The day started with my going to the visitors' center to get a train schedule so I'd know my options for heading back to the airport the next day. I asked the representatives there where would be a good place to enjoy a happy hour drink and munchies that evening. The first woman responded, "Everyplace is good for happy hour!" (No help there...) but when I pushed for more specific information, the second
My commandeering such a large table wound up being a good thing though. About an hour into my meal, two women approached me asking if they, and a third woman, could join me. I said, "Absolutely!" and I'm so glad I did. The three women were all flight attendants who had known each other for over twenty years. They were very nice and I enjoyed our conversations about the places where they've traveled, as well as their interest in my current trip. At one point, I must've mentioned how although I enjoy traveling to new places, my sound sensitivity can make it a bit stressful at times too. The flight attendant who was sitting next to me inquired more about my misophonia and when I described it to her, she said she knew someone who got very annoyed with eating noises, among other things, too. I wound up giving her the business card that I developed for this website so she could share it with her friend.
At one point, when the topic changed to their kids and family, I mentioned how my "baby" is a little cockatiel and as much as I'd love to travel with him, the idea of spending $175 to put him under the seat in-front of me was not appealing. That's when one of the women suggested that I get him authorized to
be an "Emotional Support Animal." Since I was already diagnosed with a medical condition (misophonia), all it would require is to get a note from the doctor and let the airline know. Then I'd be allowed to bring my bird on the plane and hold him in my lap, instead of having to put him under the seat in front of me. She also mentioned I might have to get one of those "Emotional Support Animal" vests, but I couldn't imagine getting one so small, not to mention that I think my bird would have a fit if I tried to put a vest on him. One of the other attendants agreed that getting him authorized to be an emotional support animal should be possible, and very likely would then allow me to have him with me while traveling without having to pay the $175 fee too.
What's ironic is when I went to the airport the next evening, I saw a woman with a little dog that was wearing one of those "Emotional Support Animal" vests. I couldn't believe the coincidence! In all the years of traveling, I've never seen one of
So, in letting a group of strangers join me for drinks, I not only received great company and conversation in return, I also learned something new that would be useful for coping with misophonia while traveling.