The only excuse I can even give for actually writing a blog post today is that I’m officially on vacation. Officially. A term I need to remember to reinforce for the next week because I tend to forget these things and work on work things. Or at least, I predict that is what will happen, because I always end up working on holidays and random days off here and there. This time, I am flying somewhere else though and despite bringing my work computer with me, I have faith that if it looks like I’m concentrating a little too hard on something of value, the computer will be broken in two. Cause that’s what friends are for.
The other reason I’m taking the time to write this blog is simple inspiration. I started reading a book by a Blogger… or, a Bloggess, if you will. The Bloggess to be accurate. (She’s here: http://thebloggess.com/ — Read it. Also, info about the book I reference on her page, y’all. But if you’re my friends, you’ve already read it.)
After 17 pages over 45 minutes, I had to give up reading. Maybe because I’m a terrible reader. Except, that’s not true and it’s really everyone else’s fault.
You see, my vacation plans include a cross-country flight, with a layover. And I am a whole two hours into a nine-hour journey on the FIRST LEG and no one will let me read. Or listen to music. Or sleep.
First off, props to Southwest Airlines for a stupid system of seat assignments. Have you ever wanted to go back to high school? Fly with Southwest. You don’t get seat assignments. You get a number. A1-60, B-1-60. One of the numbers in those sequences determines where you can stand in line to get on the plane and you have to stand in your exact spot and the closer to the end of the line you are, the more it doesn’t matter at all because you’re definitely left with “whatever seat is left.”
I was B-fucking-59. Ha! to the one guy I was a head of! Better luck next time, sucker.
So, being the last person on the plane means you have to get on and… not go to your assigned seat… but find someone willing, in small rows of three, to give up the comfort of the extra space the empty middle seat allows the two people who are pretending to hold it for someone. Except, I’m B-freaking 59 and while there were four or five seats actually empty on the plane I ended up in a stare down with multiple rows of people who did NOT want to give up their extra space.
Thankfully, I’m a nice person and spent 20 minutes speaking to a woman in the terminal, and she said hello as I was walking near her and had a seat in the middle, and offered it to me. B-60 was still staring down the other four rows. Ha! Not the last one picked to play dodge ball after all. Twelve years later and I’m overcoming high school.
The problem with sitting next to the nice lady from the terminal, who after about an hour I learned was named Sindy—not Cindy. They’re pronounced differently, but she didn’t know it was with an S until she saw her birth certificate when she was 19) is that she wasn’t done talking. This is completely lovely… except that I didn’t really sleep last night and possibly could in a four hour flight.
Just not this four hour flight.
Nonetheless, Sindy is perfectly lovely and not anti-social like the passenger on my left. I pull out my iPod but I don’t think Sindy knows what it is, so my music listening is intermittent between learning Sindy’s life story, which includes her 2-year-old grandson, daughter and son-in-law who she moved in with, bratty step-grandchildren, she used to work for state government, hated her last boss, has had surgery six times, and tackled a 200-pound weight loss success story for her knee replacement surgery. Which at some point, developed into how she could probably still have sex at her age, thanks to the new knees, but now she lives with her daughter and son-in-law and they might find that inappropriate.
Beverages finally come and I still haven’t gotten to my point of writing this all down.
So the passenger to the left… let’s call her Apple Girl, because she brought her own apple on this flight and I can’t decide if that makes her super-prepared or super-pretentious. Because the rest of us had to eat Nabisco snacks but she brought an apple. Fine, whatever, you’re super healthy and prepared. Stop shoving it down my throat, girl-who-hasn’t-said-a-word-to-me.
Apple girl, in her quest to prove her superiority to me, pulls out a book to try and up the ante on who’s more impressive, which means I need to do so as well. Obviously.
