Like an Eagle or Superman

Flying last week reminded me how much I hate flying.

There’s something about defying the laws of gravity that feels…I don’t know, cocky, for lack of a better word. I’m no engineer, but I do understand the mechanics of flight. Lift and weight and thrust and drag. Pitch, roll, and yaw. Rudders and elevators and ailerons, oh my! These factors aside, I just don’t get how it’s possible to slip the surly bonds of earth and cheat gravity.

Is it clear that I’m a nervous flyer? Not for the whole flight, of course! Just the part between taking off and landing. The only way I would enjoy flying would be to take to the skies myself, like an eagle. Or Superman. Definitely not Icarus, though. Remember him?

According to Greek mythology, Daedalus, a craftsman who was imprisoned on the island of Crete with his son, Icarus, for aiding and abetting the enemy of King Minos, decided that he’d had enough of the joint and hatched a brilliant escape plan. He built two pairs of wings from wax and feathers and, before taking to the skies, said, “Boy, make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened and your seat back and tray table are in their full upright positions.” icarus.png

Icarus was understandably confused. When pressed for clarification, daddy said, “Never mind. Just don’t fly too close to the sun.”

Once airborne, Icarus was so thrilled to be flying, he got a little carried away. “Look at me, look at meeeee!!” he exclaimed gleefully, soaring ever higher and higher. Ignoring his father’s warning, he flew too close to the sun, melting the wax from his wings and sending him plunging to his death in the Icarian Sea far below. This is okay if you’re gung-ho over having an ocean named after you, but otherwise pretty much sucks.

Legend has it Daedalus grumbled, “You had one job to do” while watching his boy plummet to earth.

Gravity: 1. Man: 0.

These are the things I think about when I’m strapped into my seat and we’re sitting on the tarmac before taking off. Inherent danger aside, the whole airline travel experience just bites. For starters, when Tara booked our flights, she didn’t realize we weren’t even seated together. Apparently you have to pay extra for the privilege of sitting next to your significant other. When did that become standard?! I guess some couples might enjoy a break from one another, but I happen to like my wife. Having a hand to hold onto when turbulence hits is nice, and oddly enough, reaching for a stranger’s hand is frowned upon.

I hate the way the airlines nickel-and-dime you. Fuel surcharges, extra baggage fees, yadda yadda. I was looking forward to an in-flight Bloody Mary to calm my nerves, but at $9 a pop for a mini bottle of vodka, I passed. Sure, the mix itself is free, but that’s just glorified tomato juice.

And security checkpoints are ridiculous. I get sending your carry-on bag (that you have probably paid a fortune to bring aboard) through the x-ray machine, and okay, removing your shoes has been a requirement for years. But I was asked to take off my belt, too. Under different circumstances this might be exciting, but not when the order comes from a burly TSA agent with three days’ worth of stubble and hands the size of a catcher’s mitt. And I don’t understand why they make you empty everything from your pockets—”even a scrap of paper,” we were warned. At least I wasn’t subjected to a pat-down like the poor guy in Reno on our way back. He looked extremely pissed (and violated). I don’t blame him.

I’ll take driving over flying any day! We’d talked about doing that this trip, but I only had a couple of PTO days and booking a couple of months in advance, we had no idea what the weather would be like. Traversing the Rocky Mountains in winter can be dicey. So we departed Rapid City Monday evening and arrived in Reno at midnight, after a two-hour layover in Denver. I can’t believe how big that airport is. It took us 20 minutes to walk from one gate to our next. At least we were able to grab a couple of drinks at a bar while waiting for our connecting flight. By the time we got checked into our motel across from the airport, it was after 1:00 a.m.

We were up super early Tuesday morning for the five-hour drive to Ely. It’s a good thing, too; half an hour into our drive, Tara got a text from Cynthia asking if we would be there by 2:00 for the wedding ceremony. Now, we’d been under the assumption that Tara’s dad and Cynthia had already gotten married, so this was a surprise! But we made it there with an hour to spare and were able to catch the 10-minute ceremony in a local church. Afterward, my father-in-law treated us to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We spent the remainder of the evening at his house, but I was exhausted by this point, so Tara ended up driving me to our motel. The clock struck midnight while we were in the car, which was weird because there was no big countdown and New Year’s kiss or toast. We didn’t even realize it was 2020 until we got to the parking lot at 12:02 a.m. Talk about an inauspicious and anti-climactic beginning to a new decade!

New Year’s Day was spent at Tara’s uncle’s ranch house in town. There were 40-50 people there celebrating Randy and Cynthia’s nuptials, and all kinds of good food. A veritable feast that included turkey, ham, shrimp, chili verde, various meats and cheeses and veggies and dips, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas for good luck, and a lot more. Quite the delicious spread and nobody went home hungry.

