Flying out to Phoenix felt like science fiction. There was the loud hum of the engine. There were the announcements over the intercom in that movie tone of voice, announcements about seat belts and exit doors and seat flotation and carry-ons securely under the seat. There were the lighted signs about no smoking and keeping your seat belt fastened. There were the stewardesses running back and forth. There were the beautiful views of the sky and clouds from a space ship point of view.
It's been a while since I've flown, and it sort of felt to me that I must be some kind of robot sitting in an assigned seat, doing exactly what I'm told to do.
It certainly seemed like the beginning of a story because I live at 703 East Burlington Avenue, and who was sitting next to me on the two-seat side of the plane but a lady who lives at 450 East Burlington! Her name is Beth. We knew each other by sight. We bemoaned that we could have driven the hour and half to the airport together!
Beth was on her way to Phoenix as an angel of mercy. Her aunt had recently died, and Beth was going to help her cousin make decisions and pack everything up, while I was on my way to a Godwriting workshop and to see some old friends and make new ones.
We were flying to Phoenix on Allegiant Airlines. It was really nice that it was a direct flight -- no transferring, no tension about finding your way and making the connection in a major airport like Chicago.
We landed at the small Mesa Gateway Airport. Guess how many gates this airport has? One! Only one! How easy is that!!! Allegiant is the only airline to fly in and out of Mesa, and so far as I can tell, the only airline to have direct flight to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other places around the country. Hurray for Allegiant Airlines.
When you get off the plane, there is a Southwestern style building from which you enter a beautiful courtyard filled with plants where, if there had been time, I would have loved to sit there, but it was to walk through and enter another building which was the terminal itself. There waiting for me was Carol Maurer's smiling face, and so the adventure began.