This Is Your Captain Speaking, Mild Turbulence Ahead

The day had finally come. It was my dream trip. After scraping by, cutting back, and eating at home, I still didn’t have enough money for the trip. So I did what most Americans do when faced with this dilemma: I charged it to my new credit card. I finally realized that life is too short and that the way my husband spends money I would never be able to afford the trip before I was 90.

Now most of you are probably thinking I went to Hawaii or Paris, maybe Cancun, but no. Did I forget to tell you I have children? Yep, I do, and we were going to Disney World. It was our first time to Florida, first time on a plane for my young ones, third time for me...I’m no world fact I hate to fly. I’ve always told everyone that when they build that bridge to Hawaii I will be there.

But I was determined to do it. I had a limited amount of vacation time and money and I wasn’t about to waste it driving to Florida and then driving back. I then asked my mommy to go with me for support.

My husband was too busy spending our money and working long hours (I would find out later that he was dating his clients (we are divorced now)) to take a family vacation. So he just took us to the airport. My two daughters (ages eight and three) were bubbling with excitement.

My mother, who loves planes, was ready to take off. But my three-year-old decided to extend her terrible twos and had to be constantly monitored because she did nothing I asked without my threatening to end her life. She then decided that she wanted to sit next to grandma. For some unknown reason, I agreed. First big mistake. Knowing the limits of her grandmother’s discipline, my youngest refused to sit in her seat. At approximately the same time, my older daughter asked if I would like to sit by the window so I could see how high we were. “No,” I firmly exclaimed, “I am fine right where I am.” While my mother was trying to get my attention because my youngest decided to throw another tantrum, the man next to me was smirking because he could sense my love of flying. 

I took back my three-year-old and my eight-year-old went with grandma. I gave my three-year-old the death-stare and she calmed down and tried to get me to look out the window. I calmly refused. The stewardesses then started distributing snacks, blankets, and bagels. Suddenly we began to experience a lot of turbulence, none to the liking of my already weak stomach. I turned to ask my mother if this was normal. She responded with an unreassuring no. I began to pray for a safe flight, and gave thanks that my three-year-old was preoccupied with the clouds floating by.

Just then, a stewardess started running, full speed up and then back down the aisle. All the while we were still experiencing turbulence. The pilot got on the intercom announcing that the turbulence was nothing to worry about, but that we should keep our seatbelts on. A stewardess then got on the intercom asking if there was a doctor on board. The man who was sitting across from me—the same one who had been having such a good time with my loathing of flying, got up and ran to the front of the plane. Soon the pilot got back on the intercom and announced that we would be landing in Alabama due to a medical emergency. After a flurry of sighs and comments of disbelief, and still experiencing the turbulence pretty violently, we finally landed.    

After landing we gathered our carry-ons and exited the plane. We all thought this to be strange since we landed due to a medical emergency. After staying huddled together in the Birmingham Airport our pilot walked over and said he has some bad news. Apparently there was a part on the airplane that needed to be replaced and we would not be leaving until that evening when the part arrived and the plane was repaired.

Okay, talk about a mob scene. If it had not been for an airline representative handing out free food vouchers, I think the pilot might have been lynched. They all, like buzzards on prey, started closing in on him exclaiming their disbelief of this crazy process of fixing our plane and demanded to be compensated in some manner for their lost vacations. I, in my lone wisdom, came to his rescue announcing to all that I didn’t care if I was late—just get the dang plane fixed. I wanted to get there in one piece, thank you very much. After an array of stares, everyone scattered with their free food vouchers and I was left in all my greatness. 

My husband, whom I called immediately, called the airline and demanded an extra day at “Fabulous Disney World,” because it was not our fault the plane was broken. Yes, he was good for something. Later, we got our day back, arrived safely on a plane with no turbulence, and my financed fairy tale finally came true. 


Stacy Thowe is currently a fiction editor at Inscape Magazine. She is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, and a member of the Washburn Writer’s Circle in Topeka, Kansas, where she resides.

Categories: Airplanes, Pilots

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