Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flight Of The Hungry Hippo.

For those of you that have been around a pregnant woman, or have been pregnant yourselves, you may have witnessed the phenomenon that can be a pregnant woman's appetite. No matter whether she's full on a small or large amount of food for many women there is the moment their body signals not the plain old hunger they've known all their lives but an all consuming ravenous bestial HUNGER! My husband has learned two key survival tricks: Don't ever get between a pregnant woman and her food/water supply. And don't get between a pregnant woman and the nearest toilet.

My HUNGER beast comes out approx every two and a half to three hours, but I'm eating smaller amounts than I did before. Leading up to the red-eye flight out on Christmas Eve I'd been worried about getting enough sleep on the trip because I never sleep on planes. (Mouth breather and the air is too dry.) The food I never worry about. We always take a good variety of snacks on the plane, both carbs and protein, but I admit this time we did neglect to take any bread products like pretzels or chips. Since these days everyone has to be at the airport hours before a flight actually leaves, we usually end up eating a smallish meal at the airport. I say usually because this trip that was not the case.

I don't know how much things were different because it was Christmas Eve or it was simply because this particular terminal acts more like a municipal airfield than a large international airport--We've noticed previously they close earlier than the other terminals' restaurants—but all of the restaurants in this particular terminal were closed by the time we got there. So closed in fact that the cleaning staff were almost finished their stint. Just after 10pm. Not only were the restaurants closed but so were all the refreshment kiosks. And not a vending machine in sight. In a terminal that has flights leaving until 1am!

I will half grant them the fact that there were two water fountains available, but not everyone can drink from those and we're no longer allowed to bring water through security. There went not only any chance of purchasing the food I wanted but also the water and Gatorade I'd need to drink on the plane. I do believe I had a full thirty seconds of mental screaming in panic. Thankfully, none of that translated to the surface nor did the running around in circles. I made sure to scout the entire length of the terminal. . .not even the Duty Free Shop sold water.

At this point I wasn't thirsty because we'd each finished off a whole 600ml bottle of water while standing in the security line. I knew I was gonna be hungry soon though. All I'd fancied to eat all day was cold roast chicken sandwiches, so each meal was one of those. For this meal my body was demanding something hot and filling. No such luck, kiddo.

So I queued up in front of the desk at our gate to ask one of the airline staff about supplies available to be purchased on the plane. The line was only five people deep (me in the third position) when a guy angled in from the side and cut in line between one person leaving the desk and the other person waiting to be called forward. Not quite realising what he'd been doing till he'd already asked his question all we could do was watch him ask his question and then leave. A question involving whether or not our delay of less than thirty minutes would effect him catching his next plane which was due to take off an hour and a half after our new arrival time. A question that was important to him, yes. But I fumed inwardly. I mean, c'mon! The line is only five deep and it's moving quickly plus it was still an hour till the plane would take off.

As the line crept forward after each subsequent person asked their own questions, I watched the guy who was fifth in line start to inch forward and sideways to do the same procedure. Hell No, buddy! I thought.

And when he stepped forward to cut me off, I said in a polite but VERY firm tone, “There's a line you know!”

He replied, “I know, but I only have a question.”

And my tone got firmer, “We ALL only have questions. Wait your turn.”

“All right, just relax!”

The airline guy beckoning me forward silenced any retort I may have come back with. But on the way back to my seat in the lounge I thought, RELAX! he says. I'm worried about whether I'm gonna be able to eat and/or drink on the plane other than a soda and some pretzels, YOU'RE jumping the queue, and you're telling ME to relax! You rude fuck! Was he THAT shocked that a short, fat woman spoke to him in a firm tone, without being rude, aggressive or swearing at him thereby leaving him no other option than to be embarrassed by being called out on his actions? LOL Idiot. Relax? WTF!

