Thursday, September 8, 2011
I started out the day in California and ended the day in Missouri. That is a good day.
The first time I flew back from California to Missouri was in 2003. I was flying back after helping to take care of my cousins for a month while my aunt was in the hospital. It was a month after I moved to Springfield, and after another month in California, I was happy to be coming back to give it a shot in Springfield.
After a layover in Las Vegas, I sat in my window seat midway back in the plane on the right side eating some Reese’s Pieces. A woman sat in the aisle seat next to me. She was wearing a hat and sunglasses. Right away, she was a talker. Great, I don’t usually like sitting by those people. She got to talking, and we talked most of the flight. She was unlike anyone I’ve met. She was a strange combination of characteristics rarely brewed together. She was pretty, and very hillbilly. She had a strong Arkansas accent and liked to talk about her four wheeling and backwoods exploits. She was also a pop singer and was in Vegas recording an album. She had just broken up with a Major League baseball player. She home schooled her kids and was pursuing her Phd in education so she could be a better teacher to her kids. In addition, she had just gotten her breasts done and she told me all about it, a lot.
Apparently, she had just very recently had the surgery so she told me about what needed to be done on her end to follow up the surgery. In conversations only she could invent, getting drunk in the woods talk quickly morphed into Phd classes, which quickly morphed into the proper way to deal with boob scarring. When I say we talked the whole flight, it was really just her talking while I nodded and agreed, as if I knew what it was like to home school my kids, or lay down a vocal track, or care for my breasts.
When the flight was done, we said goodbye, only to realize that I had to wait three hours for my friend to pick me up, while she had to wait three hours for a connecting flight. So, we sat in the KCI airport and talked some more.
Then it got awkward.
She was talking about how her boobs felt totally natural when she said, “Want to feel them?”
Any number of things went through my head. “Run.” “I do not feel comfortable with this.” “We are in an airport.” “I bet she asks everyone to do this.” “She seems to treat them as if they are separate entities from herself.” I didn’t know what to say or do, so I decided I would not be rude, and not really do what she asked.
So, I turned toward her, adjusting in the uncomfortable blue chair. I brought my hand up to my chest. Then, rather than form my hand like I’m about to catch a softball, I clenched my hand and extended my index finger. I grimaced and moved my extended finger toward her like ET reaching out to Elliot. Only my finger didn’t glow, and in this scenario, I was the one that was from this world.
I quickly made contact, like when you’re touching an animal with a stick to see if it is alive. I retracted my arm and said, “Yeah.” She seemed happy enough with the answer, which I’m sure she’s gotten before. We talked awhile longer waiting for my friend to arrive.
I said goodbye, grabbed the flower pot Gertie had given me, and walked toward the ship that had arrived for me. I waddled up the ramp and got in the passenger seat. In an instant, I jetted off in my friend’s Camry, never to make contact with her again.
The flight home today was far less eventful.