All this anticipation for your destination, circumvented by the most unnatural travel experience you’ll possibly experience in this life.
Hurdling through the sky, pushing through the clouds, yanking away your Trader Joe’s fair trade coffee and lox bagels, your San Franciscan sustainable sustainessness, and slapping a tray of individually wrapped, hydrated treats and sky-meats.
“Do you want the chicken or the beef? I’ve only got one chicken left,” asked the hurried stewardess, rolling up, and pressing for a decision, hands at the ready on either side of her waist high flight case kitchen.
Wait. One chicken? What does this mean?
Instantly I had so many questions. My brain went berserk as I had never been given this information about the other passengers orders before. Who orders the Chicken? Who doesn’t? Does White Haired Lady with Glasses reading SkyMall order Chicken? The good looking Italian couple in front of me? Chicken? Business Suit stuck in coach waiting for an upgrade? No, they definitely ordered the Beef. I’m almost sure. Maybe I should ask them? Holy crap. I’ve never asked a stranger on a plane before. So many individual decisions about 2 dishes! I’m losing my mind.
Decaf or Regular?
Up or Down?
CHICKEN OR BEEEEEEEF???!!
WHO DOES THIS TO A PERSON WHO’S BEEN BREATHING RECYCLED FARTS FOR THE LAST HOUR?!
I can’t think.
Here I am, at 500 miles per hour and suddenly at risk of being another statistic, just another Chicken-dish, but I AM NOT. I’m not saying I’m Beef-dish, I’m not saying I’m either. I’m an individual. Just like everyone else, with one exception. I brought my own earbuds and I know there’s ONLY 1 CHICKEN DISH LEFT.
So I go right to the heart of the issue and ask the one question that I’m sure will out me ask a travel gourmet rookie. (Note to self: Re-up my subscription to “Bon FlyVant”.)
“Why do you only have one chicken? Is it better?” I ask.
I think I felt the entire jet sigh. People began to turn and look at us. Feeling the eyeballs made the Flight Attendant visibly nervous, as if my question might spark a Chicken-dish mutiny 23,456 feet above Buckeye, Arizona, she took a deep breath, regained her composure in a second, and turned to look at me with deadly calm.
“I have one chicken because the other passengers preferred chicken.” She replied, both a matter-of-factly, and mathematically.
Gripping myself with fear over where I know I needed to now take this, I calmly pressed on. Into the heart of the Beast, Captain!
“Hmm. Do you like the beef?” I asked, telling myself I’m not trying to be difficult, but if I’m about to imbibe a meal at 20,000 feet, I should treat it like it may be my last.
She looked at me puzzled. Could it be no one had ever asked this before? Then her glaze turned from mine for a second…
“I’ll have the chicken.” Suddenly, out of nowhere, a voice interjects, interrupting my hostile negotiation. My wife leans over, earbud in hand, across my lap, just arriving at the conversation, either too hungry to care, too impatient, or not realizing the brevity of the 2 choices.
“The Chicken, please.” And then smiles at me, leans back, puts her Airline branded earbuds back in her ears, her nose in her book and her tray down.
My jaw is on the floor (or the persons fully reclined seat in front of me.) I’m in a state of shock.
I look back at her as if she just gave away my secret handshake and watch as the “chicken-plate” flies across my face, ever so slowly, the flight attendent taking just a moment to pause under my nose with the scrumptious hot Chicken-dish bubbling under plastic like some gourmet science experiment and smelling ever so… well, like chicken.
There was only one thing to do now.
“I’ll have the beef!” I pronounce, ignoring the painful envy of the last Chicken-dish sitting only 6 inches from me (which is about 3 feet in Coach inches) smiling at the single serving saleswoman, who rolls her eyes and asks…
“To drink? I only have one Ginger Ale.”