this plane ride is no game

My first plane ride (if you could call it a plane) was when I was sixteen. I took a buzzer from Edmonton to Kelowna … the aircraft was so small that the passengers banged heads together when they adjusted in their seats.

For the most part, I consider that trip a primer for my first REAL trip, which was to Florida in 1990, when I was a dapper 20 year old. My new husband and I were a-goin’ to Disneyworld, and I was fully prepared for it. I even brought a game to play on the plane, to pass the time.

It was the travel version of Tile Rummy.

Now when I think of it, I cannot fathom why I would choose that game. Tile Rummy has got to be the most ridiculously complicated game you could take onto a plane. It takes a long time to set out, and you need a good square footage of table-top space to set the game up to begin with … not the flip down serving trays that are the size of a piece of toast. Plus, the guy in front of us couldn’t decide if he wanted to recline or not, so we were constantly adjusting our table to make sure the tiles wouldn’t fall between the seats.

By the time our miniature trays of teeny tiles were set out, the guy by the window decided he needed a can-break, at which point we had to grab the kit and kaboodle and move it out of the way. We waited for his return, (what WAS he doing back there!!?) and when he finally climbed over our knees to settle into his seat again, we set up the whole process again.

The drinks cart was next. We maneuvered our tiles in just-such-a-position so that we could set our coke down on the table. Snacks, we stuck in our pocket, getting impatient to start the game!

Then in a lovely moment I’ll never forget, I reached to play a lovely green run of 5-9, and my sleeve cuff caught the edge of the container of spare tiles. The crazy thing flipped over, and the mini tiles flew across isles, seats, legs and feet, landing out of reach in all directions.

The craziest thing was that the other passengers sat motionless, silently observing the whole comedy as if it were on screen and not happening at arms length in front of them. They didn’t tisk tisk, laugh, or even scorn me for my stupidity, but sat mutely watching the shenanigans unfold.

Meanwhile, I collected each piece gradually over the course of the next two hours, as they appeared within my line of vision. We stayed behind after everyone left the plane, to snatch the last few pieces. Who ever thought of a travel version of Tile Rummy, in my opinion, should have been there under the seats helping me look for them. After retrieving what I could, I tucked the game into my bag, and didn’t even dare open it for years.

The green six is still missing.


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