Friday, June 03, 2005

Flying out to Atlanta.

Getting on a plane is an odd experience. You march down the small runway and hand your fate over to a few people you have never met, and a lot of steel and wires and nuts and bolts. Once you sit in your seat and strap yourself in, that’s it. You are there for the duration. There is no start over bright red button you can press to go back to start.

On this flight I was on an exit row. Though I have flown several times in the past, I’ve never been seated in a seat of such importance. As I was walking down the small tunnel I reflected on the importance of my seat. How many before me had been asked to step up and take the role of exit row seated? How many of those had failed in their duties? Would I have the tenacity to do what I had to in the event of a catastrophe?

The nice stewardess with the upturned collar politely asked me if I could perform all the duties such a seat entailed. At least I think she did, I was a bit slow getting my ipod ear buds out. What if I missed some vital instruction? What if the secret to being a truly great exit row seat-holder was revealed, but I was listening so intensely to Gorillaz that I missed it?

Luckily, not only for me but the rest of the passengers, we never had to find out if I had the strength to perform my role. There was no disaster, the flight landed without even a delay.

So I have one more test under my belt. I have been an exit row passenger, and stood before the plane full of people and proudly declared that I would fulfill my duties of door opener.