Airport Delays, Gum Crackers, & My Ongoing Need For Sanctification

Early Friday afternoon I hopped on a plane for Oklahoma City. Well, really I hopped on a plane for Atlanta, and then I got on another plane for Oklahoma City, but I guess the point is that I utilized air travel in order to get to Oklahoma City for a Ministry Wives’ Conference.

I had the best time at the conference, by the way. The women were so kind and warm and welcoming. I spoke Friday night and Saturday morning, and then I went back to the airport as soon as the conference was over. Now that I think about it I wasn’t even in Oklahoma City for 24 hours, but I managed to laugh a lot AND consume two large drinks from Sonic in that short period of time. So I’d call that a win.

Also, at the conference they kept a beverage station up and running the whole time, and here is what they offered: iced tea, lemonade, lemon water, lime water, and coffee. This is pretty much the best idea in the history of the world and I have since decided that wherever two are more are gathered, we need to do this for each other. I mean, I’m not planning on setting up an actual beverage station in my house or anything, but I do think the third shelf of my refrigerator can serve in a more practical and intentional way with the inclusion of some lemon water and some tea. The water was so cold that it almost hurt to drink it, and I drank approximately 8 glasses of it. Give or take. It was so enjoyable.

Saturday was my birthday (I’m 32!) (Thanks so much for asking!) (I just lied!), so David and I decided before I left for OKC that the three of us were going to have a birthday / dip party when I got home Saturday night. We actually went out for a really nice dinner one night last week when Alex was at a camp with his whole 6th grade class, so the low-key dip idea totally appealed to me. Plus, I haven’t said anything on the blog, but I haven’t been eating gluten for the last couple of months (I know – I feel like such a cliche’ – but it has been a necessary and super-helpful change for me), so birthday cake was out of the question. There’s actually a gluten-free bakery not far from our house, but I don’t really want to get a taste for that kind of stuff because not eating gluten has helped me cut way back on sugar. And I really didn’t mean to discuss this particular dietary tangent so I guess this is what I get for overexplaining.

I had a little time to kill when I got to the OKC airport for my return flight, so I watched a little OU football and then played a significant amount of Candy Crush. After a pretty hectic week it felt like a luxury to just sit at my gate while crushing some candies, and before I knew it my flight was boarding. I had checked my bag because I didn’t want to have to fool with my suitcase during what was sure to be a sprint through the Atlanta airport, so I was feeling pretty light and breezy considering that I only had a purse and an iPad. I found my seat on the plane, opened my iPad so that I could crush lo, even more candies, and prepared myself for a relaxing flight.

And then I heard it.

The person behind me was cracking her gum.

Not chewing. Not smacking. CRACKING.

And of all the peeves that could possibly become my pets, this one is at the top of the list.

It’s fingernails on a chalkboard for me, the gum cracking.

Also, it makes me want to throw things.

And furthermore, it makes me want to scream.

Fortunately, I remembered that I had headphones (real live headphones – not earbuds) in my purse, so I plugged them in my phone and cranked up some music. Every time a song would end, though, I’d hear the gentle gum cracking of my neighbor behind me, and I’d ponder the irony that I had traveled all the Oklahoma City to ENCOURAGE WOMEN WITH SCRIPTURE and yet I was on the verge of damaging my personal testimony OVER SOME GUM.

I got a little tickled about that.

When we finally got to Atlanta, I had to switch terminals, and when I finally made it to the gate (which, of course, was at the very end of the new terminal), I plopped down in one of two remaining seats and pulled out my phone to check football scores.

(This was before the Aggies put the hurt on my Bulldogs.)

(I was mainly checking to see what was happening in the Florida / Ole Miss game.)

And y’all, I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I tell you that the guy who was sitting beside me at the gate? He let out a big ole belch just like he was at home in his recliner.

He didn’t say he was sorry or beg anyone’s pardon or anything like that, so I just figured maybe he got a little too comfortable, but then a few minutes later it happened again, and he wasn’t even a little bit fazed by it.

And a few minutes later? Big ole belch #3 – still with no acknowledgment on his part.

Well at that point I had no choice but to text my sister.

I mean, I hope he doesn’t have any sort of medical condition that causes that, and I certainly hope he isn’t dealing with anything serious, but I thought, Well, this is where we are, America. The once-glamorous world of air travel has degenerated into a herding process where we openly share all of our worst habits with our fellow passengers and basically expect them to just deal with it.

Don’t even get me started about how it’s like Lord of the Flies trying to get off of a plane. There used to be a little bit of decorum about men letting women out of the rows first, people helping each other with carry-ons, folks stopping to let the rows ahead of them exit – but now it’s like survival of the fittest. You snooze, you lose. You expect that the people behind you will be patient as you remove your bag from the overhead bin, but you turn around and realize that everyone has painted their faces and someone has stolen Piggy’s glasses and the parachute on the mountain looks like a monster.

