Why couldn’t I be on the flight in that movie Airplane? Sure there would be almost deadly yet comical food poisoning but at least there would also be jive talking and a topless woman streaking across the screen.
But everything that could have gone wrong did, save a deadly nerve agent seeping through the vents. First, my swollen-spider-egg-hatchery eye. It hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s to the point that I should just stand behind Mike and say, “I didn’t listen the first time.” (Okay, no more dropping domestic violence jokes, but come on… nothing for that? Nothing?) And how attractive is flying with an eye and a half? It’s like I’ve become a hag with a permanent wink. I’m the Million Dollar Baby, minus a million dollars.
The flight to Phoenix was fifty minutes late because the plane had to turn back right before take-off due to the cargo door opening. A little delay, they said, turned into almost an hour of one attendant or another stumbling over the “how to calm the passengers” script, telling us we will leave shortly and there should be some time to make our connecting flight. And all I could think about was how the Phoenix rises from the ashes and on this flight we were going straight into the fire.
During the flight, there was forty minutes of turbulence and every Wayne’s World vomit euphemism came to mind. The path to the lavatories in the back where blocked by the beverage cart so I walked to the bathroom in the first-class section. The moment I walked up and noticed it was occupied, the bottle-blond attendant snapped at me.
“You’ll have to wait back there by the partition,” she huffed. Her hair flipped up at me like little middle fingers as I shuffled three feet back to the see-through Iron Curtain where I belonged. Could my coach-ass have been that offensive? It’s not like it was Jurassic Park and every heavy low-income stomp I took caused ripples in their cups of red wine. I waited patiently until I could leave the $3 Famous Amos snack pack in a toilet where the first-class shit may not smell like roses, but it’s still in a higher income bracket.
We arrived in Phoenix with a sliver of time to make our connecting flight, but even that was cut in half because we had to wait for someone to bring the jetway up. We had no way to get into the terminal because some stupid US Airways idiot didn’t do his/her job. It wasn’t like my sister who calls me and says she and her four kids will be right over and I have only thirty minutes to hide the silverware and break out the Top Ramen. They had three hours to make sure that people could get off the plane without having to use the emergency exit. When we finally entered the terminal, we rushed to the next gate just as they were saying that all passengers had to be on board.
I walked by the flight attendant, another skanky bottle-blond who hissed at me right as I had just sat down and was scrambling to make Nathan a bottle. She said, “You’ll have to put all this overhead,” like I was just going to leave the Lamaze toys in the row and in the case of a crash, she’d be the one smacked with a projectile Henry the Hippo.
“Yes, I understand that,” I replied, interrupting her and holding up the bottle like she had never seen one before, “BUT I HAVE TO MAKE HIS BOTTLE FIRST.” She was treating me like I had lolly-gagged in the terminal, perusing the gossip mags and deciding whether I want to read about celebrity revenge plots or diet schemes till I heard the final boarding call and decided it was time to take my Spongebob Strechpants family on board.
I imagined that if this had been some dive bar instead of US Airways Flight 666, she’d be considered the “hot one” because the other bar patrons would be amputees and war vets and I’m not sure where I’m going with this one other than to say she could have been nicer.
She did teach me something, though. Shortly after we buckled in, a family of five came through, holding Pizza Hut boxes and plastic bags from the gift shop. The stewardess was walking with the mother, saying, “Well, this close to departure, you won’t be able to sit together.”
The conversation continued down the aisle and the mother said, “Well, if we can’t sit together, we’ll just find another flight.”
There was a pause and the skanky stewardess said, “Is that what you want to do?” and the woman shot back, “Yeah! If you can’t get us to sit together, we’ll get off the plane right now!”
I’m going to use that line from now on. The next time some woman’s about to diss me at Target, I’m going to say, “Is that what you want to do?” and she will cower. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just tell her that my eye is contagious and I might as well pee down the baby aisle because that territory is mine.
On Flight 666, the little boy next to me used the reading light so he could suck his own toe. He squiggled off his cowboy boot, brought his bare foot to his mouth and sucked on his big toe. He slurped, then looked at me as if I had. no. idea. what was going on three inches over and continued slobbing away. It’s okay when Nathan gets all uncouth and eats his own feet because that only helps me change his diaper and I guess it would be okay if you were a fetish performer in the back alleys of Bangkok because, hey, we all need to make a living, but when you’re an eight-year-old boy and drops of your spit fly toward me and my son, put the digits down.
His mother was no help, either, especially when I kept waking up because her son’s erratic sleep-positions brought his knee to Nathan’s head. She just looked at me and Nathan and said, “It’s so easy to travel when they’re that age!”
But I have to say, it’s nice to be back home, in a place where if I need to empty out the contents of my stomach, there’s no class divide and no one in my way.