The Friendly Skies (Part Three)

The Friendly Skies Part One:

The Friendly Skies Part Two:

I woke up with the strong welcoming force of gravity surrounding me.  No bumping, no nudging, just the feeling of ground a few feet below us, the site of normal sized buildings out the window and the glorious tarmac.  Mutton took the return of gravity as his queue to stand up and rescue his precious jacket.  Mr. NBA quickly followed needing to stretch his long legs.  He walked a few rows forward, and turned around to see Mutton jacket in hand ready to display to the first individual who made eye contact.  Mr. NBA step forward, toe to toe with Mutton, turned his head downwards so Mutton could see how unentertained he was.  Sternly Mr. NBA began to speak, 

“You will sit down, and you will be quiet.  You personally have made this the worst flight of my life.  I’m 6 foot 6 inches tall, do you know how hard it is to sit in a cramped sit for 4 hours when you’re that tall.  I do, I just did it, all because I didn’t want to talk to you.  And this, this is the jacket, that you caused a fuss over?  My son just won his pee wee basketball championship.  I bought him the same jacket last week, it cost $30, and you had to prove your point over it.  You want your slice of the pie?  Learn to pack so you can carry on your bag, or stop whinning.  You’ve tormented me, and I’m sure a few more people on this plane over the last four hours.  You will not say another word until you are out of this airport.  No one here cares about your jacket, or your magic tricks, they’re all happy the flight landed safely, and they don’t have to deal with you anymore.  Repay there patiences with silence until you get home.”

Mr. NBA had said what we had all been thinking, the rest of the passengers applauded Mr. NBA, Mutton following orders sat down and shut up.

Mr. NBA… my hero.
Mutton, beyond words …AWKWARD!



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The Friendly Skies (Part Deux)

(continued from: The Friendly Skies

I was agitated.  I was nervous.  Mutton had ruin the preflight calm I so desperately needed.  I was rapidly chewing my magic gum at this point.  Everyone knows magic gum keeps the plane a float right? I wanted to add another piece, but I’d never done that before so I kept chewing the same piece, which was out of flavor before we reached the front the take off queue.  The plane stopped. Then we started barrelling down the runway, we were airborne.  I looked out the window, the houses were still normal size, I closed the shade, I closed my eyes and BAM!

Loud as day from underneath my seat.  The plane started to veer to the right in a not so nonchantal banking motion.  This is it, I had a good life, magic gum can’t save all lives, I can understand that, I can’t believe I’m going to die next to Mutton the Magician. After my heart rate caught up to my brain I realized we were still in the air.  Magic gum don’t fail me now. Maybe if I hold on tight enough to my arm rest I can hold the plane together.  Magic gum, check, Kung Fu grip, check. I heard out of Mutton’s mouth, his bruised ego needing to lash out, “We have a nervous flyer here!  Afraid the plane will fall?” I wanted to slap him.  I wanted to say something to him, but violence and speaking both required not chewing.  Not chewing meant the plane would fall from the sky, and I really really didn’t want that to happen.  I ignored Mutton’s comments.

Once airborne, I patiently waited for the fasten seatbelt sign to go dim. The clear cut sign my magic gum had worked and it would be smooth sailing the rest of the way home.  The seatbelt sign never dimmed. The turbulance was by far the worst of any flight in my lifetime.  I tried to read, I tried to go to sleep, I tried to watch the tv, every time there was a bump or nudge of the plane and I returned my focus to chewing the now tasteless magic gum. What I really needed was a drink, but I was sitting next to Mutton and the flight attendants clearly were not serving him or our row.

BAM! A second loud slam from the depths below and I thought I was headed for LOST. I decided, for the second time, if we were going down I was okay with it, but now if I was going down, I need to have some alcohol in my system.  I hit the call button and ask the attendant for a bloody mary.  Mutton tried to order.  Mutton was systematically ignored.  The attendant quickly returned with two blood marys and told me they were on the house.

Relieved I immediately took a sip from the first drink, only to hear Mutton ask, “Well are you going to give me my drink?” It took all 4% of the composure I still had left in my system not to gauge his eyes out with my spork.  I turned and looked at him and suggested, not so nicely, that he try ordering for himself.  “You heard me order, she accidently gave you my drink.”  Mutton gestured as though I should know my place and hand over my second full drink.  I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t roll my eyes.  I finished my first drink and handed the empty plastic cup over the expectant Mutton.  What I forgot and Mutton didn’t realize was that my magic gum was safely placed on the side of my cup, exactly where Mutton grab the glass.  Mutton looked ready to exploded, but I had matched crazy with crazy and Mutton knew it was time to leave me alone.  I knocked back my second drink in record time, opened a new piece of magic gum and was out like a light for the rest of the flight.

Don’t mess with a nervous flyer.