You can blow that conch shell all you want to, sister. Nobody gives a rip.

It turned out to be another hour or so before my flight left Atlanta; something was wrong with the first plane and they had to bring in another one from the hangar (?!?!) and naturally, of course, we had to change gates. Finally, though, I made it to home sweet home. Alex told me all about his camp trip, and David had made several varieties of dip even though he does not really enjoy dip, and we cheered on the ‘Dogs to no avail. It only took about ten minutes before I reminded myself that basically any form of transportation is a-okay as long as it gets me home again.

No matter where I go, home is always my favorite place to be.

Hope y’all had a great weekend!

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  1. Glad you had a good birthday, Soph! Are you going to MSU this weekend?

  2. My great-grandmother always said, “The only difference between a gum-chewing girl and a cud-chewing cow is the intelligent look on the cow’s face.” She also had words about red shoes and lipstick. 😊 She would have had something to say to the belcher.

  3. This was hilarious. Thanks for making my night.

  4. Sophie, I made your beach dip for football watching yesterday, and I reckon since the Gators won (and won so convincingly!) I will need to make it for the rest of the season. Not that I am superstitious or anything…

    And happy belated birthday. I always say that I am “plenty-nine” when my birthday rolls around.

  5. Hope Harrell says:

    I may have come dangerously close to losing my salvation over a gum cracking situation on a city train. I have felt your feelings.

  6. Yep right there with you on the gum cracking. Don’t even get me started on commercials that having people chewing and swallowing food!

  7. “[E]ven though he does not really enjoy dip”… What? These people exist? (And Happy Late Birthday!!)

  8. Sophie – I just heard a story from a friend that was in the Atlanta airport waiting at the gate and a man came and sat down across from her, took of his shoes and proceeded to start clipping his toenails right there at the gate. Can you even imagine? What has happened to society?? So gross! Happy Belated Birthday!

  9. Terri A. says:

    I’m right there with you on the gum cracking! My #1 pet peeve of all time. I have a woman who sits two rows away from me at work and I can hear her cracking all day long (very professional). Luckily, there’s enough space between us (unlike one plane seat away), that I can sort of tune it out.

  10. Oh Sophie, I know just what you mean about not wanting to be *that* person talking about her new gluten-free diet! I love bread and was dragged into this GF thing kicking and screaming. Anyway, glad you had a successful birthday celebration without the cake, and keep enjoying your early 30s! ;)

  11. Glad you’re home safe! Happy birthday!

  12. It always surprises me when I’m off the plane, in the chute (I say that because for the life of me I can’t remember the name of that area between the airport and the airplane and they treat us like cattle anyways) and I turn around to speak to my husband and there is the man from the seat or two behind me because he is in such a hurry to beat the rest of us to the darned luggage carousel. Lucky for me and others around me I’ve got one of the good guys raised when there were expectations of a gentleman and he was in the military, so he is extra awesome!

  13. You are such a bright spot in my morning! This was a hilarious post! Goodness, the gum was bad enough but I think I really would have lost it with the belching. Ugh.
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday and I pray you have a blessed year. :)

  14. rachael b says:

    Happy Happy belated birthday!!!

  15. Saturday was MY birthday, too – although I turned FORTY-two. It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?!? Happy belated b-day to YOU!!!

  16. Surely you know the song “He Had It Comin'” from Chicago. “If you pop that gum ONE MORE TIME….”

  17. First of all, Happy Birthday. Second of all, I was at a conference recently and met a MALE professor who cracked his gum AND blew bubbles during our whole conversation. I was like…what?!?

  18. Could not stop laughing at your “belcher” story! Thanks for that. I needed a good laugh today!

  19. Happy Birthday!
    Hope your gluten-free adventures will be good ones. My daughter (who is a huge fan of your books) was diagnosed with celiac two years ago at age 24, and it’s been a major adjustment for her. I’ve tried (and failed) to modify, just to appreciate more what she endures.
    And of all things, I saw on your twitter that your new book title was announced – how did I miss this!! LOVE IT. Happy writing!!

  20. You are absolutely hysterical! Thank you so much for the giggling fits! :D

  21. Thanks for the laughs as always Sophie. Glad you are home because home is the very best place to be. Happy Belated Birthday too!!

  22. I’ve decided any amount of car riding is better than flying. I enjoy a road trip anyway. I’ve been gluten free for the past few months too. Despite the fact that gluten is my favorite food group. Isn’t it right there between broccoli and chocolate on the food pyramid? Anyway, Happy Birthday. So glad you could enjoy time with your people!

