Now a lot of people may not think a plane crash is funny. Well, I beg to differ. MY plane crash was most humorous, once the fire, smoke and screaming had subsided.
Ten years ago, on New Years Day, my 20-year-old son, myself and a third person who shall henceforth be referred to as Strangeman Pilot, left the Santa Fe airport bound for a two-hour tour of the area.
Now I will admit, an hour after take-off, as my son and I and Strangeman Pilot were screaming headlong towards the mountaintop, with smoke billowing out from under the dash of the Beechcraft, I did, have one tiny, well, momentously tiny, instance of sheer terror. That feeling rapidly switched to dismay, no, make that, anger, when I observed our illustrious pilot hogging the one tiny window that delivered any kind of fresh air. He literally had his mouth up to it inhaling away, while my son looked like Casper the Friendly Ghost, (ewwww, bad analogy) with his white t-shirt pulled over his face. Meanwhile, feeling a definite need to breathe, I perused my oversized, overstuffed purse for some manner of filter. Let’s see, what have we here? My grandmothers cotton handkerchief, bordered with lace! Perfect! I might go down in a blaze of glory, but at least I would go down with class!
After what seemed like an eternity on the Spill Yur Guts Rollercoaster at The Texas State Fair, the plane finally landed, and I use that term loosely, on an obscure, remote mountaintop in northern New Mexico.
The only door was on my son’s side. He threw it open and before the Strangeman pilot could escape, as he most assuredly attempted to, my son flipped forward his seat and bid me exit, FAST. I complied post haste.
Here we stood, starring at the smoking plane, at one o’clock in the afternoon on the top of a remote, lonely, mountain plateau, in thirty degree windy, weather, wearing only the sweaters we had worn for brief, albeit remarkable two-hour tour, or was it three hour sightseeing jaunt? Gilligan? Are you out there? But unlike the Professor, The Movie Star and Mary Ann, our Strangeman Pilot had no water, no food, no flight plan, and no blankets. He did have a cell phone, but, alas, the battery was low. He most definitely had never been a Boy Scout.
The sun was setting rapidly. My son and I huddled close in the back of the plane keeping as warm as possible as the wind ominously rocked the little airplane. We remembered hearing before we left that a winter snow warning had been issued for the area later that day. Strangeman Pilot had assured us we would return LONG before the storm was due.
My son asked me if I wanted to share his last and only cigarette. And since there wasn’t a bottle of Scotch at hand, I agreed. We felt completely deserving of it. We sat there shivering and smoking and smoking and shivering, contemplating our dire situation. How would anyone find us? Would they find us? And what if they didn’t find us? Would we freeze to death? Would the oncoming storm blow our plane off the mountain? Thought provoking worries, for sure.
Then, I thought I heard the Strangeman Pilot say something. Yes. I definitely did. The Strangeman Pilot turned around from his front seat perch and said to us, “You know, you really shouldn’t smoke. It can kill you.”