Part II - The Land of Rape and Honey
I don't know why I titled it that... I just really like that album and was listening to it recently. Scroll down for Part I.
So I zip down to the airport. I stand in line for what seems like weeks to go through security. My hangover has kicked itself into a higher gear. I'm crying on the inside, because
a) I'm missing the Pats game that night
b) I'm missing the Sox game that night (IDON'TWANTTOTALKABOUTIT!)
c) Remember, the hangover.
But I make it through security and.... waitaminnit.
Wait just one goddamn motherfucking minute. Some of you may remember my retardo-trip through Lagaurdia with my sister a few years ago. Remember? When I got searched like 87 times? Well, this time went off without a hitch. Which was great. Except for the fact that I was carrying the following things in my carry-on luggage:
1. A lighter (no flammables!)
2. A bottle of iced tea (no gels or liquids!)
3. A book of matches (no flammables!)
4. Hair gel (no gels or liquids!)
5. A pocket knife (no knives!)
Great. I feel really fucking safe now. Just super.
ANYWAY. Blah blah blah waiting waiting waiting. Finally, an hour after the flight was supposed to take off, we board the sonofabitch. And I... all 6'2", 200 lbs of awkward, gangly, hungover TK... am in the middle seat in a three person row.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to TK's private hell # 436.
Sold out flight. No other seats. I walk past an exit row with two people who couldn't possibly be over 5'8". Let me tell you something, folks. If you are under six feet tall and you request to sit in the exit row?
Go fuck yourself. I hope you catch syphilis and die. I hope you get hit by lightning while falling down a well filled with venomous snakes. You are, to borrow from Shepherd Book, going to a special hell, reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theater.
So. I elbow and knee my way into the middle seat and prepare for 5 1/2 hours of torture. My only saving grace is that there is no one in front of me, so the seat will stay upright. And the people next me are small, so I can monopolize the elbow and leg room. Which I did. But sweet merciful fucking Buddha, was it torture.
But I get into LAX without further incident, other than an aching back and ruined knees. I check into the hotel at around 12:30, check SportsCenter briefly, and fall asleep like I fell into a hole.
I begin our conference. It alternates between being very interesting, and incredibly boring. No middle ground. I'm dead tired, and in the middle of it, I go back to the room and take a nap. That night, I meet a friend who is also in LA for business and have a great dinner. I conclude that yes, LA is still a shitty town. Particularly if you don't have a car. And the cabs are basically legalized extortion.
I saw Floyd Mayweather. Other than that, nothing even remotely interesting happened.
I skip the entire morning session of our conference to sit in bed and watch Superman Returns. Mainly because I am a lazy bastard, but also because they weren't covering anything useful in that session. I then pack my shit, head downstairs and wait for the shuttle bus. Everything goes smoothly. I get to the airport, and thank the supreme baby Allah, this flight is NOT sold out. I get an aisle seat. In an exit row. I dance a little jig. The guy at the counter looks at me funny. I dance a little jig some more, then carry on before I get my dancin' ass arrested.
I go through security. I'd tossed my lighter and matches earlier, not wanting to press my luck. My knife and hair gel makes it through. Despite still feeling a little uneasy about our lax national airline security, everything is going smoothly.
I get to the waiting area. I read my book. I eat a sandwich. I listen to my Ipod. Everything is going smoothly.
The plane is slightly delayed. The guy on the loudspeaker at least has a decent sense of humor about it. Everything is going smoothly.
We board the plane. I have the entire row to myself! I dance a little jig again, this time while sitting in my luxuriously spacious seat. Everything is going super smoothly. The plane takes off. I'm happy. I'm on my way home. They serve drinks, and I have a celebratory vodka tonic. Everything is going smoothly. I start to get hungry. Of course, in the modern air travel age, they no longer serve meals, instead making you PAY for them. I'm temporarily pissed, but so pleased with my good fortune so far, I splurge and buy an eight dollar salad.
I open the salad and promptly spill it on myself.
"Hmmm..." I think to myself. Oh well. I've made it for three days without spilling anything on myself, which is a personal best. That's not a sign of anything, right?
My salad is surprisingly tasty. It's some sort of Asian chicken salad thingy, with a thick brown sweet and sour dressing. The dressing comes in a little plastic cup, with a peel-back lid. I'm trying to apply said dressing. The lid is giving me trouble. I get it partially peeled back, and figure I can just aim the small hole I've opened, squeeze the cup, and squirt the dressing onto my salad.
Can you see where this is going? Well... you're wrong. It's so much worse than that.
I'm still having trouble. My monkey hands cannot cope with this little dressing cup. I squeeze the cup a little harder. And then... well, folks, then the wheels come off this bitch.
I squeeze too hard. The lid pops straight up into the air. The thick, brown dressing comes firing out of the cup, shoots diagonally across the aisle, and hits a random stranger right in the neck.
God, I'd love to say I'm making this up.
He now has a splat of dressing on his neck, and it is dribbling down his collar. He's freaking out, because he has no idea what happened. He jumps out of his seat, slapping at his neck, and spinning around, trying to figure out what the hell just happened. He is also inadvertently smearing dressing all over his shirt. I want to die. I want to pop the emergency exit and just leap out of the plane. He catches me, frozen in time, the offending little cup still crushed between my stupid monkey fingers. I bolt up from my seat, but I still have my belt on. I spill more of my salad onto the floor. I gently place the salad on the seat next to me, unbuckle my seat belt, bolt up again, hit my head on the overhead bin, and begin apologizing profusely (and slightly dizzily). We have now officially Drawn Attention To Ourselves. I am dying a little bit with each passing second. I give him my napkin. I think about taking my shirt off to help with the cleanup, then decide it would make a bad thing worse. The flight attendants come and provide him with extra napkins. I apologize some more. He says "it's fine. It's fine. IT'S FINE!!!"
I sit down again, and quietly, with flushed face and bowed head and salad-y shirt, finish eating. The rest of the trip is an exercise in awkward, shameful dread.
We land without incident. I hurry off the plane without making eye contact with anyone. I rush outside, run to my car and realize... I left my goddamn glasses on the plane. As of 90 minutes ago, they still can't find them.
So yes. The newly christened American Airlines Salad Dressing Incident of 2007 shall now take its rightful place next to the Batteries and Water-Spitting Debacle of 2001, and the Great Safari Ketchup Fiasco of 2006.
It's good to be home.