Continued: The Friendly Skies (Part Three)

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The Friendly Skies

I’m a nervous flyer.  I don’t pretend it’s a rational fear.  I know airplanes are safer than cars. I know LOST can’t really happen.  I know that me chewing gum during take off has nothing to do with the flight’s success.  I just don’t like being suspended in mid air for hours at a time.  Call me old fashion, but I like being firmly planted on the ground.

Flying, however, is a necessary evil these days.  Whether it is for business or pleasure I typically wind up on a plane two to three times a year.  I have my pre-trip ritual: check in and print my boarding pass before heading to the airport, arrive early to avoid a sprint to the gate, once through security purchase magical gum (to prevent my ears from popping and the plane from dropping), and get some snacks and reading material for the trip.  Once my pre-trip ritual is complete, I make my way to the gate and patiently wait for the flight.  From here on out, if everything goes routinely, I’m typically pretty calm after take off, that said, I can also come dangerously close to a Ben Stiller Focker-esq meltdown if things don’t go my way.

On a recent trip home from vacation, I had smooth sailing through my pre-flight ritual and was all set for a calm ride home.  I boarded the plane and a burly mutton chopped man sitting on the aisle greeted me with a smile. I learned Mutton Chops was a magician and he had been in away for work. I didn’t learn his name.  It was manageable small talk, but I was relieved when the extra tall, probably retired NBA player, sat in between Mutton Chops and myself.  Mutton tried to talk to Mr. NBA, but it proved a futile effort, as Mr. NBA was clearly the strong silent type.  Peace and quiet – just what I like before take off.  I opened a piece of magic safe flight ensuring gum, closed my eyes, and prepared for take off.

My peace and quiet was quickly broken.  Mutton was arguing with the flight attendant who had rudely opened the overhead compartment to aid a fellow passenger in finding space for their carry on.  Mutton leaned out into the aisle, started pointing, and then stood up. Toe to toe the flight attendant was probably six inches shorter than Mutton, but wasn’t backing down. You could cut the tension with a plastic a plastic airline spork. Mutton’s voice escalated every time he found a new hook or perceived the slightest bit of encouragement.

Mutton’s very expensive jacket was in the bin above. The attendant would crush it with the other individual’s bag.  Mutton had paid $50 round trip to check his bag, and only carried on his jacket.  His jacket therefore deserved a first class seat back home.  To quote Mutton, “He just wanted his piece of the pie.”  Mutton was making a scene, just to make a scene.  No one was sympathizing with him, but he was speaking for the people.  All of whom just wanted him to sit down and be quiet.  A seasoned pro, the flight attendant put Mutton in his place and made sure no one’s jacket was crushed.

Mutton sat down and leaned in to our row looking for reinforcements.  He looked at Mr. NBA, “Am I right?” Getting no response from Mr. NBA, Mutton leaned forward and looked to me, “Am I right? Or am I right? I didn’t carry on anything else.”  My eyes involuntarily rolled and as if I wasn’t controlling my own words I looked Mutton in the eyes and exasperatedly said, “I really wish you would just be quiet.”  Mutton was pleased.  He had gotten a rise out of someone, and had a new victim.  I immediately wished I could pull the words back into my mouth.  Mutton stood up to retrieve his precious jacket.  The flight attendant rushed over and asked him to sit down.  “It will only take a second; I want to show my new friend over here how nice my jacket is.”  Mutton never got the chance.  He opened the now infamous overhead compartment, and began searching for the jacket.  Quick on her feet the flight attendant realized what had happened.  She opened a compartment one in front of Mutton’s and asked Mr. Mutton, “Sir, I believe you were mistaken.  Is this your jacket over here?”  Mutton nodded.  Tail between his legs Mutton sat down.


Continued:  The Friendly Skies (Part Deux)

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Is it Awkward?

Upon returning from your trip to the warehouse discount store, you fumble to carry in a 50+ package of extra cushion toilet paper.  Over the top of the package you eye the cutie from your building that you’ve been dying to talk too.  They smile and say, “I see you like to pamper your butt as well.” 


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Aren’t my mooooves DANGEROUS!?!

The setting is a nightclub, a trendy spot where everyone gets their dance on. Every club-goer is in a separate world on a floor filled with dance steps, moves and fist pumping.  It usually looks like this: I LIKE TO DANCE.

The time is around midnight when the club is reaching the peak of the night.   Kate, Tyler and I waited in line for 15 minutes with a cluster of night-club aficionados.  Not too bad.  We just wanted to get out for a night of fun after a long, long day of school and studying.  We deserved a night off to just drink, dance and be merry. We were enticed by an article in TIME-OUT MAGAZINE featuring a club named “SOUND,” a MUST for all clubbing fanatics.

We walked into the dark place, decorated with orange couches to the left in front of an orange, white and black tiled bar. The dance floor was huge, and dancers even graced the mini-stage front and center.  It felt like a modernized version of a club from Austin Powers.

“LET’S CHECK OUT THE FLOOR AND DANCE FOR A BIT,” Tyler tried to scream to Kate and me over the loud, heart shattering beats of the synthesized bass.

