(Photo courtesy of TheCrazyTourist.com) 2016 has been crazy for me already, and I have several editorials to write, but this one I’m writing on the plane because this morning event’s are just too damn good not to share while fresh. Buckle up kiddos, this one is good. I’m five LIVE Events in on a run of 8 in a row. You can imagine that my mood is a little less that perky with regards to traveling and such since there hasn’t been a single day I haven’t worked in the past 6 weeks. I bring this up to set the stage for my mood during what will certainly go down as one of the funniest and weirdest things I’ve had happen on a plane. And that’s saying a lot for me, considering the amount I travel and the strange things that have happened before.
Things like kicking the rods out of one engine on my plane during takeoff and having the other flame out before thankfully restarting, arguing with other passengers over their inability to shove their crap under their seats, stupid people who can’t board or deplane, flight attendants who can’t find their ass with both hands, etc have become the norm. But this one boys and girls takes the cake for stupid. And unfortunately it’s a sign of the times.
My American Airlines flight out of Ontario California, the greatest airport ever FYI, was schedule for 7am. Since I live 15 minutes from the airport, I woke Daphne up at 5:40 and told her I was loading the truck. I patted the pooches on the head, told them I’d see them in a couple days, and not to eat anything in my office, before loading up my two Pelican cases, a roller bag, and my backpack. 8 minutes later the familiar rattle of 8 worn out LS pistons in the Suburban was the only sound as we pulled out the driveway. We actually hit more lights than normal, so by the time we got to the curb and unloaded it was 6:10. I kissed Daphne goodbye, she said to avoid weird people in the airport (She’s nervous because of recent terrorist attacks.), and off I went to the Priority line where my bags were checked after having to pull an extension cord our of one case due to weight. I shoved it into my now 50lb roller bag and headed to the TSA PreCheck line. At 6:20 I was through security and walking to Carl’s Jr for a snack and Diet Coke. Carl’s is at one of the terminal from my flight, but I’ve got this.
As they call First Class, I walk up to the gate. I hadn’t requested an upgrade, as I had a good bulkhead seat anyway, and two minutes later I’m showing my boarding pass and climbing on the plane. It’s empty. I comment to the flight attendant that I didn’t realize how light this flight was going to be and that this was great! She agreed, and made the comment that this was unusual for this particular Thursday flight to DFW. I agreed. I’ve been on this flight dozens and dozens of times and have never seen it this light. And then she jinxed it….
“Hopefully that doesn’t mean we’ve got a flight full of crazies…” says the veteran flight attendant.
No you didn’t. What the F^$K woman! Don’t ever say that kind of stuff!
The time is now 6:35. There are 15 minutes of normalcy left on this flight, and then it’s all over. If I had known, I would have cherished it a little more. Crap.
With just 10 minutes until departure time, I’m starting to feel pretty good that I am going to have an entire bulkhead row to myself. It was even confirmed by one flight attendant who light heartedly said “I think you get the whole row to yourself this morning!” Woot woot! Then this little kid gets on the plane. He looks back at his dad and asks if these are their seats. My heart sank.
And then it was fine again as Dad said that they were in fact farther back.
I’m good! Or so I thought.
Everyone seems to be on the plane, I’ve got my computer out and ready to get some work done, my headphones are sitting on the seat, and I’m trying to decide what to listen to. I should have just put them on and hit play and then figured it out. But apparently I’m an idiot. We should be leaving the gate in 3 minutes.
At this point a young woman gets on the plane with an infant on her arm and my faith in the intellect of humanity changes forever. But I digress.
The young woman is in her mid 20’s, taller than average, blonde, clean but slightly unkempt, carrying a baby I would have guessed to be around 9 months old, and dragging the world’s largest diaper bag and a suitcase God himself couldn’t fit into an overhead compartment. She’s huffing and puffing like I would be after running up 5 flights of stairs while eating a pork chop, and she’s talking at a speed that roughly equates to 7500 rpm. She’s not talking to the baby, she’s not talking to a flight attendant, she’s just talking. To the plane. Whomever will listen is getting her story.
In moments like this there are a couple of things to remember. If you want to hear the story, but not be engaged in it later, listen and make no gestures or overt signs of paying attention. If you want to actually be engaged in conversation, nod, comment, and offer to help. You are guaranteed to be engaged in this person’s story/life/adventure until you can physically remove yourself from their surroundings. The dude sitting on the isle one row behind me did that. He was hooked like a Tuna. Poor bastard.
