Soul Plane

Growing up, my three brothers and I were big fans of all the comedy classics: “Police Academy”, “Naked Gun“, anything Mel Brooks, and of course “Airplane”.  When my husband and I first got together, he told me that had never even heard of “Airplane” and I was determined to educate him. The next time we popped into the local video store, I searched for it, but to no avail.  I soon discovered that the film is known as “Flying High!” in New Zealand…who knew?

flying high

Well, my husband did.  “Oh, “Flying High!?, of course I’ve seen that.”Every time I searched the shelves, I saw this movie but had always assumed thought was the movie with Snoop Dogg“.  “Actually that’s called ‘Soul Plane“, Ben tells me.

soul plane


So we rent “Flying High!”, and of course it’s hilarious.  That movie is  timeless, the writing is hilarious and the physical slapstick comedy had us in stitches.  No matter how old you are, that movie never stops being awesome.

airplane joke

When living in Australia, a few months before my 30th birthday, Ben and I went to Bali to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  Being the sort of people we are, we arrived at the airport quite early, only to discover that our flight had been pushed back, leaving us to wander Perth International Airport for five hours.  As the time drew nearer, I visited the loo before going through security.  I hung my purse on the door, passed water (cause I’m a lady), and washed up before  meeting Ben.  In security, they discovered a tube of toothpaste that was slightly bigger than the admissible thimble sized amount of liquid, which naturally made me a  terrorist suspect.  The guard ripped through my possessions and swabbed my neatly organized bag before concluding that I did not have explosive devices.  I hurriedly stuffed everything back into my case before continuing through the other security checkpoints.  Once in the terminal, Ben went to buy water, and I sat down, exhaled, reached for a magazine, and then was struck with the sickest feeling ever.

I left my purse in the bathroom.

Wallet, cash, keys, I-Pod, phone…just hanging there for the taking.

Ben returned and I explained;  his jaw dropped, and I dashed down the terminal, my passport in hand before he could even respond.  And let me tell you, it is not as easy to just go back the way you came…there is a whole new protocol, and it involved a giant “DID NOT DEPART” stamp in my passport.  Once on the other side, I searched the bathroom, poking my head into each stall.  My purse is gone.  Dazed, I wandered out into the main area, and gained the attention of a supervisor, who introduced me to a couple of fellows from security, who led me into an office to watch CCTV footage of that area.  There’s really nothing to see, no raccoon looking burglar looking shady with my beige Italian purse in hand.  “Why would someone do that? Who steals a purse?”  I asked aloud.  The security team were very nice and understanding, even offering the use of telephone and internet to cancel credit cards…which I was just about to do, when a woman poked her head in the office, asking for me by name.  “Your husband has been trying to reach you…he found your purse”.

“Oh my god, where was it?”

“In your luggage ma’am”.

I looked over at the security guards and (you guessed it) burst into tears.  Waves of humiliation and relief flooded over me in equal measure.  “I am so sorry for wasting your time” I blubbered, feeling like a grade-A, first class fucking idiot.  The fact is, I am so deeply paranoid about losing things, forgetting things, locking or unlocking things, that I obsessively double/triple check everything all the time.  So when I said “this has never happened to me”, it hadn’t, because I am always quadruple checking.   After the flustered bag check, I shoved the purse into my luggage hurriedly, and obviously unthinkingly. And I was so panicked that it was missing, that I sprinted off–without looking into my bag.

“No worries, it was a slow night anyway”.  one of the men says to me.

The night was so slow in fact, that they even  escorted me back to my terminal, where Ben was waiting on the other side with an understanding smile.  (Understanding with a just slightest dash of “You are killing me kid”)   Holy hell, let’s just get on this plane already.

Once settled into our seats, I acknowledged the woman sitting next to me in the window seat with a smile. When she overheard Ben and I discussing the time, and possibility of our shuttle to Ubud not waiting in Denpasar, she offered some ideas.  She had been to Bali numerous times (everyone goes there for childhood- family holidays don’t you know?), and had some insights on alternate travel options.  Then, while Ben dozed off, she and I had a good old chin wag.

In the movie “Fight Club“, the unnamed narrator (Edward Norton), speaks about the individually wrapped ‘single servings’ you get on any given flight.

flight club

To go one step further, he refers to the people you sit with as ‘single serving friends’.  Well, on the flight to Bali, I met my single serving soul mate.  Catherine was 33, and a single world traveler.  She had seen and done so much, and I was dazzled by her awesomeness.  She managed to look both earthy and chic; a look I can never quite achieve, especially mid-flight.   And as the conversation went on, she revealed her problems with anxiety and issues with control.  (Oh my god! I have control issues too!).  When she reached into her bag and pulled out of small vial of Rescue Remedy, a natural anxiety relief medication (which just a little touch of alcohol) that I usually carry around with me, I just about swooned.  She shared the drops with me, and we both sat back, feeling nicely buzzed, when I admitted the incident at security.

“Darling–I do shit like that all the time”, and elaborated further, describing the dramatic panic attack she had on a flight in South America.  And we cackled at our stupidity.

This chick was so awesome.

I told her about my approaching milestone birthday, and that I felt quite anxious about it.  I asked her how she dealt, with not just turning 30, but being in her 30’s.

“You know…there is so much I have seen and done, but turning 30 as an unmarried woman really bothered me”.


“Absolutely, not having a husband was devastating”.

This blew my mind, that being married mattered so much to this seemingly independent woman.  I mean, I love my husband dearly, but I’d like to think if I wasn’t married, I would be perfectly happy anyway.  It also made me think of a scene from “Flying High!”

[Randy (Stewardess) is crying]
Rumack: Randy, are you all right?
Randy: Oh, Dr. Rumack, I’m scared. I’ve never been so scared. And besides, I’m 26 and I’m not married.
Rumack: We’re going to make it, you’ve got to believe that.
[a woman passenger comes in]
Mrs. Hammen: Dr. Rumack, do you have any idea when we’ll be landing?
Rumack: Pretty soon, how are you bearing up?
Mrs. Hammen: Well, to be honest, I’ve never been so scared. But at least I have a husband.
[Randy cries harder]

All the while I was coveting her lifestyle and confidence, and she was wishing for a gold band and a man to snooze beside her on a pre-holiday plane ride.  Or a husband who will stand on the other side of customs, as you are being escorted by security, who will give you a look that says “You are  such an unbelievable dumb ass, but I love you no matter what”.

“Surely you don’t mean “no matter what”.

“I do…but don’t call me Shirley”.

Bali 1 399

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