We swayed side to side, twirled around, and fought our way to the middle.  The middle area was crowded, people were sweaty, and the only dancing you could do was bouncing up and down.  It was completely uncomfortable for anyone with personal space issues, and the alarming smell of body odor turned Kate, Tyler and me around towards the trendy-lit bar across the room and away from the smelly group of people.

“I’ll take a Gin and Tonic,” Kate smiled as she placed her order.

“Make that two!” Tyler added while the bartender was making drinks.

“Hmmmmm…” I thought to myself, “I’m not in a Gin mood. Maybe I’ll try something different.”

Kate and Tyler grabbed their drinks, faced the dance floor and took a few steps forward in order to people watch while I took my time deciding which drink to try.   Right as I was opening my mouth to place my order…

“Well, HELLO!” a guy said with a thick Scottish accent coming from the shadows to the side of the bar.

“Um, hi,” I replied taken off guard by his Scottish dialect.

“Where ya FROM!?” the Scot excitedly asked at about 10 times louder than a normal speaking volume level.

“New York City,” I said trying to be short to give him the idea that I wanted to order a drink.

“I’M FROM SCOTLAND! I wanna DANCE with ya!” the Scot demanded as he cornered me.  He proceeded to back away from me doing a ridiculous jig to show his skills.

He stopped, came right up to my face and yelled, “AREN’T MY MOOOOVVES DANGEROUS!?

I stood strikingly still, looked around trying to find my friends to save me, but they were no where to be found.  The guy just kept doing his jig, which moved to his hips and upper body as he looked for my approval and wonderment after each ‘move.’

“I know whatcha thinkin’….. that I’M DEAD SEXY!!!”

Oh. My. God.

“I want to MAKE OUT with ya!” The Scot screamed as he shoved his haggis flavored tongue down my throat.  He backed away and returned to his jig, picking up his shirt to show me his hairy chest.

“I want to GO HOME with ya,” as he approached me and went in for seconds.  After he was done, he turned around and returned to his jig with movements being led by his bottom.

I looked around for my friends to save me.  I looked around for ANYONE to save me.  The Scottish guy was stealing everyone’s attention within a 10 foot radius.  His friends pulled him away telling him that it was time to go home, and I spotted my friends crying from hysterical laughter at what they had just witnessed.

Some random guy came up from the dance floor and stopped me with, “Wow.  The entire dance floor stopped just to witness that whole thing.”



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Is it Awkward??

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Grandma Duty

Tara pulled the short straw at Sunday dinner for the third straight week.  Family dinner is at 4:30 sharp every Sunday, at the end of the meal it is decided who has Grandma duty the following Sunday.  Normally it rotates, but sometimes schedules don’t allow the rotation to work properly and one person winds up baring the brunt for a while. Tara enjoyed spending time with her Grandmother, but it was tiring.  “Grans” was approaching 83 and had decided that normal social graces and properness no longer applied to her.

Tara had become an old pro at Grandma duty.  She set out her outfit Saturday afternoon.  Carefully choosing a church appropriate spring dress – knee length, light orange, with a hint of a pattern from a distance.  She then set her alarm for 8am the following morning, and was free from Grandma related tasks.  She went for a run and met some friends for a drink.  Sunday, Tara woke up after hitting snooze a half dozen times and regretting having that extra drink the night before.  She primped until she looked just done enough to avoid Grans discerning eye, and picked Grans up at 9:15 on the dot.  Tara was greeted with a curt “Flip flops for Church.  What is the world coming too?”  Tara smiled politely and helped Grandma into the car.

Grandma made it through mass with limited interruptions.  The homily was too short, the kids texting through mass were rude, and the mass as a whole was rushed.  For Grandma, this was a short list of complaints.  The two went grocery shopping where the prices were too high and the store too large.  It was a typical Sunday with Grandma.  As 4 o’clock approached, Tara decided they could arrive at dinner a few minutes early.  Getting Grandma in and out of a store in under 30 minutes was a chore, and it was nice day.  Tara parked the car, and she and Grans took a seat on the bench outside the restaurant.

Grans decided she wanted a cigarette, at 83 she could do anything she wanted.  She pulled a cigarette out of her purse and puffed away.  Grans quietly enjoyed her cigarette while observing the scenery; Tara was happy for a few moments of smokey silence.  Tara then noticed a woman exiting the restaurant wearing the same church appropriate light orange spring dress as her.  The two woman exchanged pleasant “nice dress” smiles.  At that moment, Grans took a long drag of her cigarette, and noticed the same woman Tara had.  Grans exhaled dramatically, toss her cigarette hand to the side, and pointed towards Tara’s dress twin with the other.  Chimming in loud enough for all to hear,  “Isn’t that a lovely dress for a FAT lady.”  Mortified Tara quickly put out Grans’ cigarette, and moved from the outdoor bench into the restaurant waiting area.



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