With a very lightly loaded plane, and a closing main cabin door, the flight attendants were more than thrilled to help get this woman seated so they could start their easy trip to Dallas. The proceed to help her unpack the world’s largest diaper bag so that she can get other bags out of it with things the baby needs during the flight and put the rest overhead. When it becomes apparent that the 70lb bag from hell isn’t going to go up there as well, but that checking it at this last minute will delay the flight, one flight attendant graciously offers to slide it into the front closet area because there is room if the flight attendants move their bags to an overhead.
Mint! Way to go sister, lets get this bitch off the ground!
Meanwhile the girl still isn’t in her seat, which is directly behind me (lucky me!) and she’s reeling this poor bastard in one word at a time in order to get him all engaged in the horrors that are her traveling life this fine day. She’s rambling on about how her flight was cancelled and how she’s not sure how she’s going to make it home, and how everything is crazy and she didn’t even get to call her husband. As she’s trying to get herself ready to scoot into the row she spouts off about how much time this has wasted, how she just can’t catch her breath, and that the baby is stressing out.
Meanwhile, the baby is drooling happily with not an ounce of stress. He’s like a buddhist monk compared to his mother, and at one point I swear I could see the words “Calm down bitch, we’re on the plane!” swirling around in that head of his.
It’s at this point that I make my mistake. It really could have been fatal if not for my seating location. I still can’t believe I did it. It must have been the baby that made me do it. I had the best of intentions. I just wanted to ease her stress and calm her down, and honestly get her to shut up so I didn’t have to listen to her. It was the beginning of the end.
“Well it sounds like you’ve had an adventure today.” I said. “I bet you are thinking you should have driven to Texas instead of flying!”
The response was deafening. It was as if someone threw a flash bang grenade into the cabin. People more than 5 rows away found themselves wondering why the five rows around this woman looked so strange. So confused. So perplexed and scared. If they had been close enough, or interested enough, to hear what the rest of us heard they too would have felt as we did. Because when this woman made her response it was as if time stopped. A woman across the isle from me, who I later found out was an English Teacher, looked as if being stabbed might not have been better than hearing this.
Immediately after the response I found myself looking around as if searching for help. Then I found myself glancing quickly out the window hoping to see an engine on fire and losing parts. I’ve been through that one, and it turned out fine. Please let that happen again. Cause this is much worse.
With a hint of the know it all attitude you get from a teenage girl, the disgust that same girl directs at her younger brother, and just a touch of confusion, this girls says to me…
“You can’t drive to Texas from here!” and then bobs her head once and slides into the row where she is sitting as if she had just stated the most obvious truth in history.
Within seconds, time, which has stopped upon her finishing this statement catches back up. And the aforementioned reactions occur. Just as quickly, she proceeds to clarify some of her comments and fill in the poor bastard on the aisle on the rest of her adventures and life. I’m stunned. I can’t help but listen. I learn that she’s the wife of an Enlisted Soldier and that he’s in Texas because his transfer to California didn’t go through when it was supposed to after she had already headed to California to get them setup. And that she was originally from Texas.
YES ORIGINALLY FROM THE ISLAND OF TEXAS THAT YOU CAN’T DRIVE TO! WTF!!!!!
I listen to 20 minutes of “Is that Daddy?” while listening to some guy, who is clearly Daddy based on what he is saying in the video she’s playing on her phone, while trying not to cry at the realization that this chick is too dumb to exist.
At this point I see my headphones, like a beacon calling me to safety, and I put them on while choosing Megadeth and turning it up. The sound of Dave Mustaine’s voice literally scrubbing at my brain cells trying to either wash away the hurt or make sense of it.
Then I started writing this.
You can’t make this crap up. And it truly scares the crap out of me. In my own house, there have been literally dozens of times in the past year where the response from my kids when asked how they knew that XYZ had happened or was the truth was answered with “it’s online” or “I read it on Twitter”. My daughter Peyton swore that a guy had won the PowerBall here in California because he posted it within 5 minutes of the drawing. The next day it was found to be a hoax. She didn’t know this until almost a week later when I mentioned it in passing and she argued with me before listening to the story of it being a hoax. She hadn’t heard that part on Twitter.
You can’t drive to Texas? Literally? Figuratively? Does it matter? NO IT DOES NOT! If we actually have people that think you can’t physically drive to Texas, that is a problem. If we have people that know you can physically drive there, but think that it isn’t feasible or realistic, we have an even bigger problem.
I’m not going to get up on my soapbox and preach to you about this, because you are BangShifters and you are smart. But I am going to tell you, no order you, to do one thing for me. Take someone on a road trip this summer. Or spring break. Or a long weekend. Drive somewhere.
It’s a great time to be quiet. It’s a great time to talk. It’s a great time to see things. And don’t use the cell phone for entertainment. Don’t play movies. Instead play games. See the world.