Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Day 1, the trip
I jumped the gun with that comic the other day, but I couldn't help myself. It was a howler for me and my girls. However, every good story has a beginning. Mine begins with the trip up.
I took my car to a park and ride location to catch the airport shuttle. It was early, about 5am so that I could catch my very early flight to Newark. After driving around and locating the teeny parking lot, I found the unmarked building to await my ride. A small man wearing a badge promptly got up from reading his paper and walked to the side of my waiting room seat. Throughout the entire conversation, he kept his chin tucked low and his eyes rounded with earnest innocence.
He: "Hi. This is where the shuttle comes from."
Me: *smile and nod* "Good. I was a little worried since there's no address on the front of the building."
He: "I suppose you're taking the shuttle?"
Me: "Yes." *I laugh* "The early shuttle."
He: "It'll come right up to the front there."
Me: *cocking a confused brow. Is he not the driver?* "Excellent. This bag is heavy."
He: "Do you know your gate?"
Me: *ah! He is the driver!* "Yes! I'm at gate A."
He: "I'm at D"
Me: *so he's not the driver...* "Mm."
He: *sits down* "I'm probably talking too much." *he shakes his head with embarrassment.*
Me: *maybe he's just a nice guy who's lonely* "No, no, you're fine. I'm just having trouble hearing you. It's loud in here."
He: "I talk quiet."
*I smile to let him know it's okay*
He: "There's the bus! We have to hurry!"
I grab my roller bag--which I realize now has a busted axle and doesn't roll which makes me pissy because now I'm worried that my hernia box suitcase will drag a hole into the luggage and my shit will fall out. I watch the driver of the van (for it is not a bus as the little guy said) heave-ho my hernia maker into the back.
By the time I get seated, the little man is in the front bench and I decide to sit behind him. It's hot. The driver hasn't put on the air yet and my hair is starting to frizz. Once we get going, bouncing over the roads, the air jets go into hurricane force and I sit back a little more comfortably.
The little man in front of me, I decide, has taken a few rides on the "short bus" in his time and now he must work at the airport. Very slowly, Little Dude leans to his left. He carefully props himself at a 45 degree angle and I see his other hand snake down to pull the fold of cotton slacks from his crack.
Then it hits me. Backed with the gale force A/C, my eyes begin to water, my throat clogs, and my nasal hairs singe on the MOTHER of all stenches. And so I started my conference trip baptized in fart.
Perhaps it is for that reason that when I saw the next thing, my mind was already in the proverbial toilet. I had a fantastic flight. It was a direct shot and no one sat next to me. Clearly no one that morning thought a trip to New Jersey was a good idea (I did note, however, that the flight OUT of New Jersey was packed. I half expected them to book my lap as a seating arrangement for the desperately departing.). I got my laptop out and plugged away over 3000 words. It was brilliant speed!
As soon as we landed, I grabbed my carry-ons and headed for the bathroom (which is why I clarified above that my mind was in a PROVERBIAL toilet. There's no room for misunderstanding here.). I chose the stall on the end against the wall, for safety's sake of my belongings. It was clean, well scrubbed and other than one little scribble, completely free of graffiti.
Well done, New Jersey airport! I can only think (carrying the teasing-slam of the city a little farther) that it was because it was in an arrival gate and I'd already established that no one wished to arrive in New Jersey. No doubt the departure toilet stalls are loaded with names and phone numbers.
But I digress. There was a message in my stall. It said: "I hate it here. I want to go back home. I made a mistake. I should not have come. I am painfully unhappy. One more, just one more."
The lonely message left me thinking two things...
1. The writer also didn't understand the lure of New Jersey; or
2. She was horribly constipated and in need of ExLax.