eat free airplane food. You decide.

But heck, these are inconveniences. Reminders that any travel or vacation requires a healthy dose of patience. (I haven’t even touched on the joys of TSA and missed flights.) If you don’t expect to enjoy travel, then it meets your expectations. The fact that I was on a plane, coming home from a wonderful vacation means that a) I was able to pay for a plane ticket and b) had the time and money to go on vacation. Both items are something millions of people in the world can only dream of.

I remain a blessed woman in so many ways.

What’s the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?
An optimist created the airplane; a pessimist created the seatbelts.

November 1 is National Author’s Day!

Meme for National Authors DayNational Authors Day was established by Nellie McPherson in 1928 to celebrate American authors and their literary works. The day was later recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1949. Its purpose is to promote writing, encourage people to become authors and foster a love for reading.


  • Name three favorite books from your childhood.
  • Now name three books that may have changed your life.
  • Who is your favorite author?

I have been asked all three questions in various author interviews, and each question takes some thought.

When I was young, I consumed Nancy Drew books (Carolyn Keene), Little House on the Prairie books (Laura Ingalls Wilder), and A Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett). With my children, we consumed all of Shel Silverstein, Robert Munsch, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Add these to my favorite authors.

Trivia: Carolyn Keene was a pen name for a series of authors. Who knew?

I can’t name a single favorite author since I read different genres. And debut authors continue to surprise and impress me.

Books that changed my life? Many of them, because each book tells me something new or gives me a different detail, slant, or perspective on things I had not seen before. Sure, some are better than others, but as a writer, I can study what worked and what didn’t.

I have reviewed multiple authors and books in previous blogs, which can be found by searching by categories on the first page of Blogs. Click here.

A man goes into a library and asks for a book on cliffhangers. The librarian says:

Free access to millions of books can be found at:

In the spirit of literacy and research purposes, millions of books, magazines, newspapers, and more can be found at the following two sites. Don’t expect new books, but you can get lost in the vast number of resources available.

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. This website is a goldmine of information, almost a library of libraries. You can read library books online from anywhere. It is one of the top 300 websites in the world. Check it out here. 

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 70,000 free eBooks, focused on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Click here.

Safe travels and happy reading.

In friendship,

just landed


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Tags: About Katrina, Just for Fun, On Writing

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