The plane ride to Japan is long and tedious. Especially for me. It may be fine for other people; they can sleep, read a book, watch a movie, doodle some drawings, listen to some music – although that last one doesn’t give you much to do with your mind or keep your hands busy. And plane radio stations are very repititive; I’m lucky that the last time I went, they only played Slice of Heaven by Dave Dobbyn 32,745 times.
The problem with everything above is that I get motion sickness too easily. Reading a book is simply out of the question, and after watching a movie screen for too long I go cross-eyed (Sex and the City three times in a row? No freaking way).
I also can’t sleep in any kind of transportation vehicle. Besides the fact it’s incredibly uncomfortable, I’m fairly certain that I drool and/or talk in my sleep. How much do I want total strangers to see that? Hmm.
I often get seated next to total stangers, too. I can afford economy class fare only, and I choose whatever seat is left available. This means I’m usually next to;
– Bigger men with a serious gland problem. They tend to eat a ton of individually wrapped lollies and leave the packets everywhere.
– Crying babies or worse; pooping babies.
– Talkers (any gender, any age; just someone who will not shut up about their incredibly detailed but boring life).
– Couples that don’t stop making out. Or arguing.
– Old men that read Fifty Shades of Grey and smile at you too much.
There are, of course, other situations where the plane ride has been pleasant. But they are few and far between.
For the first two hours, I’m at my calmest. We’ve taken off, I’ve had plenty of water, I swallowed far too many ginger tablets to combat my expectant motion sickness, and I’m regulating my breathing so I don’t take too many whiffs of Mr Gland-Issues.
It’s after this point that I realize the air con is getting to me. It’s hard to breathe. I suddenly understand how high we are – my heart starts to pound. My legs have cramps in them from not moving for so long. My hands are shaky as I notice all that water I drank is coming slowly back up…
If you’ve been on a plane before, you’ll know they keep those special travel sickness bags at every seat. Or you can even request extra while you’re on board. The second I feel queasy, I immediately freak out and hold one in front of my face.
What if I vomit on myself? I don’t have a change of clothes in my carry on. What if I don’t vomit but instead it goes the other way? What if the guy next to me is so grossed out by my sick, he vomits back onto me? What if the stewardess is mean? I’m 21 years old, dammit! Not 5!
Mr Gland-Issues is starting to give me worried looks. You better not get sick on my lollies, he thinks at me. I start sweating profusely and I’m pretty sure it’s worse than his.
And it lasted like this for another 6 hours. I’m shaky, hot, sweaty, cramped, nauseous and scared (not a good time to suddenly learn you have a fear of flying).
I know if I can just chuck up once, then it’ll all be fine. It’ll be out of my system. I don’t stay sick if I’ve been sick. But it won’t come and I’m starting to get delusional. At one point I let out a small moan of desperation. It wasn’t quiet enough, as Fifty Shades of Grey Man looked over at me and winked.
Well, that did it.
I threw up. Sort of. I went to, and instead of what I expected, it was just… nothing. There was the noises, like the choking and the bluurghk! Still feeling a bit out of it, I start to whimper at Mr Gland-Issues. “Sorry, so sorry… so, so, sorry.”
Then over the speakers comes this lovely sing-song voice, “Good evening passengers. We will be arriving within 45 minutes at Tokyo Narita Airport. If you’ll just notice the seat belt sign is again lit up…”
Yes! Arriving soon! A stewardess walked past us offering last call for drinks. Mr Gland-Issues waved her over. He raised his eyebrows and gestured towards me in what he probably thought was an inconspicuous manner.
He whispered loudly; “Do you think you can bring over some air freshner? It seems someone had a mishap.”