I ranted to Alaskaboy for a couple of minutes about it and then realised I was all of a sudden hungry. (Not yet HUNGRY) Trying to make the best of the situation I nibbled on some dried mango strips, some unsalted dry roasted peanuts and some choc-coated raisins. It wasn't satisfying but it did shut the rumbles up. It also put me in a better mood. By the time we were on the plane and taking off I was miserable. SO thirsty that I was wishing I'd given in and drunk from the fountains. L.A. tap water is so hard it tends to give me an upset stomach, but an upset stomach later HAD to be better than perishing of thirst while we waited for the flight attendants to be released to bring us a drink.

At one point I turned to Alaskaboy and asked, “Haven't they usually begun the beverage service by now?” And if I'm to be honest that question had more whine in it that a roomful of toddlers could manage. He showed me the time, and we'd only been in the air for fifteen minutes. I would have sworn it was closer to 40 minutes. Crap! Then, when the seatbelt signs went off, someone sitting a few rows in front of us called the attendant straight away, and lo and behold they brought him a cup of water. My hand was up to catch his attention licketty-split.

Not sure if the water was from the airplane's tank or not, same end result as L.A. water, I sipped very cautiously. I managed to get through half of it by the time they pulled the cart up past us. Then I saw the big bottles of spring water perched on top. GULP! The rest was gone.

When they got to us, I asked to purchase two of the bottles of water. They couldn't sell them to me. But when I informed her that I usually drink two litres during the flight, she poured me three cups of water without question and told me to ask for more when I needed it. Which I never needed to ask because she was always back offering me three more as I was finishing off the last one. Much friendlier than other flight attendants I've had who've begrudged pouring me a water and a soft drink at the same time before.

Thirst quenched, my HUNGER stopped waiting its turn and roared out of hiding. I've always refused to buy those snack boxes they have on the planes. 1) Because the snacks we bring on are usually enough and 2) Just put the price of the tickets up already and bring back “free” luggage and inflight meal service! $5 for a little box of nothing! Bugger that!

This time I was begging Alaskaboy to ask them what was in the snack boxes. PLEADING with the universe that there was at least some sort of cheese-like product in there and some crackers plus anything else I may be able to eat. Fruit and nuts weren't cutting it anymore, were in fact making me nauseous at the thought of eating them. When the stewardess got to the first items on the list and they were cheese and crackers, I said, “I'll take two!” She only heard me agree to take a box, and then tried to give Alaskaboy back the second five dollar note he handed to her. No, no, no! TWO!

Finally, I had a box of food in my hot little hands. I couldn't get that plastic wrapper off fast enough. When I opened the lid and the first things I saw were a small bag of pita chips and a small can of tuna, my heart stopped under the weight of all that hope. When I saw it was a kind that contains wild caught tuna, I may have fainted in delight. And the swoon only got deeper as I uncovered a bag of cookies AND two kinds of REAL cheese plus two packets of crackers.

It took my suddenly wobbly hands forever to peel the ring pull lid off the can. It didn't help I was afraid I'd pull too hard and that precious mother lode would fly out of the can and go splat on the window or the head of the guy in front of me! Drowning in a combination of heavenly lemon pepper scent and the flood of drool it produced, I lifted that first mouthful to my lips. I know for a fact I would have done a porn star proud with the sounds I made as I slid the little plastic fork back out of my mouth.

Crappy little five dollar box of nothing? Let's call it the best five dollars I've ever spent! And thanks to my inability to judge my meal sizes still, I was full after the one box. Full as in stuffed to the gills. So, I turned to Alaskaboy, “I'm really stuffed. Here, you eat this.” I said, holding out the second box to him. He got a little wild-eyed and said, “Do you think I'm crazy or something? We still have hours to go before breakfast yet. You keep that in case you need it.”

I guess the survival lessons have sunk in bone deep. LOL

1 Nibbles:

cmae said...

Okay, I know I've faded into the woodwork for several weeks, but since when are you pregnant?! OMG, congratulations!!!