Flying Solo

     

     Any time I fly anywhere by myself, I just don’t seem to have the best of luck.  I’m always the person who gets stuck next to the passenger who’s never been introduced to deodorant or the passenger who’s been eating garlic and shit sandwiches for lunch or the passenger who wants to yap away about stupid, meaningless topics for the whole flipping duration of the flight.  So, naturally, when I flew down to see my parents this past weekend, I was once again forced to deal with rather strange characters on a rather small plane.

     When I boarded the teensy tiny “jet” (and I use that term VERY loosely) on Friday, my poor nose was immediately blasted with the putrid smell of what can only be described as cat piss in a bottle. Some dumb ass had actually taken it upon herself to bathe in this God-awful perfume before climbing on board this ridiculously cramped box with wings.  Now, maybe this clueless wonder actually enjoyed this retched scent when she purchased it from the store; however, it’s pretty presumptuous of her to assume that the rest of the free world would also like to inhale air that’s been polluted with this foul odor.  My gag reflux was only enhanced by the sudden increase in temperature on the plane.  It became so hot in there that I actually contemplated stripping down to my skivvies to avoid passing out from heat exhaustion.  Talk about miserable!  The combination of the smell with the intense heat was enough to make anyone feel like barfing.

     And as if this all wasn’t bad enough as it was, we also had the world’s bitchiest flight attendant to ever fly the friendly skies.  Clearly someone had slipped this woman a bad bag of peanuts or something because she was barking orders left and right without the slightest mention of a please or a thank you.  Rather than politely suggesting that I place my coat in the overhead compartment to free up my lap, she instead DEMANDED that I put it up there.  She also rattled off something about having to re-distribute the weight on the plane (which is oh-so-comforting, by the way) and told two people in the back to volunteer to change seats or else she’d FORCE two people to move up.  Again, no please and most certainly no thank you were ever uttered from her lips.  As you can probably imagine, I was so grateful to breathe fresh air and to escape from the Wicked Witch of the West once that plane finally touched the ground.

     However, I again had to deal with another one of nature’s weirdest freaks on the return flight home yesterday afternoon.  The flight attendant was the exact polar opposite of Suzy Sunshine from my Friday flight.  This woman went above and beyond to be nice to each and every person on that rinky-dink plane, so much so that she was almost sickening sweet.  In addition to falling all over herself with kindness, she was also THE epitome of a nasaly-sounding Chicagoan.  I seriously thought she was kidding when she picked up the microphone to start going over safety information.  She dragged out the last syllable of every word that she said and followed every single sentence with, “ummmmm-kaaaaaay?”  I looked around at the other passengers to see if they were hearing the same thing I was.  I thought for sure someone was gonna yell, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” at any moment.  Sadly, though, this was just the way this looney lady actually talked.  My ears were so pissed at me for putting them through that hour-long torture session by the time we arrived back in Chicago, and I’ve been apologizing to them ever since.

     So, I guess I’ve just come to the realization that any time I climb on board an aircraft, I’m more than likely gonna be rubbing elbows with the crazies.  My past experiences have certainly driven home this point to me over and over again.  You can bet your frequent flier miles, though, that I’ll be better prepared the next time I have to fly. I’ll be bringing along plugs for not only my ears but also for my nose.  Best believe that all bases will be covered for a more enjoyable flying experience.  Moral of the story = live and learn.

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Pumpkin Patch

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     My kids have been bugging the hell out of me to get a pumpkin since they first saw them on display at the grocery store back in early September (because apparently, we have to wheel out all the decorative crap at least one to three months BEFORE an actual holiday anymore).  So, this past weekend, I promised them that we’d make a trip over to the pumpkin patch to get their long-awaited pumpkins. And, like most things these days, it didn’t end up to be the fun-filled adventure that I’d envisioned.    

     The “pumpkin patch” is actually just the front lawn of a local church here in town.  All of the profits go towards different charities. In fact, the sign in front of it says, “Our pumpkins help people.”  This idea totally appealed to me because I wouldn’t actually feel like I was throwing money away  when I look out the front door in a few days and see a possy of squirrels going to town on our jack-o-lanterns. My pumpkins may be mutilated, but I helped people, dammit!  

     So, the search was on for the perfect pumpkins.  My daughter wanted a tall, skinny one, and my son wanted a big, round one.  They must have inspected every friggin’ pumpkin there trying to find exactly what they were looking for.  Pumpkins were rolling here, pumpkins were rolling there, and I thought for sure that I was gonna end up having to pay for a bunch of damaged goods.  Eventually, the kiddos found two that met their standards, as well as two other smaller ones that they somehow talked me into buying.  (Yes, I am a sucker.)  I tracked down a wagon, and we loaded it with our findings.

     It was at this time that I realized that our car was parked clear around the corner, and I was gonna have to juggle four pumpkins and two kids across oncoming traffic. Now, I may be one of the world’s greatest multi-taskers, but ain’t no way that scenario was gonna play out successfully.  So, I asked the man at the checkout table if I could leave my pumpkins there while I moved the car around.  He agreed, and I dragged the kids back to the car.  In the short amount of time it took to move the car, the kids must’ve asked me damn near seventy-five times if they could hold their little pumpkins on the way home.   

