Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Creepy Old Man on the Plane

Poor Delta Song. By far my favorite airline in America, business was anything but booming, and beginning on May 1, their entire fleet will merge with the regular, boring old Delta Airline, and Delta's Song will have been sung.

Song was the best, my airline of choice. I'd say even over JetBlue, the overly hyped "budget" airline whose airfares are actual bankbreakers. Song was actually inexpensive and offered all the same amenities (minus the blue chips.)

But, because I'm me, and because apparently the life I lead is 75 percent cursed, 15 percent blessed, and 10 percent other, of course I ended up sitting next to my worst nightmare. (Those precise mathematical tallies are compared to other privileged Americans, and not, for example, an Ethiopian.)

I'll admit, I'm less cursed then this guy. Also less aerodynamic.

Take my flight back to New York Monday night, for example. Everything was going smoothly -- in fact, there was a real life celebrity on my plane! Did I say "real life" -- my B! I meant "make believe" celebrity, in the sense that it was professional wrestler "Ultimate Warrior." I, of course, had no fucking clue who the guy was -- alls I knows is that about 4 people ahead of me in the security line stood a guy with skin made of shoe leather, hair plucked from the rim of a donkey's anus, with broad shoulders and a tiny, tiny ass wearing designer jeans. This entire package (which was a pleasure to stare at) rested in a pair of surprisingly tiny cowboy boots. He looked like an ex-rock star. Sure enough, when he reached the screeners, they were like "Hey!!! It's you!" and there was a big commotion.

(Cut to the x-ray screen showing grenades, AK-47s, and bushels of tweezers all rolling by during the commo.)

"I don't want to have to say it again! Are you deaf, little lady?! Bring me a minature bottle of Dasani water and some more butter pretzels, scumguzzler!" Only on a Godless earth would this man fly coach.

I couldn't help myself. "You gotta tell me, who was that?!" One kinda cute bald security guy was like "You don't know who that was? It's the 'Ultimate Warrior' from the WWE!" Jokingly, I remarked "Well, I could tell he was famous, but at first I thought it was George Clooney. I thought - 'George Clooney really IS handsome!'" The guy says "What? You thought it was George Clooney? You thought that guy was hot?" I told him I was joking, realized that the people screening our luggages have been completely deprogrammed for sarcasm (see, also, "Yeah, like I got a bomb in my bag!", and then, bullets spraying through the lifeless body of said jokester.) I laughed and said "Yeah, he was hotttt!" (emphasis on additional t's), grabbed my hobo's bindle, and ran off.

I'm a light packer.

So why was my flight so awful? Well I could blame it on a number of things. I was in the first row, meaning I couldn't do any people watching whatsoever. The weather at Laguardia was terrible. We were delayed 1.5 hours (of course, sitting on the plane), and had to land in Atlanta to refuel. So instead of landing at 11:00 pm, I landed at 2:30 in the morning. I can't really complain, though: Live satellite television enabled me to catch up on the latest season of "Little People, Big World", and some pretty controversial HGTV programming.

The most controversial? Frank's "Trading Spaces" theme, "Nazi War Crimes."

No, what really made my flight bad was my neighbor. Seat 1C, or "Paul" (I know his last name, but fear the reaper too much to print it.) Paul was in his 70's, with reddish, burnt skin that was glossy all over (I literally want to barf at the idea of a glossy old person, but there it is), in sour-smelling leather loafers and a golf sweater.

An artist's rendering of my seatmate.

He took his place next to me, and immediately began chatting.

It began innocently enough. "Where are you from, what do you do, blah blah blah." But then Paul started doing this weird thing that I just don't get... I think he was flirting with me? Or something? Being creepy-old-manny? I really do not know what was happening. He told me his address in New York, to which I said "Oh, I go there sometimes". He leaned in and whispered to me, in a voice I can only describe as John-Wayne-Gacey-like: "Maybe we'll cross each others paths like two ships in the night."

I let it go, thinking "OH, old people!" He made it clear to me that he was very, very wealthy by naming all his various homes. It was obnoxious, and I did not give a shit. Then he says to me "Where did you buy those pants?" At this point, I was borderline uncomfies, so I stated, curtly: "I don't know." (Saks Outlet, 2 years ago, Earl Denim.) "I like that material," he continues, "what material is that?" I look at him like he's lost his mind. "Corduroy" I squawked, sweat gathering at my brow, "You can get it anywhere!!"

Juuuuuust trying to get some sleep!! Nice relaxing sleep!!!

Things went on like this for an hour. Old Molester Jenkins would ask me something ("Do you play golf?"), then I would muster a short response ("No."), then he would hit me back with something borderline creepy in serial killer voice ("Golf's my thing. What's your thing?"), to which I would spit out a convo killer ("I don't have any 'things.'" Literally my response. Ha.)

At one point in the flight, on the runway in Atlanta, I had my eyes closed trying to rest. Paul pipes in: "How are you getting home in New York?" I open my eye a crack "Sorry, I'm trying to sleep." (rudely) "That's impossible, you can't sleep during takeoff." He continued, but I remained firmly eye-shut. This fucker also had his fucking light on the ENTIRE TRIP. I would have slapped his face if I didn't think the vazline smeared on it would've made my hand slip straight off.

Sigh -- Remember Mike Tyson's "Punch Out"? By far my third fave game after Tetris and Zelda. OMG -- Remember how Mike Tyson was a rapist?! Not funny. One a side note, I saw Robin Givens at a bar a few weeks ago, and she looked a-may-may. Remember "Head of the Class"? Billy Connelly?? I always liked it better than "Saved by the Bell." Sigh.

Luckily, he didn't undo my corduroy button-fly during the trip, as I had expected him to, but still every now and again, he would jab his arm into my side or touch my knee. IN. A. PROPES.

The good news is this bastard also played "Song In-Flight Trivia." (Which, having conquered once already, I felt beneath me.) When it asked him "What was the name of the 'Wookie' in Star Wars?" I see him choose his answer: "The March Hare." THE MARCH HARE?!?!?!? I hate it when stupid, stupid assholes are so very, very successful.

It takes so very little to kick-start my maternal instinct these days.

p.s. It's Chewbacca. And did you know that the MPAA was so uncomfortable with Chewbacca being naked in the movie that they lobbied to get him to wear a tiny pair of shorts? Ayayay! Talk about a bikini wax, seriously.

Aaaaand sceeeeeene!

Not entirely unrelated, the gentlemen on my left (yes, I was in the dreaded middle seat), who was very lovely and polite, was also, apparently, punched in the face as a fetus. When asked what the term for "short shorts" was in the 70's, he answered "Warm Pants." WARM PANTS. Instead of Hot Pants. WARM PANTS. THE MARCH HARE. And before you go blaming it on pressing the wrong answer accidentally, he seemed genuinely pissed when he got it wrong.

And finally: R.I.P. to one of my favorite old crooners, Gene Pitney, whose songs ached with lament. Download "Town Without Pity" to hear one of my favorites.

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