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Effortlessly Average

Sort of half-heartedly leading the charge into mediocrity since, oh, let's say around 1987 or so.

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Location: Roaming (additional charges may apply), Argentina

Proof that with internet access and a powerful laxative, even insipid people will blog; the place where your excellence and my mediocrity collide; where my Karma whips ass on your dogma.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why I'm Going to Hell, Part II

When I used to work for a major Fortune-Something company, I used to have to travel from time to time to the company's sister sites around the country. Not because I was that important, mind you, but because I'd have to attend a lot of meetings and for some reason the company never seemed to grasp the concepts of modern video conference technology. Some schmo in Illinois would decide a bunch of people absolutely HAD to discuss some largely irrelevant subject - in person - and so, off I'd go.

One day I was on my way to Chicago, but as is usually the case for Mr. Effortlessly Average, it wasn't destined to be a smooth trip because it'd only just started and already the plane wasn't leaving the terminal on time. We sat there, door closed but still attached to that rolly terminal arm thingy they maneuver up to the planes for boarding-slash-unboarding. And why is it, by the way, that once they close the door you can't get up from your seat no matter how freaking long they sit there at the terminal? Do they really expect us to believe that when the word comes from the tower that we're cleared for take off, the pilot has to punch the gas like a cop headed for the 1/2 off sale at Dunkin Donuts? Wouldn't they have time to announce "it's time to go so everyone back to your seats now!"

Anyway, I thought I was going to have pretty good luck on that particular flight because I hate sitting so close to someone I don't know. Especially when that person is NEVER the type you want it to be. I get the cowboy who thinks bathing in Stetson is sexy. Or the old lady who smells like cats. Pick your nightmare, that's who I seem to sit beside on those flights. This time, however, the seat beside me was empty so I figured I'd have a nice, leisurely trip to Chicago.

Suddenly, however, the door opened and into the plane stepped another passenger. This woman looked as if she'd had to sprint across the airport to get to the plane. She made her way to the middle of the plane and I could tell almost as soon as she looked my way that my extra space was about to be filled with her ample backside and endless chatter. As she made her way down the isle she peppered the other passengers with random statements that told me she was the type who felt uncomfortable in silence. Sure enough, her migration ended at my row.

"I'm right there, honey" she said in a thick Jersey Jewish accent, pointing to the seat beside me.

I stared up at her, thinking to myself lady, if I have to spend this flight listening to you tell me about your husband Bernie's bagel shop, I'm going to chew my way through this bulkhead and leap to my death.

"Oh, right. Sorry" I said as I unbuckled my seatbelt and stood to let her wedge her bulk between the two rows and into her seat.

Apparently there is a little understood, but widely known, force in nature that connects my seat cushion to the vocal cords of the person next to me, because no sooner had my weight hit the seat before she started jamming the cabin with words. No sleep for me this flight, I see.

Now on the one hand I felt a little sorry for her because it was pretty obvious she was nervous about flying. Like my father, she was willing to disbelieve mountains of physical and mathematical evidence to the contrary and give into the fear that sometime soon, when they were in the air, God was going to look up from his stack of pink "While You Were Out" memos and decide planes aren't supposed to actually fly.

On the other hand, I was becoming really annoyed. I didn't want to go to Chicago because I knew it was going to be another excuse for my co-workers (or ass-kisisng sycophants, as I called them) to develop more work for everyone. I hated that I'd been in this huge tube with wings for an hour, in the summer heat and without air conditioning, waiting for God knows what. I hated that I'd had to surrender the extra space that I'd intended to use to spread my arms and catch a nap for a thickly-accented North Easterner who's mouth was apparently already on autopilot.

So when she made a comment about having mixed feelings about the flight I couldn't resist.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well I'm not really comfortable on planes so I woodn't really mind missing it, but becooahze the flight is so late I made it anyways."

"Yeah," I nodded.

"I wondah why it's so late anyways." She said almost to herself, as if one of the voices in her head was trying to convince the others that something might be wrong.

Suddenly, the wise ass in me took over.

"Well we would have left on time, but the last pilot said he heard something knocking in the engine and refused to fly the plane, and it took the airline this long to find a pilot who would."

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