A story from the pre-Sept 11th world...
This is your captain speaking. We are now safely cruising at 35,000 feet. I would like to apologize to all of you for the upset caused by the passenger who screamed when the wheels lifted off the runway. She also wishes me to express her apology. She tells me that had she known her aversion of air travel was not yet conquered, she would never have boarded this flight.
Now that all of you are back safely in your seats I would like to call your attention to the left. You will see the city below. Also, I wish to thank you for moving back quickly and cooperating with the stewardess’s request. Despite what you heard from one of your fellow passengers, there is no need for everyone to move to one side of the plane to balance it when the wing dips down. When I make a flight correction it is normal for the plane to be somewhat lower on one side than on the other.
And I thank you for your willingness to step around the passenger seated in the middle of the aisle. In spite of my explanation about course correction, she feels the plane will maintain better balance if she stays exactly in the middle of the plane.
For those of you who will not be reached by the liquor cart because of the passenger sprawled in the middle of the aisle, let me thank you for your understanding. It is impossible to maneuver the cart around her and every time the stewardess attempts to move her from the aisle, she climbs up the liquor cart.
Perhaps it will be of some consolation to know the liquor was exhausted before it could ever have reached your part of the plane, and the cart is being sent back for a refill. The stewardess informs me that adequate liquor was put on board, but the passenger seated in the aisle, who is trying her best to conquer her fear of flying, and who is now singing, "Somewhere over the Rainbow", did use more liquor than expected for that section.
For any of you who must go to the rear of the plane to use the bathroom, may I ask that you move carefully around the passenger in the aisle. We are gaining her confidence, and she has agreed to let us try to maintain altitude without flapping her arms to help us. But an occasional flap still breaks out. We don't wish any of you struck by her misguided efforts.
For those of you in the front of the plane who may have been reached by the dinner cart, let me restate that the excellence of the dinner has nothing to do with, "The condemned ate a hearty meal" as the passenger in the aisle is claiming. We make a consistent effort to serve satisfying meals, not just during lightning storms.
This is your captain speaking again. We are still cruising safely at 35,000 feet and are not in danger of falling out of the sky, as was rumored by the passenger praying in the middle of the aisle. I regret that the air is somewhat turbulent today. It is nothing to worry about I assure you. I especially wish to thank the gentleman in row seven. It was most kind of him not to complain about the passenger who quit praying in the middle of the aisle, and then jumped into his lap shouting, "Save me" when the plane hit an air pocket.
This is your captain again. I wish to inform you that I am once more in control of the plane and plan to remain that way. I also wish to thank all those who have offered to help me fly, but I assure you I do not need your assistance. I'm certain you all understand that the passenger who crawled up the aisle shouting, "Let's all help the captain fly:" is somewhat nervous. It has been explained to her that while her efforts may be well-intentioned, they are not necessary. It has also been explained that if she should again attempt to take the stick, she may be asked to leave the plane.
We are, Thank God, approaching our destination. Please fasten your seat belts and obey the non-smoking sign. We will be landing soon. The noise you heard was not the bottom of the plane falling out, but simply the landing gear going down as it is supposed to do.
One final word from your captain. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of you for flying with Togetherness Airlines. Also, please use the same door for exit as the one you used when you entered. The emergency exit over the wing leads only to the wing and not to the ramp. The passenger who broke open the emergency exit will be rescued as soon as she stops running up and down the wing shouting, "Mayday!, Mayday!"
I also wish to state that she has decided not to continue to her destination by plan, and will not be flying with us again when we take off. She has decided to continue her journey by train.
Opaline Marks is the pen name of Opal Markiewicz, a writer of novels, short stories and nonfiction essays.