I’m booked on a flight to Tulsa later this week and I’m glad spring break is over. Spring break trips haven’t always gone so well for me.
In my last year of law school I’d made plans with my best friend from college to meet in San Diego where she had a conference for work. We wanted to stay a few days, go to Sea World, see the zoo, visit La Jolla.
My plan was to fly out on Friday night, after I finished moot court practice, but that didn’t happen.
Practice ran late and I missed the flight.
I was hacked, but you learn who your true friends are when you need a ride to the airport that early in the morning on the first Saturday of spring break.
I remember sitting in my aisle seat reading a magazine and drinking a cup of coffee right before a man opened the overhead bin above my seat.
After that, I don’t remember much.
They told me at the hospital in El Paso that a briefcase fell and cracked me in the head during the flight. All I know is that I woke up at the front of the plane with flight attendants hovering over me asking me who the President was.
It was 1998, so I told them ‘Bill.’
And there was no correlation with the extreme nausea I felt at that moment.
Although the flight was supposed to be non-stop to San Diego, they made an emergency landing in El Paso to take me to the hospital. The next thing I remember is waking up in the ambulance to a paramedic rifling through my purse to find identification. I didn’t care.
I spent the next 24 hours at the hospital with a horrible headache.
Then the good people at Southwest Airlines put me in a cab and hauled me back to the airport. One of their VPs flew with me the rest of the way to San Diego, making sure I didn’t go to sleep on the flight.
Perhaps they discovered my law school ID.
Meanwhile, my friend in San Diego had no idea what had happened to me. She was still mad at me for missing my flight the night before and I didn’t blame her. She wasn’t too happy when they rolled me off the plane in a wheelchair either, wearing the same clothes I’d left Lubbock in two days earlier.
My friend drove me back to the hotel where I slept a little more. By the next day we managed to wander around some of the zoo and feed the sea lions on the beach at La Jolla.
I’d stopped listening long ago to the flight attendants’ spiel about fastening your seatbelt and the oxygen mask popping down if the cabin pressure dropped. But I’m now a firm believer in using “caution while opening overhead bins, as objects may shift during flight.”
Sometimes I have to learn things the hard way.
And on my flight to Tulsa, you can bet I won’t be sitting on the aisle.