My first experience out of the country was also my first experience flying… ever.
So to say I was scared to death to fly half way across the world alone is a complete understatement. Being an only child definitely has its perks, but leaving my mother crying in the door way and waving goodbye was not one of them. “Goodbye! Adios! See you in five months!” Let’s just say I turned around and did not look back. “Be strong!” I kept telling myself through my tears. “I can do this!” Meanwhile my friends were in the front seat singing and I was snotting into a worn out tissue.
So as I peered out of the window on that rainy morning, I kept looking at things as though it might be the last time I ever see them, even though I knew that was a complete lie. But as soon as I got into the car it seemed as though it was now time to get out and sign into the front desk at the airport. (Talk about scary) A large man sat there and assured me over and over again that my bag was checked in, and no, it wasn’t too heavy. (Hey! You can never be too sure! Right?) With my bag that looked like I was carrying a 60 pound human body inside was all checked in and my tickets were in hand, it was now time to say my goodbyes. No longer crying, I hugged my friends one last time and headed towards security.
So here I was, calmly looking around for a person to make a short friendship with and to talk me through the procedures of this whole security business. The security line was fairly short and I cursed myself for getting there two full hours early. Finally, I spotted a kind family in front of me and they looked as if they knew what they were doing (frequent flyers I’m sure).
Target locked. That poor family never saw me coming.
Just make small talk Courtney, I’m sure people will pity you once they find out you’ve never flown before…. This is when I work my charm. “Where are y’all from? Oh, you’re on vacation? How cool! You like it here? Oh, me? I’m going to Australia.. Yeah, I know that’s far away… I actually have never flown before.”
BAM! Instant pity.
It’s seems as though I waited too late though. We were already at the security scanners and I had no idea what to put in each plastic box. I have to take off my shoes? What about my jacket? Where do I put my phone? I have to take my tablet out of my bag? How about my snacks? I can have snacks, right? What? You mean you have to separately place your liquids in a plastic bag?? Shit. Why didn’t I think of that?? Stay calm Courtney, maybe they won’t notice that you have liquid make up and perfume in your bag. I am instantly regretting buying five things of liquid eyeliner. Breathe. Stay calm. Just stay ca—
“Excuse me, miss?”
Damn, they got me. I can explain. Maybe they will understand since I’ve never flown. I mean, I don’t look like a terrorist, do I? Will they arrest me? Will they not let me on my flight? I have to be able to get onto my flight. “I—I can ex……”
“Will you please take off your watch and place it in the bin?”
Deep breath. Exhale. That was a close one. “Yeah, no problem.” I then proceed through the xray vision thingy that makes me feel as though I am naked and then step out, shocked to find that that was it. I turn to find the family, now behind me, picking up their belongings. “Wait, that’s it? I’m done?” The dad looks at me and nods with a kind smile, “Yep, that’s it!” I laugh a short laugh and look down at my now put on watch and glance at the time. It only took me 10 minutes to go through security.
Finding my gate was easy. You see, the Pensacola airport is just one terminal with probably ten gates? Mine was the first on the left. So my next hour and a half consisted of face-timing my then boyfriend and telling him all about my first experience with airport security. I felt big. I felt accomplished. I felt as though nothing could stop me. But that powerful feeling went away as I peered out of the windows to find that it was now pouring down rain and my flight would soon be arriving.
Did I mention that I am afraid of heights?
To be continued….
Until next time!!