     I pulled up to the curb, and the very nice checkout man helped me load the car.  As I was thanking him, I decided to ask about the charities that benefit from their sales, and he gave me a handout with about ten different organizations that they serve.  He was right in the middle of telling me all about his favorite charity when my extremely impatient children decided to roll down the car windows and yell my name OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again.  I didn’t want to interrupt the guy when he was so passionately describing this beneficiary, so I nonchalantly tried to wave my hand behind my back to shush them. This only seemed to add fuel to their fire, and the cries grew even louder.  I was so embarrassed that I actually had to stop him and tell my kids to pipe down.  I was absolutely furious on the inside, but I tried like hell not to let it show on the outside. I slapped a fake smile on my face and pretended to listen as he continued.  When the kids turned their volume up to full-blast, he finally took this as his cue to thank me and walk away.  I held my breath and counted to fifty before I got back in the car to let my kids have it.  

     They started in with their demands to hold their pumpkins, but I quickly squashed that idea altogether.  I explained how incredibly rude they were being and gave a whole glorious speech about the importance of giving to others in need.  Although I’m quite sure it all went in one ear and out the other, I at least said my peace, and we drove home with the pumpkins in the very back of the car all by their lonesomes. And just like that, my idea for a warm and fuzzy fall adventure was smashed like a pumpkin.

Invasion of the Manner Snatchers

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     Is it my imagination or have manners all but become extinct anymore?  Seriously, have we all just decided to become a-holes and only think about ourselves?  I mean, crap, I’ve got places to go and people to see too, but that doesn’t mean I need to stampede the little old lady in front of me to get there any faster.  How am I supposed to teach my kids about manners if nobody anywhere around them seems to have any of their own?

     One of my constant encounters with rudeness takes place each and every week at my favorite yoga class.  There’s this one certain woman who inevitably always plops her shit down right next to my mat.  I cringe every time I think about trying to meditate next to this crazy bitch.  She is like a bull in a china shop.  The woman doesn’t have a clue how to be quiet about anything.  She’s constantly texting on her obnoxiously loud phone (does she not know about the silent feature?!) and every so often even taking calls right in the middle of the freaking class. And she never stays for the duration of the class. She waits until everyone is lying completely still in “savasana,” which is the word for corpse pose, to pack up all her crap without any regard whatsoever to the fact that everyone is supposed to be in a complete state of relaxation by this point of the class.  It’s a little hard to be relaxed when homegirl’s undoing the velcro strap for her mat, digging in her purse for her keys, putting on her clunky shoes, and literally stomping across the width of the room, all so she can be two or three minutes ahead of the crowd.  It really pisses me off, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the instructor to keep her cool. She must be a lot more centered than me.

     Another one of my recent brushes with the rudeness of humankind was as I was leaving CVS the other day.  I needed to turn left out of the parking lot, which was not an easy task, given the super busy street it intersects.  I was like the chicken trying to cross the road, just waiting as patiently as I could for any opening.  Chalk it up to bad timing cause I wasn’t going anywhere fast.  All of a sudden, I heard someone laying on the horn behind me.  I glanced into my rearview mirror to see yet another bad-mannered lunatic screaming and cussing and flailing her arms about in the car behind me. What in holy hell did this insane woman want me to do?  Did she honestly expect me to just go barreling out into oncoming traffic and push the other cars out of the way for her?  When I finally was able to turn, she yelled “Stupid bitch!” and flipped me off through her open window.  Hmmm, seems to me that she’s the one not quite playing with a full deck if she thought causing a multi-car pileup seemed like a reasonable way for her to get where she needed to go more quickly.

     And yet another case of tactlessness with which I continually cross paths takes place right here in my very own neighborhood with other fellow dog owners.  It’s beyond me how some of my neighbors don’t seem to have any qualms at all with allowing their loose dogs to just randomly roam the streets.  This one dog in particular is always wandering around in other people’s yards just looking for the perfect spot to lay a monstrous pile of dung, which of course won’t EVER be poop scooped by his owner since he is MIA.  Then there’s also another sad excuse for a dog that runs amuck through our hood on just three short and stumpy little legs. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s the wisest decision in the world to let a gimpy little mutt hobble about the streets all alone.  Hell, that’s probably how he lost his leg in the first place.  “Lucky,” as my husband and I refer to him, is always causing passersby to stop and question if the poor thing is lost.  And, naturally, he is also leaving little piles of brown surprises in all the neighbor’s yards.  If I, myself, didn’t have any cooth, I would plop our new pup smack dab on their doorsteps to leave a few things of his own behind to thank them for their neighborly ways. But, you see, I actually do have some shreds of decency in my bones, so I will not ever do that.

     I really don’t understand what has happened to our society.  What about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? Have people just become too busy or better yet, too selfish to think about the consequences of their actions?  It seems to me that we all need to take a little lesson from Aretha and start showing some R-E-S-P-E-C-T for one another.