Let’s start at the beginning: the trip to Las Vegas was something of an impromptu adventure with a small bit of planning and by planning I mean looking at times and prices purely out of economic advantage and not awesomeness. I ended up with flights booked not on my airline of choice (which is always Frontier) and at a time combination that would see me doing Sin City and returning having managed to go like 27 hours on no sleep. I would fly Southwest out at a reasonable hour of the morning, arrive in Las Vegas before lunch, then have a full day before having to get myself back to the airport in time to catch a 1am flight on Spirit back to Cowtown…with that time matching up to 3am in said Cowtown. By the time I was slated to stumble in my front door it’d be 6:30am easy. No overnight stay, no nap, and no carry-on bag so I had to figure out how to mega load my purse with all the things I thought I might need for the adventure.
I’m not going to pretend otherwise: I was more than a little apprehensive about things until about a day before the trip and then I was stupid excited. I changed purses three times. I packed my makeup case six times (and still ended up taking waaaaaaaay more than I needed to.) The morning of I was practically bouncing, save for my anxiety about the plane’s seatbelt. Planes can crash, they can fall from the sky, they can disappear and never be seen again and I worried less about death from 38,000 feet and more about my damn seatbelt. I’m a curvy girl. I’m still figuring out what my celiac-having body needs. The last time I flew was in 2007 and the belt was snug then. By my estimation I had gained some weight since then so by the time they called for my boarding group I was in a full-on panic. What if the belt didn’t fit? What if they made me buy a second seat? What if they were out of extenders? What if they threw me off the plane? I had myself so worked up by the time I got to a nice window seat that I was sweaty. I situated myself a bit, adjusted the belt, arranged it to see if it had enough length and realized that it did meet, albeit snugly. Okay. I can live with that. Then I went to latch it. And went to latch it. And again.
The damn latch did not want to click together. I moved out of the seat and tried latching without my butt being involved. No dice. I tried another way since maybe I had it backwards. Nope. I started to get frantic just as my seatmate, an older guy wearing khaki shorts and a worn Royals t-shirt, plopped down on the aisle seat and inquired as to what I was doing. I explained that I was having issues with the belt and he took it upon himself to start cheering me on. Loudly. I’ve never gotten a random pep-cheer from a stranger before, especially on an airplane, but by God it worked. I got into position, he started cheering, and the seatbelt clipped together perfectly with enough time to spare for the both of us to share a high-five and settle down for the safety demo. I took an ecstatic selfie.
And then we took off. My favorite moment of any flight is feeling the plane break free from gravity and leave the earth, but I think the scenery below may have outshone that moment this time. Rich green giving way to mountains, to rusty desert, to beautifully carved canyons. The view from the sky between Kansas and Seattle looks like a quilt of green and brown. The view from Kansas to Las Vegas is just so different and though I didn’t know it that was setting the tone for the rest of the adventure to come.