There aren't enough drugs to make me feel better.
Back from the famed hearts weekend. The flight back was the most awful, long flight ever. ATA. Left an hour and a half late, of course. I wanted to sleep on the plane and I wanted to take some shots of New York from the air. So, at the gate, I asked to have my aisle seat switched to a window seat. 8C to 11A. When I got on the plane, both seats were taken. I wound up in a non-reclining, ultra-narrow seat, jammed next to a sales rep from upstate Illinois. Our seats were two feet from the wall.
When we stopped in Chicago, a rather tall man got the seat next to me. He had foolishly asked for extra leg room. We almost watched "Meet the Parents," but the sound was screwed up. The flight attendants stared at the video machine. Tall man and I offered our expert help, but neither tall man nor I could fix it. We failed.
Tall man traded seats with a large 25-year-old woman who was on her way home from a funeral. Her aunt had died of cancer, as had her mother and sister. But she had decided never to think about bad things. And after all, there didn't seem to be much point in trying to figure out why God did these things. He just did them and we moved on, thinking happy thoughts. Okay?
So, instead of a movie, I got Susie. She'd had one of the ATA special cocktails and all man had given her another half. She was looped. She told me several cute country-flavored jokes. She told me about her dream man, Sean Connery ("I'd marry him"). And her other dream men: a list of baseball players, hockey players, and actors. She'd marry all of them. She looked back at tall man and when I caught her eye, she said, "I'm not going to tell you the fifty things that just went through my head."
So, of course, I probed the dark regions. Of her mind, you perverts. The boyfriend she left behind in Chicago after he beat her at pool. She'd met him on an airplane. His best friend smoked and drank and he got to live. Was that fair? Not that she wanted him dead, she assured me. Not really dead. She moved on to the baseball player she'd met on an airplane. The new boyfriend she'd met on an airplane. The banker she'd met on an airplane. The real estate agent she'd met on an airplane.
At one point she looked down at her watch and said, "Oh look. We've been talking for an hour and a half." And we had two more hours. On an airplane.
I listened. I tried to listen. But the man she wanted most was Nicholas Cage and I couldn't listen. She talked about the movie stars she'd seen at the Academy Awards. Drew is a bitch, Cameron is an ugly stick figure, Tom is gay, Mel is short. Julia is a stick. Ashley is beautiful. Salma is beautiful, if you like that type. She didn't. I think I'm a gay magnet, she whispered. She looked back at tall man. "Obvious."
She asked if I had a family. "Family..." I repeated like a foreigner.
"Family. Wife, kids?"
I told her I had an eighteen-year-old daughter. And told her my age when she asked. And she correctly calculated that I could have had her as a daughter, too, when I was twenty three. Could this get more fun?
Two more hours did indeed pass. Then, she chugged a quick couple of pints of milk and went to sleep. Sour milk air blowing out of her nostrils at me.
Did I miss something? Would a more manly man have made a move? Moo-ove.
The plane, by the way, was filled with beautiful women. Every woman not sitting next to me seemed gorgeous. One of the stewardesses, in particular, was especially attractive. A very Chicago face. Curly brown hair, angular features. Joan Cusak meets... the parents. I don't know. I just fell asleep at the computer.
Tomorrow is another...