Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tail Wind


Things were looking up when we got to Newark Airport. As luck would have it, we had gotten there early enough to get on standby for the earlier flight to Gatwick.

As we boarded the plane, I smiled. This was not the smallish, single-aisle Boeing 757, but the much larger 777, with two aisles and three rows of seats. I love big jets; they bring out the adolescent airplane dork in me. Larry and I sat in the center row, and as as the plane pulled out of the gate, we realized that the third person in our row had never shown up. We'd be able to spread out, an empty seat between us. "It's not quite first class, but it'll do," I thought, smugly.

Little did I know how things would change...

Because of our arrangement, we had separate flight attendants. When Larry got a whole can of Diet Coke instead of a tiny plastic cup, I took it personally, especially since it seemed like the flight attendants on my side just hated me. I smiled, tried to be as polite as possible, but they just seemed a little moody.

Across from Larry, on the other side of the plane, a young couple sat. They also had three seats between the two of them. The "male" was a tall, gangly skinny thing, with long stringy dirty red hair, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. The "female" wore a white button down shirt and had short dirty blond hair that was long enough in the front to cover the face on one side. She had a high-pitched voice and they spoke to each other with thick cockney accents.

These two soon became the primary reason to develop a way to eject someone from a flying jet without losing cabin pressure. They were noisy, annoying and completely immature, fussing and fighting with each other and pissing off the people around them. The tall, gangly doofus preferred to listen to his iPod, airdrumming and making strange grunting noises at the same time. He also took to drumming on his tray table, pissing off the old man in front of him.

After dinner, things settled down in the plane. Sated (or perhaps coming down from his drug-induced high), the tall gangly thing lay down across two of the three seats, head in the female's lap, much to the relief of everyone around.

As I was scrolling though the menus on my personal video monitor, I smelled something really, well shitty. It was as if a toilet had backed up. Say it ain't so. There aren't enough Airborne tablets in production to ward off a fecal virus.

I looked at Larry and leaned in. "Do you smell something?" I asked. I hoped that maybe I was just smelling things. Maybe I farted and forgot? "Yes," he said, firmly, and pointed over his shoulder.

This gangly piece of shit was farting up a storm in the aircraft in the middle of his sleep, and his flat ass was aimed right at our row. Oh, how I wanted to kill him. It could have been done, as we'd been given metal utensils with dinner. Or I could have used the three pillows we had between us to smother him. And the little girlfriend too.

Soon, the funk dissipated and I had to go to the bathroom. I got up and walked back where I had to wait awkardly in the aisle. When I was done, I noticed that the duty free cart was right by my seat. If they could just move back four feet, I could go sit down. "We'll be moving in just a minute," snapped the flight attendant when I asked her. Great, it's official. They do hate me.

I walked back to the bathroom. Because Larry was sleeping, I tried to see if I could walk up the other aisle and cross over, but I was blocked by the first class "velvet rope". Fine. Back to the end of the aisle.

The gangly thing's girlfriend got up and headed down the aisle for the bathroom. When she got closer, I realized this high-pitched creature was really a boy. And perhaps more annoying than anything else, he was wearing heelys, those ridiculous sneakers that have wheels embedded in the heels, so he could glide down the aisle. He went into the bathroom and I leaned against the bulkhead, waiting for the stupid duty free cart to move. When he came out, he was completely confused as to where his seat was. My aisle freed up and I went back to my seat. On the TV was an episode of Everybody Hates Chris. How apt.

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