When I was three years old, I had this long-sleeved shirt covered in pictures of planes, trains, boats and automobiles. I called it my “modes of transportation” shirt (did I mention I spent a lot of my free time at that age practicing the differences between adverbs and adjectives and count and non-count nouns? Guess whose mom was an English teacher?). I loved that shirt, and in honor of it, I’ve started a new label on Jackfruity.
The modes of transportation category currently includes such Jackfruity favorites as:
- Traveling with Momma, a heartwarming tale of chevron theology
- In Need of an Explanation, one of many posts in which I recount being thoroughly confused by life in Kampala
- The Appropriate Apparatus for the Activity, about sharp things
- No Beans For You, of sharing and sustenance
- He’s Not Really, I Promise, in which I am grief counseled by a boda-boda driver
- A Question for the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications, my proposal for a frequent matatu rider program
- Romance in K’la City, the post that started it all
I doubt this category will receive too many more Uganda-focused entries. However, almost as if it could sense I was leaving, the country decided to give me a parting shot.
About thirty minutes in to my flight from Entebbe to Dubai, the Ethiopian woman next to me tugged on my sleeve. She didn’t speak any English (and my Amharic consists largely of words like injera and kitfo), which made understanding her concerned expression as she pointed to the ceiling somewhat difficult.
I tried to reassure her, assuming she was jittery about the flight, but as I reached my hand up to mimic a safe landing, something dripped on it.
I looked up. There, on the crack between two overhead bins, was a leak. Now I was worried. Together, my Ethiopian Buddy and I rang for a flight attendant. By the time he reached us, the dripping had gotten so bad, and was accompanied by so peculiar a smell, that EB had wrapped a shawl around her head and was considerably more disgruntled than frightened.
“There seems to be something dripping on her head,” I told the flight attendant. “Is the plane leaking?”
The flight attendant scoffed, as if to say, “How dare you suggest that the airplanes of this reputable airline are anything less than superb?” What he actually said was, “The woman behind you has a pineapple in her carry-on.”
“Could we perhaps take her bag out of the overhead bin?” I asked. “She’s getting…dripped on.”
EB nodded and pulled her shawl more tightly around her head.
“Why don’t we move you to another seat?” he suggested, drawing EB away by her elbow and leaving me with the pineapple juice.
And that was it. He never came back, the woman behind me was utterly unperturbed when I asked her to take the bag down (“It will hurt my feet,” was the explanation for her refusal), and I got to spend the next seven hours next to a growing puddle of pineapple juice.
Today I flew from New York to DC. We hit turbulence right as the woman next to me was about to take a sip of water, and she ended up spilling some of it on her tray table. The flight attendant came and wiped it up for her.