As you know if you were following me on Twitter on the evening of November 20th, some planes have wi-fi now! Which means you can tweet from 30, 000 feet! Throw in some claustrophobia, a little wine, a few bouts of turbulence, and the hashtag #thuglife, and you have a quick and easy way for ruining any reputation you may have had for maturity, holiness or fortitude. (What? Nobody thought I had any of those qualities anyway? Hmm, all those people must have unsubscribed for another reason. Was it the link to the Jersey Shore Christmas ornaments?)
Anyway, I hereby declare that we must immediately come up with a universal hashtag for use by people on planes. I cannot be the only one who turns into a prodigious source of neurotic 140-character missives when stuffed into a metal cylinder that’s bumping around thousands of feet in the air, and I want to be able to find these kindred spirits on Twitter. I’m telling you, this would be the best hashtag to follow ever.
It is worth noting that less than 10 days after my tweets from an American Airlines plane, the company filed bankruptcy.
Speaking of the crazy things that can happen when you’re way too far above the earth, my husband and I got in an interesting email discussion with my dad the other day after someone sent out this crazy article about high altitude skidiving. My dad was a HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) instructor in Special Forces, and had this to say about a jump that didn’t quite go as planned:
It was a six-man jump made from 44, 500 feet, at night. Almost all the guys had frostbite of the eyes. One of the HALO instructors when I was there had been on that jump, and said that at that altitude the C-130 couldn’t slow down much, so when they jumped everyone’s goggles were blown off. My friend was about the only one not hurt, since he immediately rolled over onto his back and covered his eyes with his gloved hands until he was lower.
The scary thing about that jump was not only that it was at night, but the record they were attempting to break was for how long you stayed in freefall. Their plan was to open at 1, 800 feet, about 400 feet below normal opening. That meant having a lot of faith in your altimeter and stopwatch, which had just been through a 250 mph blast into temperatures around -80° F. And they were trying to read these instruments after 4 1/2 minutes of falling, in the dark, with frostbitten eyes. He said they were scattered all over North Carolina but no one was seriously hurt.
I just added a few items to my List of THINGS THAT ARE NOT FOR ME: 1) Jumping out of C-130’s going at full speed. 2) Jumping out of C-130’s at night. 3) Frostbite on the eyes. 4) Not opening your parachute until you are very close tho the ground, which you can’t see, not just because it’s dark, but because your eyes are frostbitten.
Although I will say, the subject has made me realize that my main issue with planes is claustrophobia, and possibly some deep-seated issues with control. The idea of skydiving actually sounds okay to me. I am always so ready to get off of planes that it doesn’t make much difference to me whether it happens at the airport or while the plane is still in the air. I guess there are some extreme circumstances under which staying on the plane would be preferable (see take #3 for more on that), but those are few.
Remember that piece I wrote for the Register about all the benefits of not having a smartphone? It’s like the people at Verizon follow my blog over there, and rubbed their hands together while cackling “MWAHAHAHA!” when they saw that post. I got an offer to upgrade the very next week, which made it extremely cheap to get a smartphone. We were thinking of canceling our home phone service anyway, since it’s about as effective a form of communication as smoke signals, so the money we save there would make up for the increased monthly bill. Long story short, I now have an Android.
So far it’s been great, although I think my friends would give me a D- grade as a smartphone user. Because I’m really into limiting distractions, I promptly turned off the sounds that let me know when I have a text message or email; I manually check for new texts every now and then, but other than that don’t know when I have a new one. It leaves me having conversations like:
FRIEND: “Did you get my text?”
ME: “I never check texts. You should email me.”
FRIEND: “I did.”
ME: “Oh, that’s right, I avoid email as much as possible.”
FRIEND: “Did you at least get my voicemail?”
ME: “I hate checking voicemail. I only do it about once a week.”
FRIEND: “Soooo…I guess I need to come to your door if I need to get in touch with you?”
ME: “Yeah. Although sometimes I hide behind the couch when I hear a knock.”
As it turns out, limiting smartphone distractions is easy when you’re an introvert! Anyway, what apps do I need for my Android?
I’ve stumbled upon one of the best parenting hacks ever: Instead of folding all the baby’s clothes, I just toss them all into an open box. I do make an effort to toss them in such a way that they don’t get too crumpled up when they land (I should write that one up for Martha Stewart Living), but other than that I don’t fold them, separate them by type, or anything else. I just rummage through the box, sifting through jammies and onesies and day clothes for whatever I need. Amazingly, her outfits never look wrinkled when she wears them. Especially in this phase were spit-up incidents mean she goes through multiple outfits per day, and I feel like I’m constantly doing baby laundry, this is a huge time and stress saver. (Even though this particular idea was my own brainchild, me being the Albert Einstein of figuring out how to do as little work as possible and all, I feel like I should give credit to the fantastic book Organizing Solutions for People with ADD, which has tons of awesome suggestions like this one.)
Do yourself a favor and start your weekend off the right way, by watching this compilation video of street musicians throughout the world singing Stand by Me.
I hope your Advent is off to a good start!