I tiptoe through first class on the way back to coach. I can smell the aromatic leather seats.
Larry walks down the aisle and encounters a man in an aisle seat drinking coffee - with his elbow jutting out.
"Please move your elbow," he says, not slowing down.
Had that been me, I would have pretended not to see the man's elbow and slammed into it, sending scalding hot coffee all over him.
Why are you looking at me like that? Some people need to learn things the hard way.
Click Read More to Continue
After shoving our bags in the overhead compartments, we take our seats. As the person in the third seat is situating herself, Larry says, "Wait! Go get the headphones - they're in the front pocket of my suitcase."
I sigh, as I normally do when even slightly inconvenienced, and unbuckle my belt.
As I begin to struggle with Larry's bag, he notes that something is missing - headphone jacks.
"Nevermind," he says.
Denial kicks in. I take my seat and check for myself anyway. No headphone jacks. I look up at the overhead panels. No TVs either. But it can't be! How are we going to watch Continental's evacuation video? I love the part where they show how you can manually inflate the life vest - as if you'd have that kind of time in an emergency.
A funny thing happens as you wait for the rest of the passengers to board. You realize just how much you hate people.
Two girls are getting settled in the seats on the other side of the aisle. As I try to figure out the nature of their relationship, I wonder if they were raised in some kind of camp for the emotionally fragile and neurotic.
"Do you want to sit in the window seat?
"No, it's okay. I'm fine here."
"Are you sure? Because I can move if it's not okay.
"Oh, no. It's totally fine."
"Well, just let me know if you want to switch seats because, like, I'd be more than willing to, like, switch with you? If you really wanted to sit here?"
"Oh no, no really. Don't worry about me!"
"Can you see if there are any blankets? I'm freezing."
"You know what? Maybe I will sit there. Is that okay?"
"Oh, totally. But I might have to go to the bathroom a lot. Do you know where I packed my baby bottle?"
"It's in your Hello Kitty bag. Do you want me to get it for you?"
And it just goes on and on and on. I want to grab these two by the scruff of the neck and throw them off the plane. God only knows how they'll react in the tropical sun.
"Do you have any SPF 600? I think I'm developing skin cancer."
"But we're still on the plane."
The intercom crackles to life. "This is the captain speaking. We're just waiting for a latch to be secured properly. We've got a new jet here today and we're just workin' out the kinks."
Nervous laughter fills the cabin as all the pieces fall into place. A new plane, I think. That explains the lack of headphone jacks and TV screens. What's next? Seats? Bathrooms?
As the plane pulls out of the gate and heads for the taxiway, the captain lectures those who have decided, You know what? Now is the perfect time to sneak out of my seat and go to the bathroom. It's not like anyone will notice.
Just then, a lovely little spat develops between two people in the row ahead of me.
CRAZY WOMAN WITH CURLY HAIR: Please move your arm. You have your seat and I have mine. I don't want you touching me.
CWWCH: (louder) I don't want you touching me! Can you move over?
I don't hear his response, but I don't see him move either.
With all the
We're officially on vacation, I think, closing my eyes and visualizing palm trees and sandy beaches.
It's time for food and drink. The beverage cart takes position at the front of the plane and drinks are served. I smell food and can't wait to see what they'll serve us today. With gas prices falling, maybe they can offer up something other than a nuked burger with a side of iceberg lettuce.
A very manly looking female flight attendant appears in the aisle. She is much older than the other flight attendants and reminds me of my much-hated grammar school principal-and-closet-lesbian, Sister Jean, whom I secretly referred to as the Bucktoothed Beaver.
Manly Lesbian Flight Attendant seems to have an agenda today: belittling the men on board - and she succeeds.
"Alright, we have Philly cheese steaks today. Would anyone like a Philly Cheese steak?" she says as she makes her way through the cabin.
"Ladies first, men last," she adds. "That's the way it should always be." There is a little hostility in her voice, judging by the way she says it.
By the time MLFA gets to our row, she's so busy chatting it up with all the passengers that her little rule flies out the window and she serves Larry and I ahead of the woman seated next to us.
"Oops! It looks like I forgot my own rule!" she says. I'm surprised she didn't take our food away and start over.
I look at the wrapper on my sandwich and a smirk comes over my face as I visualize hitting the Call button over my head.
Manly Lesbian Flight Attendant: Can I help you?
Me: I have a complaint.
Manly Lesbian Flight Attendant: What seems to be the issue?
Me: Well, you promised us Philly Cheese Steaks and as you can see here by the wrapper, this clearly says, "Pierre Creations Beef and Swiss Club." I have been to Philadelphia. I have had a real Philly Cheese Steak. This is nothing but blatant misrepresentation on your part. Take this horse shit back and bring me something from the first class kitchen, Ellen.
Larry sees the smirk on my face. I tell him it's nothing. When I try to steal the pack of M&Ms off his tray table, he attacks me with his plastic fork, scratching my forearm. It's like sitting next to a feral cat.
I decide to read the book I brought with me. Three years ago, I stole a well-worn copy of The Alchemist from an internet cafe down in Puerto Vallarta. I never finished it, so I figured that I'd finally read it and leave it down there.
After two pages, I'd nodded off, only to be blasted out of my light sleep my a flight attendant's announcement about turbulence.
I pull out my travel journal and make an entry:
PRISONER'S LOG 11-29-08
Larry has become increasingly violent. He has attacked me with a plastic fork, and thrown my pen and notebook on the floor. I was able to get my notebook back, but not my better pen. This hostility is all due to my spilling an ice-cube on his precious leg - by mistake.
Larry sees my entry, takes the journal, and writes:
PET OWNER'S NOTE:
Chris is slipping into a state of total delusions, paranoia and flatulence. He is regressing to the child-like state of a pre-
I take the book back and make another entry:
I am beginning to believe that Larry will make an attempt on my life during the course of this trip. I will need to sleep with one eye open.
I have never seen so many people milling about on such a short flight. They act as though we are flying to Australia.
The woman behind Larry is a dead ringer for Victoria Jackson of Saturday Night Life fame. Right down to the squeaky, whiny voice that just asked if we were there yet.
I make another journal entry:
Larry is complaining again. Mexico is just too far away for him. Fucking crybaby.
Of course, I make sure he sees this as I write it, so he knows I'm kidding and doesn't abandon me at the airport.
To be Continued.