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Downtown Ely was looking pretty desolate on New Year’s morning.

Thursday was a long-ass day. After meeting a couple of Tara’s friends for breakfast, we bid adieu to her family and hit the road for the drive back to Reno, followed by a flight to Denver that was SUPER bumpy, and another to Rapid City. Once again, we arrived around midnight, and had to turn around and go to work the next day.

All in all, it was a good trip, and I’m glad we went. But I’m not going to lie: I am very happy to be home. And Sydney was thrilled to see us. She’s been our shadow ever since, following us everywhere, curling up on our laps, sleeping between us.

I told Tara I like my cats how I like my women, extra clingy, so it’s all good.

15 Comments on “Like an Eagle or Superman

  1. I don’t fly well at all so I avoid it. Don’t think that I’ll ever fulfill my dreams of getting to Europe unless someone brings back luxury ocean liners… but then there’s that whole Titanic thing, so maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark, I’m sure you already know this from previous posts, but I too don’t like flying. I’ll do it because sometimes it’s the only way to travel, however, I’m always nervous. Also, I just think the whole experience is so uncomfortable. That is unless you’re flying first-class or business.$$$$

    ” For starters, when Tara booked our flights, she didn’t realize we weren’t even seated together. Apparently you have to pay extra for the privilege of sitting next to your significant other. ” OMG, you’re kidding?! That’s what I mean, the whole experience is such a royal pain in the ass because NOTHING is ever included in the price.

    Yes, TSA is such a long and irritating process. You have to practically completely disrobe, and then dress again. And you have to do it fast because everyone is standing behind you, waiting in line.

    Anyway, I’m glad your made it there and had a nice time. Your photos are faaaaaaabulous! Love the shot of the snow on the mountains. And speaking of Reno, I was there many years ago, on my way to Lake Tahoe.

    Welcome home, my friend! And Happy New Year to you and Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re absolutely right, Ron – I felt compelled to hurry up emptying my pockets, placing everything in the trays and walking through the screener because of the people behind me. But it takes time to do all these things!

      Next time we’re driving. Flying just isn’t worth the hassle or expense – this trip set us back close to $1,000.

      Like

  3. “Under different circumstances, this might be exciting . . .” Bahahaha! True dat! I’m not nervous flying, but the entire 12 hours preceding it makes me a nervous Nellie. Worried my alarm won’t go off, electricity will go out, I’ll get a flat tire on way to airport, flight will be canceled, and don’t get me started on TSA. In fact, I’ve been saving a post about that!

    Isn’t the Denver airport a monster? We had a 45 minute layover there on San Diego trip and it took that entire time to get to the next gate (minus potty break). Oh well, if you want to go anywhere, you’ve got to suck it up! Glad your trip was a success, though mighty quick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • During the entire five-hour drive to Reno, I worried about the flight being delayed because of our connection in Denver. By that point, I just wanted to get home! Fortunately, everything worked out just fine. There might have been a lot of turbulence, but at least we touched down on time (actually early).

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  4. Dude, the security is totally a joke. I was forbidden from being a jar of jam in my carryon because it was “dangerous”–I could either pay $60 for it to be not-carry on, or I could toss it.

    I watched them toss the “dangerous” *glass* jar of chemical into a bin full of other “dangerous” chemicals.

    That aside, hooray for holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What’s going on with the side of that building in downtown Ely? I can’t figure out the architecture. The pics are fabulous. I, too, appreciate history, so thanks for the Pony Express photo.
    So taken aback by the Icarus story because the song Daedalus by Thrice (ever hear of them? I actually learned of them from CMG! His favorite band!) has been roaming through my head all day. It was a little creepy to see that pic and know exactly what it was but think, Nah, can’t be. Too weird. But then to read and see it was. Your version of the story is far more entertaining than the original. The Greeks could learn a thing or two from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a sculpture that, I believe, depicts mining equipment or a mining shaft. There is a large copper mine just outside of Ely that is still one of the two biggest employers in White Pine County.

      I am glad I could both educate and entertain you. I like to break history down into easily-digestible blurbs. I’m not familiar with Thrice but will have to give that song a listen!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Since you like Pearl Jam, we must have similar tastes in music. Aside from CM, introducing me to Thrice is the second best thing I got from the CMG. 🙂

        Like

  6. Hi Mark, Very funny on how some couples may like a break from each other. I like sitting next to my husband, too. In case we nod off and start drooling on the person next to us.

    Your photos are beautiful! The drive across Nevada looks peaceful, pretty and safe driving for winter driving. You remind me how there is no place like home.

    Liked by 1 person

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