Flight Check List

“Here I go again,” mutters Marvin to himself. The anticipated punishment of traveling through 9 time zones within 24 hours, with two plane changes makes him cringe in despair.

“I hope I don’t forget anything this time,” he thinks, remembering the mild panic he suffered last time when he found he had forgotten his inflatable neck rest.

He once again goes through his mental checklist to assure himself he will bring all he needs in the carry-on bag: eyeshades (check), earplugs (check), water bottle (remember to fill it after the security check—check), CD player & music CDs (check), earphones (check), NECK REST (check), slippers, melatonin and headache pills (check), extra handkerchief (check), bag of trail-mix (check), two apples (check) … “ooh, what have I forgotten?”

“Books!” (check).

Marvin has two hours before he needs to leave home via taxi to the airport. “If I just relax and visualize myself on the plane for the whole trip, I can remember what I may have forgotten,” he thinks to himself as he sits back in his easy chair.

He relaxes a bit, and the first vision that comes to him is being unable to get an aisle seat and sitting, once again, between two very large people who imprison him in his chair and squeeze him away from use of the arm rests. He knows, beyond all hope, he will not comfortably sleep for any significant time during the trip. He remembers with dread the dilemma of feeling thirsty but being afraid to re-hydrate because this means getting past the FAT PERSON impeding his access to the toilet. “Ohhhh,” he groans.

But then, he reminds himself that he always gets there, and the agony will be over—except it won’t! There will be one week of being a zombie after arrival. The mornings are usually all right, except they begin at two or three AM. It’s after lunch the horror begins. He anticipates the usual death of his higher brain functions, the strange twisted feeling between his eyes, around three-quarters of an inch into his skull. His eyes just close themselves, no matter where he is. It is as if a great hand descends from the sky and presses him down, down, down to the floor, or couch, or chair—wherever he may be. He promises himself not to be driving in the afternoon.

“What have I forgotten?” He goes through the checklist again.

“My reading glasses!”