That mild embarrassment over, I double-timed it to my gate, where I sat down and waited with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. They were asking for volunteers to take the next flight, as this one was overcrowded. I called Guide Dog Aunt to see if she'd be up for picking me up a little later, because I could use a free flight, but she wasn't in. Slightly before boarding was due to begin, they announced that the service crew had found "a maintenance issue". I called Guide Dog Aunt and left another message about that, once it proved to be a little more time-consuming than they'd thought. When we started boarding an hour later, I left another message (but didn't get to finish my frappucino).
I'd asked for an aisle seat. Airline seats are small, I am not small, and it is best for everyone if I do not attempt to get my elbows in my seatmates' business. So naturally, my aisle seat (17C) was being sat in by the elderly wife of the elderly gentleman in 17B. As the plane was late, there were people behind, and communications were limited, I took her seat, 17E. The discerning may note that this, in a 6-seat-wide jet, is a middle seat. A short comedy act involving me, my two neighbors, assorted baggage, and the sonofabitch seatbelt ensued, but all was settled for the duration of the flight after that.
What was either some piece of machinery acting up or a barking dog started making regular and very loud noise from the baggage compartment below, practically right below my feet, as soon as we started to taxi out. This interfered with my enjoyment of the flight safety instruction video, always a top hit entertainment choice. The pilot had said that the problem was a dodgy fuel valve, which had been replaced, so I was a little nervous, even though I don't recall fuel valves barking. Fortunately, whatever it was quieted around the same time we hit the air.
The lady next to me doesn't like takeoffs or landings. At least, I figured that's what is meant by it when she clutches her rosary, crosses herself, and whispers something inaudible. I could be wrong. They could be the same sort of religious experience for her that they are for me. I take joy in leaving the ground. As the divine is symbolized in part to me by the natural elements, I give each their respect when entering their domain. Air is one of my elements, and I feel quite literally uplifted when flying, especially on ascent. It had been too long since my last flight.
I mostly read. I had brought A College of Magic with me, and given the advanced years of the little old lady next to me, I figured this was a better choice than the adventures of one drug-addled gonzo journalist, even though I did have only a few pages left. I get so little quality reading time these days that the short flight zipped past, just as the hour of waiting had.
They let us turn on our cellphones as soon as we'd come to a reasonable halt after touching down, and an asynchronous dischord was heard throughout the cabin, the bootup tones of a hundred different cellphones. I was in the middle of composing a broad-blast tweet (Twitter, LJ, Myrrh, Dawn) when my phone rang. It was Guide Dog Aunt, wanting to know what baggage carousel I'd be at. Excellent timing! (I later heard she'd had to call Spintherism (no LJ) to look up that the flight was late. Hooray for technology.)
I found Guide Dog Aunt at the prescribed baggage carousel, by her haircut as the light was blasting through the window as I descended to baggage pickup level. We got my bags, and we headed off, only slightly foiled by the confusing parking garage. Hooray for San Francisco!