Well. Well, well, well. I am sitting in the airport right now on hour two of The Great Delay. I have read USA Today from front to back. I have leisurely eaten a cup of chocolate frozen yogurt. I have people-watched, text-messaged, phone-called ... and now I'm going out of my freaking mind.
Why? I'll tell you why. First, you should know that flight delays rarely bother me. It's not like you can control them, and you have all the magazines and overpriced food you could ever want at your fingertips, so the way I figure it is, I get a guilt-free hour of sitting and reading and eating stuff like frozen yogurt. Sounds good to me. So the delay, in itself, doesn't bother me at all.
What bothers me are the two freaking obnoxious kids in front of me. They're probably five or six, and it's like WWfreakingE right now. Total Wrestlemania. They're rolling around on the ground, shrieking, throwing punches, taking running head starts and tackling each other from behind ... and the worst part is their dad thinks it is the CUTEST THING HE HAS EVER SEEN. He's standing there, half-giggling, with this "Aw, shucks, you crazy kids" look on his face. It's the most annoying thing ever. I am about 2.2 seconds from pummeling HIM and seeing how cute HE thinks it is.
Oh, gee. One kid got hurt and now he's bawling. BIG FREAKING SHOCKER.
OK. Update. We've already been delayed an hour and a half, and now they just got on the loudspeaker and told us we'll be delayed ANOTHER hour and a half. Get comfy, kids, we're gonna be here awhile.
All right. This guy just got up and left and I hustled over to his seat so I could have an outlet for my computer. There's a guy behind me, a very docile-looking gray-haired man with a mustache, who is reading ... wait for it ... In Touch. HA! He looks super enthralled, too. I love it. Who else is sitting by me ... lots of people on laptops. Let's see what they're doing, shall we? OK, this one dude in a suit's looking at a spreadsheet. BORING. Someone else is on MySpace. Eh. The kid next to me ...
HOLY SHIT. Holy, holy, holy shit. Do you want to know what he's looking at? What he's looking at in a very crowded airport, with a very nosy girl with a blog sitting one seat away? VIBRATORS, that's what. Glow-in-the-dark ones, neon pink ones, ones with 16 different heads and swivel things coming off the top. Vibrators, EVERYWHERE. I swear to you, I am not making this up. It's not a website--they're, like, individual pictures that he's pulling up one by one.
Wow. WOW. I cannot stop staring. Meanwhile, he's so entranced I don't even think he realizes I'm staring.
OK. I think he finally noticed, because he just switched over to some very generic-looking Word document. Now he's getting up ... he's coming up behind me ... I don't want to hide the window because I don't want to look obvious, but I also don't want him to see I'm writing about him ... shit, shit, SHIT! OK, he was plugging in his phone. Phew.
The Wrestlemania kids just got on a flight to Cleveland. THANK you. And Cleveland? I'm sorry. So very sorry.
I hear a man talking off to the side. "I say, if you can pass an air marshal test, carry all the guns you want on the plane. The more the merrier, that's what I say. Good guys versus bad guys. Might as well put 15 or 20 holes in the bad guys instead of one or two."
He has a very large black bag. I'm just saying.
Yay! We get to board! Four hours after arrival!
* * * * * * * * * *
So I get on the plane. Everyone's holding up pretty well under the circumstances, which is to say no one has started pulling hair or scratching each other over aisle seats yet. A tall guy in a Phish t-shirt and a pinstriped blazer sits in my row. Another guy who looks like Justin Long from the Mac/PC commercials sits directly in front of me.
"Hi," says aisle guy in my row. "I'm Chad."
"Hi," says the guy in front of me. "I'm Jason."
"Hi," I reply. "I'm Swishy."
We shake hands. We are now total BFFs for the rest of the flight.
Chad: "I think we all need alcohol NOW." He flags down a flight attendant. "OK, my friends and I need a drink."
Flight attendant: "I'm sorry, we only have a liquor license for the air, so you'll have to wait until we take off."
Chad (to us): "Don't worry, I'll take care of this."
He gets up and walks over to another flight attendant. We watch as he gestures, cajoles, pleads, and then finally walks back to his seat with a dejected look on his face.
Me: "Don't even come back here right now. I don't let losers sit in my row."
Chad: "You know, my dad was a pilot for American Airlines for 31 years and HE let people drink on his flights. It's called keeping your revenue passengers happy." He pauses. "Oh, well. How about Xanax? Does anyone have any Xanax?"
Just then, we hear an announcement from the flight attendant up front. There is some sort of ground restriction something or other. Translation: We will be sitting on the plane for an additional hour and seven minutes before we take off. The seven minutes, that's my favorite part. That's huge.
Flight attendant: "Don't worry, everyone, we'll start bringing around waters right away!"
Chad: "Water? WATER?" We get our water. "Is there any vodka in this? Tell me there's vodka in this."
Flight attendant: "There's vodka in this?"
Chad: "That's not funny."
Chad and Jason and I talk about our jobs and where we live and Barry Bonds homering and a whole array of topics. I feel a poke through the seats. I turn, and it's the old woman behind me. "You three aren't together?" she asks. I shake my head. "I thought you all knew each other already!" she says. This, somehow, solidifies our BFFness to everyone on the plane.
Jason has cards, so we hatch a plan to play Texas Hold 'Em once we take off. Steve, a guy in the row across from us, is gonna play too. One of the flight attendants overhears our plan and, because she is simply the most awesome person ever, comes over with a massive plastic bag full of peanuts, pretzels and Ritz crackers. "To use as poker chips," she says.
Is that not THE coolest thing you have ever heard?
We finally take off. The minute the wheels leave the runway, Jason and Chad have their drink orders in. (Me: Dr. Pepper. Because I am boring.) The flight attendant comes back with bottles and glasses. I feel a poke behind me again. It's the old lady. "Everyone on this plane is going to be LOADED by the time we land!" she hisses, which somehow is the funniest thing I have ever heard.
Jason, who also tipped back several Jack and Cokes during the delay, passes out in about two seconds. That leaves me and Chad to chit-chat, which we do, for the duration of the flight. (It actually was pretty funny, but I can't remember it all right now. Plus we talked a lot about politics, because he's a political consultant and I'm, believe it or not, strangely captivated by the presidential primaries. So I won't go into it other than to say it was a lovely conversation, the first time I've ever talked to someone on a plane and not minded, plus he let me play with his iPhone, which was pretty fun. And no, that is not a double entendre. It was NOT that kind of flight!)
We begin our descent (I know! We didn't even use our poker chips! But we did eat some of them!), and everyone talks about how nice the flight attendants are and how nice the airline is.
The old lady: "They even give you free drinks at Christmas!"
Chad: "That's not because they're nice. That's because they love Jesus."
Aaaaaaand ... that concludes our flight.
OK, after all that, get this: It took me TWO HOURS to get my bag! I'm not going to talk about that, though, because it involves a lot of swear words and empty threats and my dead cell phone. I'd much rather focus on the positive. Like the poker chips in my bag.