Monday, January 09, 2006

Bird Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Let me start off by saying -- Glad to be back.

So my vacation in Budapest was delightful, although I was alone in the City on Saturday, and felt really trapped. I just wanted to get the fuck out of there already. Little did I know that my flight home would basically be ripped from the pages of "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" by Stephen King.

I bought a direct flight from Budapest to New York, on Budapest's premiere (and only) airline, Malev. The flight over wasn't too bad -- I had the emergency exit row, which I like to call "first class for poor people", sat next to a Serbian dude in Armani shades, and managed to sleep for about 3 hours, a record. I should also add that the movie shown on the flight to Europe was Jerry Maguire, which made me wonder if I was actually time travelling back to 1996, a younger and innocent time, when a human suit of babyfat was still acceptable.

Anyway, little did I know what God had in store for me.

So there I am, at "Ferihegy", the Hungarian airport, a good 3 hours early. Sadly, the exit rows were all full, but I managed to get an aisle seat all the way in the back. So I'm walking down the aisle, North Face backpack overflowing with Hungarian granola and liquors, when I spot an old man getting into a row also towards the back. Actually, I still can't quite remember which sense noticed him first -- my eyes, or my nose. Let it be known that most Hungarian people smell OK. But usually when an Eastern European talks about Secret, it's the time their Dad stabbed a Communist in the face, or Right Guard, which refers to the man who raped and pillaged their home in Slovakia... Lady Speedstick is actually an old Hungarian prostitute who spread syphillus in the late 19th Century. Needless to spray, deodorant just doesn't hold the same cache overseas that it does here.

My seatmate was actually a drunk, old man from Moscow with a penchant for stinkery and dirt caked under his fingernails. He wore a vest with many a pocket, including one large inside pouch that contained a sizeable bottle of Beefeaters Gin. I immediately fought perspire with fire, and doused my torzo with a solid 15 ounces of Dolce and Gabbana, my "signature scent." I'm pretty sure this man had never smelled perfume before in his life, and the intoxication was almost enough to knock him unconscious.

My seatmate -- not unlike a young Paul Newman.

I watched as other people streamed down the aisles, and really, could not get over the kinds of folks who were coming to America. I'd say over half of the people on my flight were from the backwoods of Hungary and Romania, old women with faces ripped from the pages of National Geographic, hair wrapped in babushkas, wraps with intricate embroidery that only people from the "old world" would have patience for. Seriously, did they open a runway up at Ellis Island? Because, secretly, I've always kind of wanted to be de-liced, although in my fantasy it would happen after a nice, warm bubblebath.

They are just gonna love Nobu.

Anyway, I tell you of my flight not only to nauseate you and prove that I am, indeed, a pretty bad person, but also to raise my concerns about the ever spreading "Bird Flu." After watching many hours of Euronews in our hotel room (which was only a tad less sordid than our other option, "Hustler TV"), my brain was a breeding ground for psychotic, unfounded thinking. These people on the plane looked scarily similar to those poor folks in Turkey who were dealing with the virus... and while I really had never thrown around the idea that I myself might catch bird flu, after seeing this picture on Drudge, my idea went from a crazy notion to an even more paranoid reality:

Almost, but not nearly as scary, as this picture...

Did someone say Turd Flu? No? No one did? Probably a good idea.

Also, how come nobody seems to be bringing up the obvious... that BIRD FLU is being found in TURKEY? Maybe it's just me, what with my braids and old brown car and all, but doesn't this seem a little... ironic? The CHICKENS... are attacking TURKEY. My FINGERS can't stop typing in CAPS because of how deliriously funny I find this to be.

First Thanksgiving, now these motherfucks.

Euronews had mentioned some of the reasons why these poor Turks were catching the flu. One was that the children were playing with severed chicken heads, which had me reeling with memories of sunny days in Miami Beach, when my dad would come home from work with a brown bag brimming with chicken heads and we would just play and laugh and play.

Another reason was that apparently, it is so cold in Turkey (we're talking negative 50 F, Cool-Runnings/Frozen-Dreadlocks cold), that people who can't afford proper heating choose instead to sleep in their beds with chickens under the covers.

Luckily, I was not alone in the room when I heard this, for I did not believe my own ears. Sleeping in bed with a chicken? Or "ens"? Is this even humanly possible? Aren't chickens pretty feisty when they're not laying tween a Burger King sesame bun? Forget bird flu. It seems to me a miracle more Turks aren't being pecked to death.

Seeing this on the news led my friend Annie and I to discuss what animals we would rather share a bed with. We decided that a sedated bear would be the best thing to spoon with on a cold winter's night. Something about being engulfed by a big furry beast seems appealing. On second though, maybe a sedated Alec Baldwin would be the best animal to cozy up with on a cold, Turkish night. Though I'm pretty sure Baldwin Flu would lead to hundreds of sterile young women. But you didn't hear that from me.

Just think of that insulating power.

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