So I pull out the one book I brought with me – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by the Bloggess (Jenny Lawson) – and start from the beginning because I already read it once and believe if you’re willing to buy a book, it had better still be worth it the twelfth time you read it, because you invested in all that paper. And I’m only on time number two. I manage to get through the introduction when I notice that Apple Girl is no longer playing close attention to her Game of Thrones (heh, I’m winning this imaginary contest of superiority) and is now trying to not-so-discreetly discover why the first chapter is titled “I was a three-year-old-arsonist.” Which is a fair question, if you’ve never read the Bloggess’ blog, but I’m desensitized to such statements and cats in wearing anything but fur thanks to Jenny Lawson.
Apple Girl continuing to read over my shoulder for the next 10 minutes isn’t the worst of it. Because now I’ve ignored Sindy for 10 minutes and she wants to know about the book.
“This is an autobiography of a well-known writer” I start with, hoping that it quenches her curiosity just enough. But by this time, Sindy and I are old friends and I know this is a hopeless cause.
“Mice can’t write. Where’s her picture?”
“Why is the mouse wearing a cape?”
“What does she write that she’s famous for…?”
And finally “What’s a blog?”
Ooh boy. So, I make a decent enough attempt to explain the internet to my new/old friend while she reads the book in my lap.
“She sure says “fuck” a lot,” Sindy announces.
My response to this is a hesitant but polite smile to the mother in front of us who turns around to scowl as her three-year old son begins to repeat the word. Over. And over. And over again.
To be fair, I don’t believe this was the three-year-old’s first experience with the word. Mom was a lot less shocked and a lot more frustrated and I think she should take that frustration out on Dad because he probably got the three-year-old started, but at the end of the day, it certainly was not my fault, because I didn’t say the word.
Then Sindy starts to ask about taxidermy and swearing and is swearing allowed on the internet, and can you say other works like *bleeped to retain your innocence in life.*
And I decide that now’s the time to help this mom out and quickly switch Sindy back to our unfinished discussion of her potential new boyfriend, his potential sexual prowess, her new knees, and how to tell her kids. Because THAT just became the most comfortable conversation we could have.
Me: You could tell them you have a boyfriend.
Sindy: I’m not 13.
Me: You could call him your friend. Your gentlemen caller. Your companion.
Sindy: I’m 68 and live with my kids, not the Golden Girls.
Me: Fair enough. You could establish a euphemism. Like “Today I’m going to my knitting club.”
Sindy: Why the hell would I start knitting?
Me: You wouldn’t actually be knitting anything; you’d be seeing your gentlemen caller.
Sindy: But what if they want to see what I knit.
Me: Try buying a scarf at Target. Rip the tags out.
Sindy: What if they want to see my old-lady-knitting-basket?
Me: Leave your “needles” at your “friend’s house.” Then you have reasons to leave. To get them.
Sindy: And by get them, you mean…
Me: Yes. Go knit some more.
Then Sindy fell asleep and I shrugged at the mom who was still glaring at me, because I got Sindy to stop saying “Fuck” and that was something. And the rest of our conversation used code words and her kid can’t possibly understand what we mean by knitting, gentleman caller or euphemism.
Or if he does, we should all just throw in the towel because these kids will own us by age 12.
That’s when I pulled out my computer and started to type. While Sindy, an active sleeper, proceeded to elbow my ribs repeatedly.
I should also point out that the guy in front of me has leaned all the way back, so I have no legitimate way to open my computer so that anyone – me included – can see the screen. Essentially, I’m typing with my hands jammed into the keyboard, with no idea if I’m actually tapping the right keys. This could be hilarious.
Needless to say, I put the book away to avoid having to explain it any further… out of sight, out of mind, right? Because not everyone is ready for the wit and taxidermical lifestyle of The Bloggess. Which is a shame, but sometimes, reality hurts like that.
Update: Apple Girl asked me if I liked my neck pillow, which she watched me blow up. I said yes. She said it was a better idea that her squishy pillow. If I was still keeping count, I would so be winning this. Also, I caught like a page and a half of that Game of Thrones book she’s reading, and HBO series or not, that book/page sucked. But since she was social, we’re no longer enemies. So I can’t actually declare how much I won my imaginary contest. That wouldn’t be nice.