Love is in the Air
By David Meunier
"This is your head flight attendant Trudy
speaking. We haue an emergency. I repeat:
We have an emergency. One of our stewards has lost his gold neck chain!"
It was every airline passenger's
nightmare—cruising at 37,000 feet when
all of a sudden disaster strikes! If you
think cruising on the ground is tough, you
should try it at this altitude. Piercing earaches because of fluctuating air pressure
makes conversation almost impossible,
not to mention airline meals which cause
nausea. Plus, there's little privacy trying
to shout across a retired school teacher
from Ohio or winking at the object of your
desire only to have him turn away for you
to confront the cold stare of a businessman from Des Moines.
Wait a minute! Let's backtrack to how
this whole mess started.
I was on my way home to Texas after a
wonderful vacation in Key West. Originally, I had decided to take the bus to the
airport in Miami, but at the last minute a
group of my friends had chipped in the
difference so that I could fly. As Amy said,
"Buses are so tacky, and they don't serve
cocktails!" How could I refuse?
I had my apprehensions about using Air
Sunshine—Air-Sometimes, as the locals
quaintly referred to it. But my mind was
quickly put at ease when I learned it would
be the popular Tea Dance flight, so named
because it leaves Sunday at 8:15 p.m.,
right after the biggest Tea Dance op Key
West as La-Te-Da's is ending. You could
still catch last minute sun, dance and
drink and gather a few more addresses. It
was a frantic scene at the airport, as cars
screeched in at breakneck speeds depositing disoriented and inebriated passengers
at the last minute.
I eyed the plane nervously. It wasn't
even a jet. It was one of those two-engine
prop numbers which had probably last
seen service in World War II. The stewardess at the door looked like she was from
the same era. It did not bolster my confi
Once inside the plane, I was distracted
from my misgivings by the frivolity of the
crowd. It looked like it was going to be a
fun flight. What Air Sunshine lacked in
opulence was more than made up for in
special features other airlines did not
offer. Even though it was a small plane, it
had two male flight attendants to meet our
every need. They made a nice addition to
Trudy, who turned out to be one campy old
Clint and Clark both had marvelous
tans and looked stunning in their airline
uniforms of navy blue tank tops and kelly
green running shorts. Those bright and
bold colors somehow didn't look as good
on Trudy, but her constant mugging of
Mae West made you love her never the
I have always felt that airports and airplanes are such romantic places. I was
hopeful that somewhere among the crowd
Mr. Right would be seated. About three
fourths of the passengers were gay. The
rest didn't seem to mind. I waited with
great anticipation for my seatmate to
arrive. Would it be the hot number in the
violet Polo shirt? Perhaps that hunky
blonde still wearing just his Speedo
Unfortunately, it was neither. George
was a middle-aged, heavy-set funeral
home director from Dania. He immediately engaged me in conversation.
"How far do you go?" he asked suggestively.
"Only to Miami. Then I m transferring
to Pam Am for Houston," I replied curtly.
"What a shame. How long is your lay
over?" He leered.
I didn't like the way he put emphasis on
lay. "Only 15 minutes," I lied.
As I was pushing his hand off my knee
for the third time, Trudy arrived to inform
us that .Air Sunshine provided free cocktails. What a nice gesture, I thought.
"It's to get your mind off this old wreck
you're flying in," she roared.
"Would it be possible to change seats?" I
inquired. "Flying in the back always
makes me airsick, and I wouldn't want to
puke all over George here."
"I'll see what I can do, hon," she promised.
George, in the meantime, was leaning
halfway out into the aisle, giving me
apprehensive looks. At least if I could bein
Clark or Clint's section, the flight would
Soon I was up front Beated next to Lucy,
a retired school teacher from Ohio. But at
least I had an aisle seat.
Just as I was establishing a rapport
with Clint, the unthinkable happened.
Trudy's voice crackled over the intercom:
"This is an emergency. I repeat, an emergency. One of our flight attendants-
Clark—has lost his gold neck chain!"
Total chaos erupted. Screaming queens
ran up and down the aisle. It was horrible!
How could this be happening only 10 minutes from Miami! A Gary Larson cartoon
flashed in my mind—Fifi, the french poodle, saves the day by taking over the controls of a plunging airliner. But there was
no french poodle on board! We were
I knew I had to act quickly. If I could
find Clark's neck chain, I could restore
order. Plus, the hunk would be indebted to
me for life. Everyone was searching
frantically—even the pilot. (What was the
pilot doing back here?) Clint led us in show
tunes, while Trudy did Ethel Merman
impressions. Then, like a miracle, I spotted it lying near one ofthe Johns. A hugh
DEC. 23, 1983 / The Star 7
cheer arose as I announced my find. Clark
ran towards me. At last—love was in the
air! As we embraced, I felt the plane dropping.
"Oh, my God!" I screamed. "We're losing altitude!"
"Of course," smiled Clark. "We're landing in Miami!"
The restroom door sprung open, and we
fell in. On the ground, as Trudy gave an
interview to the assembled reporters,
Clark and I had a passionate restroom
Later, .Amy called to ask how my flight
"Remember Erica Jong's book, Fear of
Flying, that you promised to loan me?" I
said. "Well, I won't he needing it."