The Chicago waiting room was crowded, jammed with people of all ages and all walks of life. Older Chinese men stood with their mouth open as the custodian changed the bag in the trash can. It must have been the neatest thing they had seen all day.
Couples that were traveling with empty car seats- I can only imagine to take home newly adopted babies. Families that were returning with their adopted daughters to visit their homeland. Business men. Business men who were clearly married making moves on single Chinese girls.
Then there was "Andrea" and" Megan". Those are the names that I gave to the American high schoolers going on a group trip to China. Andrea arrived at the gate first. Her nails shone brightly with her fresh green polish. She looked quickly at those around her and must have thought I looked harmless enough to sit by. She pulled out her I-phone, earphones, and a journal. Ready for personal avoidance she was lost in the letters on her pink zebra journal. She had an ID badge on her bag. She was with the group. Next came the "leader “who introduced Megan to Andrea. After the polite hellos Andrea got up and left. Megan looked at me with a thin smile. Looking for any sort of human contact. I tried to give her the most comforting smile I could. She looked scared out of her mind. She had thick blond hair and eyelashes that would fan you as they flittered. With her ID badge remaining tightly around her neck she quickly pulled out her IPod Touch, her phone, and her beige journal and started feverishly writing. At this point I am unsure if it is a requirement to journal to be a part of the group. But if it is- they get an A+.
I called and texted my goodbyes to my loved ones. John reminded me that it was my turn for a "good" seatmate. I always end up with adventures on the plane. I said- yes- I had already prayed for that. Getting ready to board I was told my seat had been changed to two rows closer to the front. Great. As I sat down I was later met by the most pleasant American business man. He has been to China 8 times and was most gracious. We had an empty seat between us. Just enough room for my guardian angel.
All was going well until lunch service started in the cabin. Suddenly the ceiling starts pouring out water on to the center seat in front of us. The man next to me starts yelling- is that pee splashing on my head? At the same time water starts pouring out of row 21 and 22 on the other side of the plane. It was even more forceful over there. Gails of water are washing on their heads. The flight attendants did not know what to do. Paper towels, linens, and blankets were not stopping the steady flow. I was holding about 25 paper towels and it was still pouring down. Finally one of the pilots came back and told us that the upstairs galley had poured 1/2 a coffee pot of water down their drain. The drain comes between seats 21 and 22 and there was a block in the plumbing causing it to leak. I was so excited that I was the "chosen" one on our side to hold the towels, blankets, and linens as the flight attendants finished their meal service. Finally the water stopped. That must have been the biggest pot of coffee in the world. Everyone around me was done eating when I started in on my tasty meat and potatoes. The man next to me said- wow- you sure have a great attitude about all of this. You act like you go through this every day. I said sir when I fly I expect adventure and I am never disappointed.
We are now 6 hours into the flight and everyone is asleep around me. It looks like a blanket tornado has hit the plane. Mouths are open, snoring is in full chorus, and all modesty is lost. What am I doing? Typing, going to the bathroom about every 15 minutes, and pacing. I am not a good "sitter “or "sleeper" on flights.
Well that’s about all folks. Just wanted to update from my soggy seat- reporting from seat 22 H- over and out!