Sep 22, 2014by tracey Comments


I’m sitting on a Jet Blue flight bouncing around in the air somewhere over Kansas.

I’m beginning three months of on and off book touring.  I have Paul Williams sitting next to me happily eating some coffee ice cream.  He will be unhappy that I divulged that, but he is presently handing over half of it to the air hostess. He wants you to know that.

Across the aisle from me is one loony guy.  First off he has one of those pillow, donut contraption things. The ones people wear like a velvety, fiber filled tribal necklace. Only the tribe is whack jobs as far as I’m concerned.  What are they thinking?  Can someone tell me? Anyone? Write in.  Please.  What are those things?  Do people know how lame they look?

I know they are neck pillows.  Maybe they are comfortable.  But why would one wear them walking through an airport?

So this guy, Captain Neck Pillow, who was wearing his in the check in line and I saw him with it wrapped around his neck at Starbucks, has been coughing since we boarded. He’s not just coughing, he is hacking,  a deep, raspy disgusting hack.  And he does it every three minutes on the minute. Yes, I’ve been counting.  So, if I come down with Ebola you will know where I contracted it.

I am in the process of drinking my third Emergence. And then, then not only is he hacking, he just did it, he is watching a football game and between hacks, he yells and shrieks and does that ecstatic happy shimmy, shriek that men do when football teams make goals or whatever they make. His neck pillow wiggles and rolls and I glare at him, with my hand covering my mouth so as to not breath in his germs.

He just looked at me and told me it was an exciting game. I told him, I was sure it was, and I was happy he was enjoying it, but he was on an airplane and not in his living room.  He nodded and coughed at me.

The man in front of me is over sixty and has been playing candy crush for four hours.

I love a book tour. I love reading and signing and seeing new cities. But travel has gotten more and more difficult.

The whole luggage thing is crazy.  First off everyone tries to carry everything on board with them to avoid the $2 – $10.00 fee the airlines now insist you pay for checking a bag. So there is this mad rush to be the first on board to grab some of that prime overhead real estate.  People push other people’s luggage out of the way.  They elbow people to get their rolly bag up first.  Not to mention, they never observe the boarding order. You know when they say “People in wheelchairs, and first class only” and everybody with a boarding pass runs to get on.

This trip I thought I was packing lightly. I made a big effort.  But I have up to four events per day, including TV appearances.  I hate to be photographed in the same thing twice when I’m doing events back to back. Call me vain. Vain.

So, I am off for two weeks with one bag. It’s full.

When we got to Jet Blue the curbside check in the man said my bag was over fifty pounds and it would cost a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars????   You can buy a plane ticket to certain places for that much.

I then told him I was travelling Mint. Mint is Jet Blue’s new version of business class, which is supposed to give you certain perks, like say, extra luggage.

He said, I was allowed two bags. They could each weigh up to fifty pounds.

So trying to talk logic to him and avoid paying a hundred bucks I told him to pretend that I had two bags, each weighing fifty pounds, only I was saving the airline space by cramming them into one.

He told me that wasn’t the way it worked. I said, “Well, let’s make it work that way. If I’m allowed a hundred pounds in two bags, why not seventy in one?”
He shook his head no.

The quick appearance of a twenty-dollar bill on his keyboard suddenly made that scenario possible.

A hundred dollars per each bag that is over weight???? And it doesn’t matter if it’s three pounds. I have two weeks and seven flights ahead of me. That could get really costly.

Come to think of it, I wonder if those neck pillows are actually filled with underwear, socks and few pair of jeans.  In which case they might make sense. I may have to pick one up.