Friday, December 18, 2015


What a difference a week makes. I sent off the edits of GONE WITH THE WOOL and then spent a day in Chicago enjoying being released of the deadline. I did start working on the next Crochet Mystery, but didn’t feel any pressure. And then it was time to head back to L.A..

The expected the flight home to be relaxing. Ha! I have a known traveler number which means I can go through the TSA Precheck line. I can keep my shoes on, keep my computer in it’s bag and even wear a light jacket. Except, when I got to the airport, the TSA Pre line had closed. I did get into the priority line and they let me keep my shoes on and go through just a metal detector instead of the back scanner thing, but I still had to pull my computer out which was a chore because I hadn’t expected to have to take it out and it was very tightly in my bag. Plus I was surrounded by impatient people who pushed ahead of me in the line.

The plane had been empty on my trip to Chicago, but it was packed on the way back. I had an aisle seat as always, but the guy in the middle seat had no sense of the boundaries of his space. Let’s just say his elbow was against my side the whole time.

The plane took off and it was okay for a couple of minutes. I had been worried about a storm that was headed to Chicago. Well, we got off before it delayed the flight, but then we had to fly through it. The flight attendants had just gotten up when the pilot came on the loudspeaker and told them to sit down and buckle up. That is never a good sign. The plane pitched and rolled. The guy next to me didn’t take it well and began to fidget around in a rather panicky way. I was almost going to ask him if he was okay. But I rethought it. He was in his twenty’s with a big mop of hair (that’s really irrelevant, just mentioned as a visual aid) and I doubt he would have wanted to admit to being upset.

I took out my crocheting which somehow transported me to a peaceful place despite the grunts the plane was making. After about a half an hour, the pilot came back on and said the rough air would continue on for another 20 minutes. I keep checking my watch and after about 40 minutes, the pitching stopped for a few minutes and I started to relax. But then it started all over again and got even worse. The pilot didn’t say anything more. Maybe he hoped everyone had gone to sleep and wouldn’t notice that it was way past 20 minutes and we were still shaking all over the sky.

The guy next to me stayed in panic mode, frantically going from looking at a book, to fussing with his phone. I figured out later that he probably was listening to music on his phone and looking through what he had.

I kept crocheting. What kept me from getting too concerned was a pilot sitting across from me. He was drinking water and doing a crossword puzzle and didn’t seem concerned about the turbulence at all.

The pilot finally turned off the seatbelt sign an hour before we landed. The flight attendants never did push their cart down the aisle, but came by with a tray of water and orange juice. And then we began our descent and the seatbelt sign came back on. Since it was so late (after midnight) we had to fly out over the ocean and do the final part of the descent over water. There must have been some wind because the plane started pitching again. I was definitely glad when we were finally on the ground.

I was looking forward to some time to catch up on everything when I got home and be free of deadlines for a little while. But this morning my editor sent me the first pass pages of SEAMS LIKE MURDER and asked if they could have them back by January 6th. So much for that plan.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Yikes, what a miserable flight, Betty. I was on a turbulent one a while back where a pilot was seated a few rows behind me and it did provide some relief to look at him and see he didn't look worried. And with those hateful passengers who use the arm rest and beyond to impose into my seating area, I'll often stick a magazine or notebook or even a tote bag up on my side to prevent that elbow from getting any closer. Glad you ultimately landed safely, at least.

Planner said...

Oh dear! Your story brought to mind a Gary Larson cartoon that showed the pilots causing turbulence by steering hard to one side and then quickly to the other, just to pass the time. Glad you're back safely.

On behalf of your readers, thanks for coping with all those deadlines!

Miriam Lubet said...

I'm glad you are home safe and sound. I always forget to ask for an aisle seat and end up by the window. The view is nice but then I am locked in and can't get out to the bathroom easily. Of course, if there is turbulence I can't get out to the bathroom no matter what.

Betty Hechtman said...

Miriam, I'm with you about being able to get up for the bathroom. I am amazed at how testy people get when you have a window seat and need to get up. I make it a point to make it easy for the window and middle seat people when I have the aisle.