Sarah Blake Diary Entry Nov 3, 2003 —
All the plans were set for me to get on the plane. The flight was at 10am. My brother’s girlfriend let me use her frequent flyer miles and we booked the flight online a week in advance. I was so nervous, I shook. I had never rode in an airplane, very scared of heights, and I was taking this first flight/journey to LA on my own. My mom and younger brother drove me to the airport and waited while I checked my bags. I was early, anxious, and happy to start this new chapter in my life. I stood outside of the security checkpoint that I had to go through to get to my boarding gate. I didn’t want to go but I desperately wanted to go at the same time.
I cried as I hugged my mom and younger brother. I was more scared to board a plane for the 1st time than go to a huge city like Los Angeles or shoot porn. Its was the fucking plane that was freaking me out. They told me they loved me and that they knew I would succeed and be ok. Still crying, I went through the gate and turned to wave one final good-bye to my family. The security guard was a really nice black lady that said’ “Oh, sugar it’ll be ok.” She had that southern charm that many women in Memphis have. She even gave me a little hug as I passed her. I went though security without a hitch. With ticket in hand I hunted for my gate, and the bar for a cigarette. I went to the gate first, and Gawd, it took forever to walk to it. I passed a “cheers” bar exactly like the show on TV. I heard this eerie classical music that makes you want to run or expect Bugs-Bunny to pop up and say “What’s up Doc?”
I passed a few barbecue places and there it was. My gate. My stomach did another one of its flip-flops, and my throat went dry. I decided to distract myself and to go back to one of those barbecue places to get some “sweet tea”. In Memphis, every restaurant has “sweet tea”. It’s usually 2 parts sugar to one part tea. Being the sugar-hound that I am, I got the large. Four little old ladies were also at the counter waiting for their orders. They were chatting away about going to the studios in Hollywood and the Islands they were going to visit. Then the conversation drifted toward illness, and medicine gossip. One lady with pinkish hair asked, ”Where are you heading to dear?” I said LA and she perked up and started talking a mile a minute (which is a sight to see in the south) about herself and her friends traveling to. They traveled every year together to some place they have never been before. I hope I’m that lucky to travel after retirement. I told them I was visiting-”ahem”-family, and then promptly went to smoke a cigarette in the bar. I got to the bar, set my bags down and realized that I didn’t have a lighter, which was followed by a certain amount of profanity on my part. One of the waitresses saw my distress and handed me a book of matches. I would have kissed her if she’s been a little cuter. I ordered a coke(I had already downed the large “sweet tea”), took a drag off my cigarette, and got out my phone. I called my mom to see if she had made it back home yet. She answered and said everything was fine. I told her about the little old ladies, and the Cheers bar. I missed her already. She is my best friend. I got off the phone and finished my cigarette. I was nervous about missing my plane so I went back to the gate earlier than I needed to.
After reading for about 20 minutes we were finally boarding. This was sink or swim time for me. First flight, never been to California, starting a career in porn. Woo, when I do something I sure go all the way. All or nothing! Well, as it turns out I wasn’t as much as a chicken-shit as I thought. I got to my seat, put my seat belt on and turned off my phone. I had a window seat and could see that I appeared to be right on the wing. I was instantly reminded of that movie by Steven King where that monster eats part of the plane and the guy freaks out. I laughed to myself nervously, kicking myself for not having another cigarette or a drink before the flight. I can’t drink that early in the morning though. It has to be after supper in the evening time or I’m just a mess.
Everyone was seated and I realized that the same pink-haired lady and was one seat away from me, with her husband in the middle. She continued to talk about one thing or another until she started to sound like the grown-ups in Charlie Brown. Her husband told her to hush when the stewardess started giving instruction on the intercom. I was thankful. I listened, shaking still, about how if there was an emergency landing over water I could use my seat as a flotation device and all that other stuff they say that only new passengers listen to and everyone else ignores. Then my mind decided to fixate on all the airplane movies I’ve ever seen where they crash. I couldn’t shake the thought of a terrorist and how and with what I would kill the fucker if he tried to take over the plane. That’s when I decided to get out my book and try not to think about a fiery death. Without realizing it, I had chosen a novel where the story takes place in LA. I thought that was pretty cool until I got to the serial killer part. I really know how to get my imagination going. I gripped the sides of the seat as we took off from the Memphis Airport. Looking out the window Looking out the window as everything appeared to get smaller and smaller until we were in the clouds and I couldn’t see anything. I leaned over and asked the gentleman to my right if the captain could see through the fog. He saw the worried look on my face and it startled him. He told me that they use their instrument panels for everything and don’t use the window. “Oh,” I thought, feeling like an idiot.
A couple of hours later they started to serve beverages. I looked out the window and the wing was MOVING! I again gripped the armrests and looked around to see if anyone else was seeing the same thing. Obviously no one was, so I told the stewardess as she was walking by. “Oh, it’s supposed to do that. Don’t you worry,” she said. By this time the old man offered to buy me a drink to chill me out. I declined, put a blanket over my lap and turned the air up above me. The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful and we above the clouds so I couldn’t see the Grand Canyon or anything. That was a bummer. I got about half way through my book when someone said” look, there’s the mountains” I looked out the window and there were the mountains of California, with all the valleys and cities. I was so excited and inspired. I still feel that was to this day. The plane landed with me again, gripping the arm rest like it was a safety device that would shield me from death. A couple of bumps and we were on the ground. Now I was in California, all by myself. I hunted for my phone, turned it back on. We docked and I got my bags.
My phone was almost dead, the cheap piece of crap. I found out later that the flying was somehow draining my battery. I have a new phone now. So now I’m off the plane and in LAX. Culture shock immediately set in when I saw some guys that looked like they belonged in the 80’s with punked out hair and chains on their clothes. I ask a few people where the luggage claim is and find it. I get one of my bags but I can’t find the big one (its like 50 lbs so its hard to miss). I started to feel a little panicky and then I saw it over to the side, it wasn’t on the belt. I bought time on one of those luggage carriers and wandered around a little trying to find the person that was supposed to pick me up. I checked everyone’s signs. Nothing. Now, I was panicked, but remained calm. I took my phone out of my pocket again and is was totally dead. I found a pay phone that only took credit cards (culture shock). I called home and asked mom to call the agency since I didn’t have the number on me, it was in my dead piece of crap phone. She called then and I waited. And I felt like I waited forever. It really wasn’t long, but when you are feeling lost in a big city, alone, then time starts doing some weird shit. I saw a big guy that resembled Sylvester Stallone half-jog by and I saw my name on his sign. I ran to him and touched his shoulder. He introduced himself as Troy. We talked about the weather as he drove me to what would be my new home away from home.
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