Thirsty Thursday: What do ya do with a drunken sailor?

Once upon a time, in a world free of diapers, sippy-cups & Dora, I boarded a plane from Tucson bound for Pittsburgh (with a stop in Chicago). The hubs & I had decided that after nearly 3 years in Tucson, we wanted to move closer to our family Michigan before having children. He had a job offer in Pittsburgh, and I was flying out to meet him after his day-long interview to check out the town to see if it was a good fit for us.

The hubs had left about 24 hours before me, so I was flying alone. Although my father had his pilot’s license before his driver’s license, I wasn’t a fan of flying. When I flew as a kid, I always got sick. Now that I’m older, and have seen some awful crash scenes in the movies and shows like LOST, I don’t get as sick as I once did, but I do have a lot of anxiety on planes for other reasons.

As I boarded the plane early that Friday morning, I walked the long, claustrophobic aisle all the way to the 4th to last row. I got situated in my seat, pulled out Elle Magazine with Madonna on the cover; hoping the power of Madonna would help me through takeoff. While getting comfy, I noticed I was on a very loud & rowdy plane. As I eavesdropped on the conversations near me, I quickly learned that not only were these back rows full of men, but they were on leave from the Navy. Sailors! On a long weekend break.

Smiling into Madonna’s photo, who I do believe was smiling right back at me, the sailor sitting next to me tapped my shoulder and said “Ma’am, are you flying alone? Would you mind switching seats with my buddy up in row 17?” his friend (and the other guys in that row) waive. He continues “We’re all on leave this weekend and will be starting the party, well, as soon as that lovely flight attendant walking by can serve me!” he winks at the flight attendant. “We’ll be getting pretty loud, and I don’t want to offend you.” I briefly thought about it, then realized what a fun flight this could turn into and said “First of all, it’s Kelli, I’m nowhere near a Ma’am… a Ma’am wouldn’t ask to join in on your party, would she? If you don’t mind drinking with a girl?! Trust me, I’m not easily offended” The welcoming sailor laughed, then stood up, noticed the flight attendants were about to do their safety lecture and saw a few empty seats in the last row, then yelled to his pals “COME ON BACK! SHE’S WITH US!”

The last 8 rows of the plane were sailors… and me. The flight attendant took our drink orders almost immediately after takeoff, starting with me. I really didn’t know what I was thirsty for, remember, it was about . So, I decided to be a true joiner and said “I’ll have whatever the boys are having.” And the guy sitting next to me, who acted like the leader of the group smiled and said “Jack & cokes for everyone!” And the plane erupted with cheers. I felt like I was in a movie!

As soon as the seatbelt light went off, the sailors surrounding my row turned to chat with us… no need to move, the party came to ME. The boys shared some crazy Navy stories, and many more off-duty tales, we even discussed the power of Madonna (seriously!) and about an hour & ½ into the flight, I was buzzing, ok, pretty much drunk. The boys kept my drink full without question, but they really did treat me as one of the crew… even if there was some mild flirting, they totally respected me and never tried to get me alone in the bathroom for example. They also respected the flight attendant who was basically a bartender… she also joined in the fun and did a shot with us before we landed in Chicago.

During my 30-min layover in Chicago, I scarfed down a big cheeseburger, and attempted to sober up before getting on my next plane, but let’s face it, any anxiety I had was GONE… so instead of passing out (probably for the day) I had one more drink on the quick trip to Pittsburgh and when I got off the plane and met the hubs, he hugged & kissed me then looked me in the eye with a shocking “Are you drunk?! It’s 4p! 1p our time!” Then I sang “What do ya do with a drunken sailor, earl-eye in the mornin’” and said “Me, I drink with a drunken sailor…” and continued to tell him the story I just told you. I’m sure some husbands would’ve flipped out hearing this, but we have always been very open & honest with each other. And, I believe the hubs got past his jealousy (not of the guys, but of me being drunk without him!) and moved onto being proud of me for getting past my anxiety and simply enjoying the moment.

Happy Thirsty Thursday! CHEERS! 

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