  23. Denny144 says:

    I thought I was the only person who hated the sound (and sight) of gum chewing. Many years ago when I taught high school, I would not allow gum to be chewed in my class. My excuse was that the kids would stick it under the desk top and that was nasty. A couple days of reminders and I never had a problem. I have the same problem with people who chew with their mouth open. And I’m proud to say I passed that quirk to my two kids.

  24. This is the best!! So appreciated the laugh! And, it made me think about a word I recently heard on the radio – misophonia. (From WebMD: Misophonia, also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, starts with a trigger. It’s often an oral sound — the noise someone makes when they eat, breathe, chew, yawn, or whistle.) I do believe I have a touch or more of it!! Birthday blessings to you!

  25. I’m a little late to this party, but this is one of your funniest posts ever. Piggy and the conch shell put me over the edge! (Well, not literally. You know what I mean.)

  26. Happy, HAPPY birthday, sweet Sophie. One of the MANY reasons I have loved your blog all these MANY years is your positive outlook. You are grateful ~ even gleeful ~ for cold water. You are wonderful and I hope you have the most blessed year ahead! xoxo

  27. Jeannette says:

    “Well at that point I had no choice but to text my sister.”
    I was enjoying reading your and then you text your sister. That nearly rolled me out of my chair. The only thing better would have been if you had included your text messages.

    I was never required to read Lord of the Flies as a student. But truthfully, I would have probably just scanned it back then. So this past summer I finally got around to throughly enjoying it. Loved all the references.

  28. Becky in 'Bama says:

    OH my word… YES. Airplane flights used to be a mode of transportation with some decorum…after all the attractive ladies wore suits, hats and gloves…people had to be civilized (and the pilot always entered wearing gorgeous military apparel). Now look at ’em. The ‘flight attendants’ sometimes appear to have rolled right out of the bed and forgot to wash or comb their hair and definitely lost their makeup bags somewhere (hopefully that’s strictly a female reference). I flew from B’ham to Chicago last week (think very small plane) and when I found my seat it was next to a young blond female who looked to be quite pleasant. Ooops. Looks are deceiving. I kid you not, I felt like I should have tried a bit of sign language with her; she was completely mute for the entire flight. She pulled out her earbuds and quickly put them in her phone as to give me the signal ‘I’m not talking.’ Fine. Then it hit me. BODY ODOR. Yep, she missed the class on personal hygiene, as well as the health lesson on the dangers of cigarettes. If I closed my eyes I knew there was a nasty ashtray in close proximity and I am familiar with the smell of an unwashed (for several days) body. People, we are talking a teenager here. Blew my thoughts about teenage stereotypes. Any-who, I tried to NOT breathe too deeply for the flight and immersed myself in my Kindle book. Who’d a thunk it?

    AND yes, I’ve seen people almost come to blows over who gets off the plane first.

  29. I’m with you all the way! The part about the belching man was hilarious. Someone in my husband’s family (who will remain unnamed) does this all the time and they never say, “excuse me”!!!! It’s totally foreign to me and my upbringing. All burps should be silenced as much as possible followed by a huge “OH, MY…EXCUSE ME” ! Thanks for the laughs.

    • Rachel Holliday says:

      I have one of those family members, too. He is 31-years-old, and unmarried. Imagine that.

  30. Oh my goodness, Sophie, that post was hilarious! I had not flown in years but did a few months ago. Could not believe the rudeness of plane people!! The first flight I ever took in my life was in 1971 and I actually DRESSED UP to go on the plane! Those were the days when it was such a luxury to afford a plane ticket and the flights weren’t crowded. Now, everyone flies, everyone seems to hate it, and very few people have manners! Like another commentor said, give me a car road trip any day! It may take longer to get there, but I only have to deal with my car-mates and I always love them!

  31. I was taking an exam in a college math class when a student–an older man, no less–began cracking his gum. My friend, Lindsay, who is never at a loss for words, spoke right up: “If you crack that gum again, I’ll break your arm.” Even the professor, who cracked a smile without looking up, heard her. The gum-cracking stopped. :)

  32. Cari Platt says:

    Pattie ^^^^^^^^ Cracked me up. All the comments. Lolz.

    Thank you for the laughs.

  33. Amanda M. says:

    Oh my word. I’m a little late reading this post, but 1) Happy Birthday, 2) the comments on this, 3) this post in general? It’s just THE FUNNIEST, but then sort of sadly the truth all in one. But HILARIOUS sadly. The conch shell had me laughing so hard I surely lost my breath!

  34. Catching up with you, Dear BooMama and this post has me CRYING with laughter. Even had to read it and some of the comments to my husband, who also joins us in the cracking up. What is wrong with people? And a belated happy birthday to you!!!


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