Pupkus* at 30,000 Feet
Ah, summertime. Memorable trips and lazy days. 'Course when you're an old dog with no more new tricks to learn, most days are lazy days, winter or summer.
Now that it's sunny and warm, you humans seem intent on crammin' yourselves into cars, which get crammed onto a freeway, to reach a place crammed with people--just so you can say you're "gettin' away from it all." Why the object of all this effort is covered with sand and shriekin' kids, on the edge of somethin' big, wet, salty and unpredictable is a total mystery to me.
I was discussin' this with Darwin and Everton while we were takin' our evenin' perambulation around the neighborhood. Their dad had gone sailin' for the weekend and, seein' as they're the equivalent of three medium size humans, there's no room for them in the boat. We terriers have an advantage in that area; if you can call it an advantage to be small enough to fit on somethin' that periodically sails away from solid ground to wallow around on the aforementioned big, wet, salty, unpredictable expanse of stuff.
One thing led to another and at some point I told 'em about my magical, mystery cross-country tour and the time I became a canine illegal alien in my own country--all thanks to the friendly skies. And all pre-9/11, of course, since it's a safe bet if AHM tried this stunt now, she'd be havin' her own magical mystery tour of a federal hoosgow.
See, when I was a teenager ('bout a year and a half old in dog time), AHM decided I should meet the grandparents--who just happened to live on the other side of the friggin' continent! So she bought 1) an under-the-seat carrier I was still small enough to fit in and 2) a pet-in-the-cabin ticket. We were set. 'Course I don't recall bein' consulted about all this, but I was young and dumb and went along with the plan, 'specially when she made a big fuss about me bein' the Only One in my Entire Family who will ever Do Something Like This. I'm very susceptible to bein' the Only One doin' anything.
Just before we arrived at the small CA airport, AHM popped me half of one of the happy, sleepy, dopey pills the doc gave her--only half 'cause she didn't know how loopy I'd get and didn't want me losin' control, if ya' know what I mean. So when I finally had to crawl into that little carrier, I was already on my private mystery tour, which started out kinda' loud, with a roarin' whine and one huge bump. I spent some time half-sleepin' and dreamin' I was chasin' a fe-lyin' who was floatin' in mid-air all the time. Gradually I woke up to the fact I had a crick in my neck and a cramp in my tail.
(Continued in Read the Rest!)
Now here's where all the bendin'-of-the-rules business starts. Pets are never supposed to be let out of their carriers--for obvious reasons. Personally I don't think fe-lyings should be let out of their carriers ever considerin' they're prone to do stuff like this, but that's another issue entirely.
After I did some thumpin' around, AHM opened the carrier and sneaked me out onto her lap. (The place wasn't full and she was the only one sittin' in the two-seat row across from the galley.) Bein' a dog, I immediately tried to shove my snout out the window. It wouldn't open. Damn. I pressed my nose harder against the glass and… Holy Dentabone® Batman! There was nothin' there.
I looked this way and that, smearin' pupkus up, down, and sideways on that window. Still nothin'! No road, no grass, no trees--no solid ground at all. Just lots of empty space and big mounds of gray-white stuff that looked vaguely like those dream fe-lyings I'd been chasin'. Aaaaarrrrhhh!
Needless to say I backed off reeeaal fast and hunkered down on the seat beside AHM. She covered me up with a blanket and pulled down her snack tray, proppin' her book on top until an attendant showed up with food. Now that was a plus, if ya' don't count the elbow to the ribs I got when I tried to sit up and tie on the ole' bib. I was stuck under the blanket--'cept for my muzzle--and AHM slipped me a bite when no one was lookin'. Don't think we fooled the attendants, though. They either thought AHM was the messiest eater in history or figured out she was shovin' food under that blanket for another reason.
We had to change planes in Texas so I got to stretch my legs and do other stuff dogs need to do--like kiss the ground. Since that airport seemed to expect passengers to run the marathon from arrival gate to departure-gate-as-far-from-arrival-gate- as-possible, AHM flagged down one of those golf cart baggage haulers and we zipped along in style.
