What To Do On Halloween 2006 In Utah
The whole rest of the night, I was waiting for things to jump out at me.
Since the dawn of man, all humans have known someone who had a friend who was a flight attendant. Here, now, I am that friend.
Grabbed some wrapped sushi trays at a store inside. Have no idea what the name of the store was because it was in kanji, but they sold everything there that has ever been made in Japan. Mops, slippers, geisha dolls, food, very bad lamps. The snack aisle bristled with boxes that sported happy faces instead of pictures of the actual food and slogans like GOOD TASTE FOOD EAT DAY! I took a chance on a bottle of something called Asahi:
I beg you... never ever take this chance. You may die.
Asahi tastes like peat-filtered gasoline. The pilots all took a swig, because no pilot wants to admit a flight attendant drank something they wouldn't drink. And so now it's official: four out of four pilots recommend Asahi as a painful method of suicide. I should have known, really... look what it was next to on the shelf:
The Embraer EMB Brasilia 120 is a tiny turboprop airplane which seats 30, and is inside literally smaller than a school bus. One of the criteria they screened us for at that initial interview way back in July was a height of 5'8'' or less, and that's because the cabin clearance is exactly that. Now it's a matter of public record, and also a complete fact, that I am 5'8''... my passport says so. But lets say, completely for the sake of argument, that I was actually an inch taller than that, and had scrunched down a little when they measured us at the interview. That would then make my head brush the ceiling. But I would never do anything like that, so that's not a concern.
At a premium also is horizontal space. The flight deck door is actually in the aisle at the first row of seats. There is literally nowhere to stand when greeting passengers. You can either stand inside the cockpit with your head kinked under the door jamb, or press yourself into into seat 1B with your head bent against the first overhead bin. The passengers mash you into whatever you're already mashed against, because it's an industry-wide policy that if you're a weightlifter, football player, or wrestler, they book you on the EMB. And when you close the cabin door, it fits so tightly into the plane that your right shoulder presses against it when you're in the jumpseat. The galley, which is in the back, is so miniscule that you're pressed against the lavatory door while preparing drinks. And ironically, this is the only aircraft we fly with a lav door that folds inward, so when the plane hits turbulence, you fall in. It is 'fat guy in a little coat' on aircraft scale.
And this thing is loud. The turboprops look small next to jet engines, but in flight they each sound like nine demons howling, "BAAAAAAAAAAAA!" the whole time. And each loose cabin panel (and no, there are officially none of those) chimes in with its own distinctive teeth-shattering buzz. If you don't wear hearing protection while in the jumpseat, you can literally suffer hearing loss.
That said, this plane is fun. It sideslips; the balance is arranged so that it seems to turn from the middle, which makes for a more fun ride the further back you sit. Aside from the impromptu bathroom visits, even trying to stand upright anywhere past row 6 is a day at AstroWorld. Instead of a long and blasting takeoff like in a heavier jet, this thing hops into the air after about seventeen feet. You almost expect to see Thomas The Tank Engine's face on the thing after you deplane.
So far, I like it. Of course, in six months when I need a hearing aid and a spine brace, that could be different. Stay tuned.
This is what I see when I go out the door and look south. I think it's a mountain. Kinda makes up for whatever may be lacking indoors, huh?