What it's like to fly

I have come to realize that I am a somewhat more experienced flyer than some people. To that end, I thought it would be kind to share my experiences to help those who may not be so experienced understand what they are getting themselves into.

Purchase ticket, pack bags, online check-in, go to airport, drop off bags, go through passport control, go through security, experience personal massage by security personnel, experience involuntary donation of treasured goods to security personnel, experience false sense of security, locate gate, locate disgusting and overpriced airport food, discover pocket knife that somehow made it through security while your Channel No. 5 did not, anxiously wait near gate for boarding call, watch the stampede of passengers toward the gate despite their group/row number not being called, hover anxiously waiting for your group/row to be called, discover yours is last, finally get on the end of the long line of passengers waiting to board, experience your kindly fellow passengers preparing you for the claustrophobia of the airplane by packing in around you, finally show your ticket and ID to the gate agent, stupidly wish the gate agent a pleasant flight despite the fact they are not going anywhere (this happens every time), stand shivering or sweating on the jet bridge depending on the local weather conditions, finally get inside the plane and smile at the flight attendants, locate your seat, argue with the person in your seat and show the that theirs is elsewhere, struggle and fight to find a place to put your carry-on bag, politely but firmly explain to the flight attendant that you do not wish to check your carry-on, glare at the person who has brought three full suitcases on board, finally settle in your seat, plug in your headphones and open a book, do not lock eyes with your overly friendly seat neighbor trying to engage you in conversation, laugh at the safety video, experience push back and take off, watch flight attendants distribute food and drink, they hold the power over the masses as everyone eagerly awaits sustenance, finally receive your carefully packaged meal and try to swallow mystery food, finish your meal and attempt to move on to another activity but find your food tray is in your way, watch flight attendants collect food trays in eager anticipation of freedom, finally your are free to read or write or watch a movie, attempt to distract yourself from wailing children, attempt to avoid using the airplane bathroom, fail in said attempt, wait on line to use the airplane bathroom dancing from foot to foot holding it in, enter airplane bathroom and find everything inexplicably wet, return to your seat and attempt to amuse yourself for the duration of the flight, hear the announcement of the final approach and the anxiety that comes with it (what do they mean final?), help flight attendants tidy up the plane for the passengers on the next flight as they pass by several times for any trash, finally land at your destination, experience confusion as to why people who arrived with you are welcoming you over the PA system, spring out of your seat to deplane but find a huge crowd of people have done the same, experience frustration at the amount of time it takes some people to gather their belongings (didn't you notice we have landed already?), finally burst out of the plane to freedom, locate the luggage carousel, stare anxiously at the carousel and pray that your bag comes out, pray that your bag comes out, pray that your bag comes out, shriek with joy when your bag comes out, and finally you can exit the airport, your flying experience is over.

All this is done in one breath over the course of many hours.