Then I was back in the carrier and we were both back in that big white box…stuck on the tarmac. Apparently there was a traffic jam worthy of any LA freeway. Bein' conscientious, all the attendants promptly disappeared into first class to party with the snobs, leavin' us poor slobs on our own. Out of the carrier I came to get a good look around. Soon enough someone saw me and made a "cute doggie" crack. Bein' the magnanimous sort I overlooked it since it was party time and I was chairman of the entertainment committee.
Within minutes I was paradin' up the aisle, grinnin' and flirtin' and swaggerin'--all those things I'd already learned how to do in the show ring. (Think I even sat up once or twice but I'll deny it if you repeat that.) A captive audience of airline coach passengers bored out of their skulls is easily amused. In return I got a full quota of ooohhhs and ahhhhs and scratches and strokes. I was invited up on more than one lap to check out the view from the other windows (nothin' to see in the dark 'cept the lights from all the other planes stuck in line) and people started bribin' me to visit them with food. It didn't even matter they insisted on callin' me "Harry" as long as they kept dishin' up those peanuts and pretzels.
Naturally AHM put an end to the snackin' considerin' I was gonna' be stuck for the next couple of hours and ya' don't want anythin' comin' out of either end when you're 30,000 feet above the nearest hydrant. 'Course when those jet engines startin' revvin' up for take-off, I got passed back to AHM faster than a hot potato. Fortunately the attendants ignored the fur muff that appeared to be rollin' down the aisle.
The second leg of the trip was pretty much like the first--lots of time spent sleepin' under the blanket and burpin' up peanuts. We finally reached the east coast airport in the wee hours to find AHM's dad patiently waitin'. I knew immediately we'd be buds. No ooohhhin' and ahhhhin' for him. He just grabbed my leash and headed for the nearest door while AHM headed for baggage claim. Don't think I've ever been so glad to see a bush in my life--not to mention I'd been holdin' in the biggest fart in the history of dogdom. (Hey, even I figured out ya' don't wanna' do somethin' like that in an enclosed space with recycled air.)
While I was sniffin' and liftin', I suddenly heard "Hey, there's Harry! Hi Harry!" One after another my fellow escaped passengers came past. 'Course they all stopped and we did the "nice ta' have met ya', have a good vacation" routine. Granddad Human smiled and nodded like he knew what the hell was goin' on, then hustled me back to AHM. When we got there he gave her a real fe-lyin' stare and asked "What did you do on that airplane?"
The explanation took the whole drive back to the house.
The time with the Grand-p's was great--except for that fallin'-in-the-pool incident which I'm still tryin' to forget. Memo to AHM: it wasn't that funny. (And while we're on the subject, don't think I've forgotten about that little stickin' me on a freakin' raft in the middle of the water caper.)
Eventually, though, we were headed back in the other direction, with a planned stop to meet up/visit with one of AHM's friends in another state so they could finish the trip together. There was, however, just one little problem. On the final flight to CA there were already two pets in the cabin which was the limit. The airline honchos said I'd have to fly cargo. Ack!
That's when AHM came up with The Plan.
Now here's the part that will probably never, ever be duplicated in this post 9/11 world. (At least I hope not 'cause I hate to think what might result.)
AHM had an over-the-shoulder carry-on bag along with the carrier. Her friend had an over-the-shoulder carry-on bag. We all went through the metal detector check point (no they didn't run me through the x-ray scanner) and headed for the departure gate. When they made the announcement that people needin' help should get on board, the three of us found a secluded spot and AHM began emptyin' all the stuff in her bag into the carrier.
I went into the overnight bag with a lot of stern warnings to keep my big mouth shut.
With her friend holdin' the carrier, we lined up. The attendant checked the boardin' pass and waved AHM through. Her friend, however, got stopped and the carrier opened. Ah--good. No pet. The attendant laughed at the odd packin' arrangement then waved 'em through. Mission accomplished. When we finally touched down, I officially became a canine alien illegally smuggled into California.
And I'm still wonderin' how long it took the cleanin' crews to wipe the pupkus off all those windows.
*Pupkus (pup' kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.
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