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Tricia’s Place – The Commuter Plane’s Seatbelt

Our lives are so busy, it seems that all we do is drive, drive, and drive our lives forward. It often feels never-ending.

Life stays so busy that I often feel as though I can’t get everything accomplished, and that everything that needs to be done won’t be completed.

In that vein of thought, about two months ago, I was invited to visit an old friend of mine in Fort Lauderdale.

“Just drive down, it won’t take more than one full day to drive it!” my friend said.

I wondered, “One day to drive from here to the tip of the Florida Peninsula? Was he drinking again?” I laughed and told him I would be “wasting money” on a plane ride instead.

I told him to meet me at the airport down there, and I would call him upon my arrival.

I found out that the best (cheapest) way to fly was on a commuter plane, and that the plane would leave

from Jacksonville, so I purchased my round-trip ticket. I then called my friend and gave him the word on when I would leave and arrive there. He agreed to meet me.

I arrived in Jacksonville and found out that the airport is so large, the fellow passengers and I had to have a bus pick us up.

Once at the terminal, we boarded the plane, which was a small commuter jet, small but adequate.

I found my seat and sat down and attempted to get comfortable in the place that would be my ride from Jacksonville to St. Augustine. Meanwhile, a lot of other folks were sitting down in other seats, and snapping on their seatbelts.

I thought, “I need to buckle my seatbelt before the door is closed and the light comes on.”

I reached down beside my seat to try and find my seatbelt; I found the half on my left side, then I found the other half on my right side.

After finding the two sections of my seatbelt, I attempted to connect them in the middle, across myself. I tried, and I really did try hard, to get the “sorry things” to connect.

There was a problem though. There was most certainly not enough seatbelt to cover my abdominal area! “Well, heck, where is the rest of it? I looked and looked, but to no avail. I looked around and saw the other folk were already all buckled up and laughing, having fun!

I noticed a sign that said, “ask for an extension for the seatbelt, if needed.”

I saw the stewardess (as we called them back in the day) who was standing by the open door, laughing and talking.

Well, I had to get her attention somehow, and I certainly was not going to get up and walk down to where she was, in front of all those buckled-up kids and embarrass myself.

So, there was nothing left to do but call out quietly to her, telling her that I needed a seatbelt extension.

I called gently, “Ma-am? Ma-am? Could I please have an extension?”

It took awhile, but after I finally caught her attention, she asked me to repeat, please, what it was that I needed.

Lord, was the staff hard of hearing?

“Could I please get an extension?” I asked, this time a little louder.

“Oh, yes!” she replied, smiling down at me. 

Meanwhile, I noticed that everyone on the plane had stopped their talking and laughing, and now seemed to be staring at me!

“What the heck!?” I thought in embarrassment. I took the extension, finally figured out how to attach it, and it all snapped into place.

From that point on, my trip continued and went very well, I saw my friend, we had fun, and then came the return trip on the plane once more…well, you figure out how that went…you already have all the clues!

Patricia Ann Hinson Mordes