I didn’t understand what he said when he said it.
“Wait... what do you mean?” I asked.
“My friend... he refuses to eat a lime just so he can say that he has never eaten a lime.”
“Oh. That’s, ummm, interesting.”
I had to think about it for a minute.
“You know, maybe part of the thrill is the attention he receives when he tells people that he’s never tasted one,” I said.
I could relate—kind of.
Until recently, I had gotten so used to telling people that I had never been on a plane.
“Never been here, there, nor anywhere!” I’d say in an effort to joke about it, Dr. Seuss-style.
Many people tried to accuse me of lying, but a large majority tended to immediately begin sharing stories detailing their first plane rides (sometimes followed by a brief recap of their vacations-gone-wrong). Then came the final comment: “Flying isn’t all that bad.” Or something to that effect.
Like my friend’s friend, it was kind of a thrill to tell people what I hadn’t yet done in my lifetime that so many other people had already done. It’s not that I was proud of it—it’s just that I enjoyed when people felt inclined to talk to me about their own travels. In many ways, it prepared me for my first time on a plane.
I thought about all of those people—plus one of my grandfather’s, who has never been on a plane in his life because he says his feet are “made to stay on the ground”—as my plane from Pittsburgh to Atlanta took off. Before I knew it, we were high above the clouds, soaring from one state to the next.
I loved it.
I was mesmerized by how man created this big machine and made it work so fantastically, how we entered this gorgeous cloud-filled world whose beauty seemed almost off-limits to my own eyes, how many people across the globe turn flying into a career.
It was the stewardesses, after all, who made me feel quite calm, especially when we experienced turbulence. When I was freaking out from the confines of my seat, I would look at the lovely stewardesses going up and down the aisles, pouring sugary drinks. They may as well have been riding escalators or elevators; there was not a speckle of fear in their eyes.
I wanted to call my sister while I was up in the sky and tell her that she was right—that flying on a plane is a breathtaking experience. That I couldn’t believe it took me 23 years to see what it was all about. That I was really grateful to finally see what she saw when she got to fly for the first time last year.
I’m guessing that my friend’s friend still hasn’t eaten a lime, and probably doesn’t have plans to do so anytime soon. But as for me, well, I can no longer say that I haven’t been on a plane.
Consequently, I had to make up a new rhyme, and it goes something like this: “Boat, plane, train, car . . . I’ll go near and I’ll go far!”
(Kayla Pongrac is a freelance writer who loved the free cookies and pretzels served during her plane rides. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit www.kaylapongrac.com.)