by Jayne Martin
My good friends, Kathie and Bruce, just got back from three weeks in France and Italy. Sounds divine, doesn’t it? Last year, Pamela and Richard, traveled through Spain, while adventurous Penelope and Andy trekked through India and rode camels. I’m so impressed.
My friends travel, while I … don’t. I don’t even have a passport. I did go on a three-day cruise to Mexico in 2006. The best part was buying drugs that are illegal in the U.S. without a prescription, and cheaply at that.
It’s not that I don’t like seeing other places. It’s the getting-to-them that presents the obstacle: The crowds, the packing, the delays, the flying. Not the flying so much as the potential for crashing. And don’t give me that crap about it being safer to fly than to travel by car. I drive a Volvo.
Besides, I mean really, isn’t it all on DVD now anyway? If I want to see Italy can’t I just pop in a disk and relax in the comfort of my own home with a plate of lasagna? China? Hey, pass me the egg rolls. And who wouldn’t rather see Paris all cozy on the sofa with a savory Coq au Vin while avoiding all those annoying French people.
The last time I flew anywhere was in ’93, from L.A. to Pennsylvania. To save myself the trouble of having to check a bag I decided that I would simply wear everything I would need over those next three days. It worked for “Heidi.” Stoked by my own brilliance, I planned my wardrobe carefully and began to layer, starting with several pair of undies: A thong, a bikini and a brief, in that order. Next, a pair of knee high socks, some leggings, low-rise jeans and finally a long, black skirt. On top I donned a tank, a tee-shirt, then a black turtleneck and, finally, a wool, cable-knit sweater. For shoes, black cowboy boots which went nicely with all my planned attire. Clearly, these were the days when you could still fly without enduring a cavity search.
Although it should be obvious, I will mention it anyway. The ingestion of any liquids that day was strictly verboten as peeing would be out of the question. This presented a slight problem, as I prefer to be dead-ass drunk when I fly, but the downing of a single 10-mg tablet of Xanax proved surprisingly effective. Was it not for the fact that even if you drink nothing for hours on end, the body will continue to produce waste fluids and deliver them oh-so-efficiently to the bladder, my plan would have been flawless. This I discovered about one hour from landing and by the time we taxied to the gate, the whole “Heidi” thing no longer seemed like such a stroke of genius.
Still determined to circumvent the baggage check-in folks, should I ever fly again I will pack my belongings in a cardboard box and FedEx them to my destination, but such an excursion is unlikely. Planes have been dropping out of the sky like flies lately. Have you noticed? So unless I’m guaranteed Scully at the helm, I’ll be staying right here on good old Terra Firma, thank you very much.
Trains and buses aren’t much better. You’re still jammed together with a lot of strangers carrying God only knows what germs. You’ve got some Einstein train engineer texting his girlfriend just when he’s supposed to be switching tracks, and buses without seatbelts going off the sides of overpasses. Yes, I know. When my time is up it’s up and “The Big Guy” will initiate his own personal search-and-destroy mission. I could be securely ensconced in my own bedroom having safe sex with myself (all the safer) only to have a plane land on me. Probably the same one I determined to avoid in the first place. It happens. So why go asking for trouble when it can clearly find you any time it pleases?
I’m sure that I would enjoy lying on a white, sandy Caribbean beach, my toes dipping into the clear, blue waters of the Atlantic, while a large alcoholic concoction of some kind is served to me by a half-naked native Adonis. There are many places that I am sure I would enjoy, and it is my fervent hope to live long enough for the words “Beam me up, Scotty” to become a reality. But until then I’m afraid I will just have to remain the reluctant traveler.
published 18 June 2014