vintage women on an ariplane

Kelly and I have totally different attitudes to plane travel.

Kelly arrives at the airport in soft fitting long black pants, a loose jumper, no make up and her Slouchbag bulging with “essential” equipment for the flight. We need to visit several stores so she can put on a sample of the $400 a jar moisturiser from the duty free shop; source more lollies than I eat in a year; find magazines in the unlikely event she stays awake, and buy a tonne of Panadol because she is convinced she will have a headache throughout the flight. All of this disappears into her Slouch. And she is ready to travel.

I behave like I am living in the 50s. I wear the same thing, including make up, I would wear out to dinner with friends and am ridiculously smug about the fact that my Slouch looks thinner than Kelly’s.

Of course, Kelly is almost 6’ with skinny legs and long hair – she can really get away with whatever she likes. I am just over 5 ‘ and no one, ever, anywhere, has referred to me and the word “skinny” in the same sentence. You have to go with your strengths.

Eventually we board. Kelly is already getting her Panadol and eye mask back out of her Slouch. She places the vomit bag in strategic reach – this is the moment on every flight with her that I feel panic, even though she has in fact never reached for that bag. She takes two Panadol, for reasons I cannot fathom, then pulls her eye mask on and says not a single word until we get to China.

Meanwhile, I watch crazy movies I would never watch in real life, eat plane food with the same strange sense of satisfaction peculiar to anyone else with a slight touch of OCD. Oh the joy of all those separate little compartments. We bump across the centre of Australia. Are they saving fuel by flying too low? Eventually I too sleep.

And then the joy of waking to tai chi exercises in your seat with a bunch of newly awoken strangers. I stretch, I drink tea, I reclaim the romance of travel.

Kelly wakes up just as we are about to land and then we enter the strange world of customs where you always feel slightly guilty about absolutely nothing!

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