It’s late on a Friday night and the plane is full. My flight leaving Mexico has been delayed by over an hour and this is the first flight back to Dallas after inclement weather has cancelled several flights. Needless to say, the passengers are restless at best. Most are tired from long days and longer weeks. Everyone seems to have morphed into a cast of characters. The plane is a mix of people and characters; picture a scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit—only every one remains in human form and the animation is limited to personalities. First, let me introduce you to my seatmate, who reminds me of a very tall Yosemite Sam (the clothes and the mustache) with the personality of Grumpy who has escaped from Snow White’s enchanted woods. I am grateful that Grumpy ol’ Yosemite Sam is unarmed and just grumpy.

Next to join the trip, are Happy and Sleepy, the cutest older couple holding hands and helping each other down the aisles. Then we have a Disney princess—or a would-be one—I just haven’t been able to place her. Blonde …so she isn’t Belle or Ariel …it will come to me with time … OH OH OH! Now I know: She is the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland! She wants the flight attendant’s head, so she is definitely the Queen of Hearts.

Now there sits the Queen’s companion, who is definitely one of the dwarves: Dopey. He’d have to be to put up with all of her behavior on a regular basis, and you can just tell he does from the way he rolls his eyes and sighs, and shrugs as if to say “What can you do?”

Next, let’s meet Doc, seated in first class and very grateful not to be in economy near the Queen. I think he is ready to perform CPR when the flight attendant has a stroke from holding her smile in place (How do they do that?!).

Peeking out from a few rows up I see Bashful! She is so adorable! A toddler who I bet is thinking “Glad that’s not me! I’d be in timeout. I wonder why her mommy isn’t putting her in timeout? I’d SO be in trouble. I bet she needs a nap.”

“Achoo!” Now I hear Sneezy. But wait: a chorus of sneezes is breaking out. What in the world? A renegade from the perfume counter at the mall is on the plane! She has just sprayed five or six rows of the plane with eau d’achoo! I wonder how many men will be explaining “But honey there was this crazy woman on the plane spraying perfume. Really, honestly … that’s how the perfume got on my clothes …”

Yes, I’ve already said it has been a long day and a long week. I haven’t been imbibing—I don’t drink. I just can’t help myself. The plane is full of stories and characters, and humor is my defense against the chaos and trying times. The plane just abounds with animated and semi-animated characters. It is a lot more fun than sitting here thinking that I have a three-hour flight ahead of me with a grouchy seatmate with no clothing sense, a prima donna (that if we’re lucky won’t get us rerouted and boarded while she is arrested for endangering the flight), or being generally tense and frustrated by all the tired and weary travelers anxious to get home late on a Friday night. All of us who may just be destined to be stranded in the airport missing our connecting flights home.

So the next time you are cruising at 30,000 feet with a plane full of strangers who are tired, longing to be home, and not on their best behavior, pull out your sense of humor and see how many characters you can recognize. See if you can find any familiar faces from the Warner Brothers, Disney, or other cartoons of your childhood. Oh and if you are tempted to make a scene … take a moment to decide which episode and character you resemble: being a little devilish, donning a crown, dialing up Acme, casting a spell, giving an evil laugh, wishing for a rocket ship … or just maybe kicking back with a smile on your face and waiting patiently to see what happens next.

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Copyright ©2008 Lea A. Strickland,  F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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