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Flying Off the Handle

Perel Grossman

Welcome aboard Flight 517, and thanks for flying Ameri-delt UniLines!” In my other incarnation, I’m a travel agent. I specialize in group trips to Israel, but in essence, I’m an accessory to aeronautical misery

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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Photo: Shutterstock

W ell, here I am: 54B. My knees are neatly tucked under my chin, and I’m trying to shrink into myself so I don’t spill over into the next seat. The armrests are digging into my elbows; the person immediately in front of me has reclined her seat inches from my lap. The sickening odor of exhaust wafts through the air. A loud whistling noise accompanies the shaking and shuddering of my seat, effectively drowning out any attempts at speech.

Welcome aboard Flight 517, and thanks for flying Ameri-delt UniLines!

After this recent experience flying the unfriendly skies, I am left feeling like a criminal. For it is I who sends people off on a daily basis, to spend hours in the cramped quarters of a flying sardine can. To quote the great cartoon philosopher Charles Brown…“Good grief!”

You see, in my other incarnation, I’m a travel agent. I specialize in group trips to Israel, but in essence, I’m an accessory to aeronautical misery. Please forgive me. A girl’s gotta make a living.

However, in an attempt to defend myself, I will lay out for you what my work is like and all the skills needed to succeed in this field. And I warn you… it isn’t pretty.

Typical Day at the Office
 

The workday starts as usual: I stride into the office an hour late, schlepping my computer bag and a huge sack of food. I’m starting a new diet. Again. And it’s very restrictive. So I have to bring along a lot of extra food. ’Cuz I’m gonna be hungry.

I breeze through the outer office, only stopping at two or three desks along the way to tell each coworker the latest “you will not believe this” story that occurred since I last saw them. I zoom past the office manager, yelling over my shoulder about power outages and their effect on alarm clocks, urgent calls from my mother’s visiting nurse, and the guy from O & R Utilities. As I plug my computer into the power strip and attach it to the additional monitor, I ask my assistant for an update: “So, who hates me today?”

 

Turns out: nobody. Ah, but the day is young! And it proceeds to be blissfully uneventful until the afternoon. Just as I embark upon my tuna-and-string-bean dish.

The phone rings and my assistant (bless her little heart) picks up the phone and proclaims, “Inspiration Travel! My name is Shayna Bracha. How can I help you?” Her tone is bright and cheery and totally false. Only I can detect a slight quaver in her voice as she wonders what or who awaits her on the other end of the line. I hear lots of “uh-huhs” and then, “Let me put her on….”

I wave my arms wildly, indicating through pretty clear charades that I am not in. But Shayna B. is not buying it.

“Perel? There’s a lady on the phone and she’s not too happy, and I’m pretty sure she wants to speak with you.”

“Upset, huh? Did you tell her I’m not here? That I moved without a forwarding address? Or… that I was drafted into the army? No? Oh, all right! I’ll pick up.”

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