Flying, with a good chance of irritability

(Fiction)

I used to think the world was fucked. I did. I used to think the world was fucked and it was up to me to unfuck it. That’s what I used to think, but I’ve been trying to work on that. It’s not a particularly flattering characteristic I have.

Like this fucken guy, here. I’m in the food court at the airport and there’s this fucken creepy guy, a real mouthbreathing gizmo, right? And he’s just hovering around the iced tea carafe like it’s the last fucken source of iced tea on the planet. Seriously hovering, lurking. I mean, it’s iced-fucken-tea!

I’ve never seen anyone on the verge of conniptions over a soft drink before, but here was someone, right here in front on me on the verge of conniptions over a soft drink. He and I are about to cross paths, too. I paid for a Coke that’s not going to fill itself and the iced tea carafe is contiguous to soda fountain.

In any event, I’ve got a serious stink eye aimed directly at me by the twitchy, iced tea guy. I depress the Coke’s soda trigger and take a foamy sip. It’s just totally irresponsible — regardless of ounceage — to fill up the whole cup if the soda-water-to-syrup-ratio is all snafu’d, but this airport’s Coke’s as refreshing as Coke gets.

I top my cup off and pop an opaque plastic lid on because, even though I’m going to enjoy my Coke and hot dog — got me a polish dog too, in case I didn’t mention — right here in the lounge while I wait for my flight, and the lid preserves maximum fizziness in between free refills which is all just really the bees knees.

My hot dog is OK but sort of dry with wrinkly skin like an old dude, the dog itself does.  A sort-of-dry dog, I can deal with.  A stale bun is snafu.  A dry on the outside dog still has the potential to’ve maintained some of its juiciness at its dog-core, but a dry, crusty bun just really fucks with my universe — no redeeming qualities in a dry bun, whatsoever. Feed ‘em to the pigeons.

Flash forward and we’re boarding now and the voice over the speaker says the flight’s not all that full.  People rush to pack the plane, but I’m like, what’s the point?  I dawdle a little and board dead last.  I knew people were going to snap up the cherriest seats at the bulkheads and the emergency exits over the wings, but no one ever willingly takes the rearmost seats, which I never really understood, especially on a thinly-booked flight.

The back of the plane is like your own private cabin with it’s own personal bathroom.  Less random-asses-to-toilet-seat ratio, plus I won’t have to sweat the three refills I got before boarding. So that’s why I dawdle.  No rush in bringing up the rear of the boarding line.

The scent of Barbasol wafts down the gangway, which really proves that a good, creamy lather is still a great way to kickstart a real man’s man’s morning.

The girl in front of me has been clicking away on her BlackBerry — and snapping her chewing gum, some mango-mint bullshit which, speaking of lather, gets me all in one — since I first noticed her.  I’m pretty sure that, before all the clicking and snapping, she was totally eyefucking me six ways from Sunday, but then, afterwards, she felt dirty about it, which is par for the course for me, really.

I’m close enough and tall enough to see over her shoulder, and I notice that we have a mutual Facebook friend — an observation I kind of want to tell her about — but the fact that the line is moving forward without her, and the gangway is too narrow to get around whoever’s in front of you, makes me think I should tell her to pay the fuck attention.  But then there’s my whole attempt at ignoring the unfucking of the world, so I just clear my throat instead.

Once the plane finally takes off, I get up to use the bathroom because, even though I didn’t have to worry about taking a piss being at the uncrowded back, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to piss.  However and this is something I just couldn’t really believe — the lavatory was already occupied, which meant someone wasn’t paying the fuck attention to the keep-seatbelts-fastened sign, a happenstance that also really pisses me off.  But when the door finally opens, I had to piss so bad that my eyes were probably turning yellow, so I didn’t say anything.  I’m kind of passive-aggressive that way sometimes.

While I was waiting, one of the flight attendants asked if I’d like any peanuts, which, no, I really didn’t since I’m terribly allergic and will puff up like the Michelin Man if I eat just one.  I asked her for pretzels instead, which — similar to iced tea guy in the airport’s lounge — actually almost gave this person conniptions — because now she’d have to notify yet another flight attendant, one who distributes pretzels instead of peanuts, that she herself was unable to satisfy my dietary needs, a fact that I’m betting did generally unproductive things to her sense of internal sense of competency, but all of this was precipitated by circumstances that were completely out of my control.

After evacuating my bladder, I walk back to my seat and pick up the package of pretzels that had been left on my seat.  As I munched on the salty, half-stale victuals, I pondered a scenario that would likely be best pondered with one’s two feet planted firmly on the ground: What if the plane lost all power and began plummeting to earth, but one of the more proactive passengers says to himself, fuck this, and chews up then swallows a whole bottle of Xanax and a whole bottle of sleeping pills, downing them with a couple of those overpriced mini bottles of Jack Daniels they serve on airplanes.  But then instead of crashing, the power comes back online and the pilot rights the whole shebang after a few minutes of freefall with only seconds to spare like in various action movies everyone has seen.  But only now, the previously proactive passenger is full of potent narcotics and is well in excess of the legal intoxication limit, and the kicker is that, on a sparsely-peopled flight such as this one, there isn’t a single medical professional on the flight.  So, like, what does this guy do?  To what degree is this passenger’s complete and utter fuckedness quantifiable?  Fingers down the throat?  I mean, I probably wouldn’t touch him. Personally.  But that’s just me.

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