Play It Again, Ukulele Boy

Posted: May 3, 2014 in Everyday Life

As the ukulele starts to play, someone behind me begins whistling in tune. Many 10 inch video monitors flip down from above. It scares the shit out of me! A “Two and A Half Men” episode begins. The Frito Lay man looks up at me and grins, he’s reading “Our Iceburg Is Melting”. Beside him the Ukulele player continues his chords. What is that song he is playing? Who in the hell is encouraging him with his whistling? To dampen the noise, I plug in the head phones and wrap them around my head, I change the station and settle on “60’s on 6”. The XM radio is on channel 5. It’s playing the Door’s – “People Are Strange”. We have just taken off, we’re on our way to Denver and I can not frickin believe it. I ask the flight attendant if I can borrow a pen. This is not a dream and I’ve got to write this down.

My morning started in a motel in Wichita, Kansas at the end of Runway 1R of ICT. There is very little traffic there at night and I slept like a log. I have a flight to catch that leaves at 06:30 AM. Let’s add this up, an International flight from a smaller airport, arrive at the airport 2 hours before departure. I’m getting my butt out of bed and leaving for the airport no later than 4 O’clock. If I used military time, that would be O dark thirty on anybody’s watch. The plan is a quick flight to Denver and then on to Calgary arriving before noon. I have an appointment with immigration and I don’t want to miss it.

I’m showered and dressed by 4:00. I have no room for another pair of shoes so I wear my work boots. I know it will be a bitch to kick them off at the TSA check point, run them thru the X-ray machine, put them back on and lace them up without holding up the whole impatient inspection line. But my left foot is killing me and I need the support of the lace up boot to make the walk from Denver gate B20 to B84 tolerable. That walk is just about the full length of the terminal.

As I sit in my window seat in Wichita, I loosen my coat, turn off the Blackberry and look forward to a quiet morning flight to the mountains. I’m a pilot. I’m not afraid to fly. But I do know the dangers. This plane is an Airbus 320 and the geese migrate in and out of here all winter. We’re in the middle of Kansas but when the flight attendant starts talking about using my seat cushion for a floatation device, I sure as hell listen. The last 320 to suck up a couple of those geese, ended up in the Hudson River. And I’ll guarantee you the Arkansas River doesn’t have much water in it this time of year. My training has taught me to pay attention during take-offs. I’m usually a little on edge. The other passengers try to act nonchalant and unconcerned while they read their books and newspapers. But notice on your next flight, you won’t see many pages being turned during take-offs.

Right before we get off the ground is when the circus begins. A kid across the isle in 17F pulls out his ukulele. I could not of been more surprised if he’d pulled out his UKULELE, if you know what I mean. He begins to tune the damn thing. I think the man in the Frito-Lay branded shirt and ball cap next to him is going to loooove this. But Frito Man gives me a toothy grin and pulls out a book titled “Our Iceburg Is Melting”. He’s one of those unconcerned and nonchalant kind of guys I was talking about. Everything else happens just as I first described.

A hundred and 40 miles out of Denver, that’s about 15 mins in Airbus time, we begin to descend for landing. Ukulele boy begins playing again. Whistler in the back joins in. And God as my witness, I recognize the song. It is “People are Strange”. The Doors should have used that damn instrument. He and the whistler continued on in unison until touchdown. It was something beautiful.

After I walked the 2 or 3 miles to Gate B84, I read the departure flight and time at the empty check-in counter. It reads “Omaha – Flight 527 – Departing 08:15”. Shit! I’m looking for “Calgary – Flight 6222 – Departing – 08:55”. I walk over to another service counter not more than 50 feet away and inquire about my flight. A man behind the counter said this and I’m not exaggerating. “Sorry sir, you’ll have to ask the check-in counter. We can’t help you here, we are the Customer Service Desk”. I could not have made that up. I added it to my notes and I’m still laughing about it! Indeed, people are strange.

Such is the life of John.

  1. Ha! I laughed! Snorted even! ๐Ÿ˜€ This was fun for me to read…but, then, none of it happened to me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

    I love to fly! Of the whole flying rigamarole these days, the only part I DON’T like is take-off…I’m not scared during it…but I’m sitting there thinking, “I still don’t get how the heck this huge plane filled with all of these people is gonna’ get off the ground!” ๐Ÿ˜ฎ But, every time it does! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love the “pulling out his UKULELE” part! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I always talk to people on flights…but, if I can tell they don’t want to talk, I pull out a book to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

    HUGS!!! ๐Ÿ˜Ž


  2. It was the most interesting flight as a passenger that I’ve ever been on. Almost surreal, a scene out of Mad Magazine. But Customer Service telling me they couldn’t help was the icing on the cake. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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