Monday, September 07, 2009
So not the greatest of weekends in the history of weekends. My grandfather is pretty frail and I sincerely hope I’ll get to see him again.
Went on Dad’s motorbike along the peninsula, allocated various family members time slots, and had a full-on all-consuming two days involving family politics, family maintenance, a stroll with mum down Long Street, walking my dog on the beach, and keeping a very stoic face.
Then, after feeling utterly drained and emotional, I got onto the plane.
Now this is my vibe on a plane:
1) I don’t talk to people
2) I don’t talk to people
3) I don’t talk to people unless they’re my mates, or it’s Richard Hammond.
Especially on those long overnighters. When you were young and naïve, and flying was still a novelty. And you feel bad going to sleep, because once they start talking they don’t stop.
So I have a ritual, even on these short flights: Whack iPod into ears before the air hostess even welcomes me on board, never make eye contact. I’ve learnt.
So imagine how ecstatic I was to find two very drunk and rambunctious men sitting next to me. Obnoxious and loud, creating attention around them, generally annoying in open spaces, nevermind in tightly fucking enclosed ones.
The one next to me proceeded to mix his beer with his wine, and by the time we landed – after about 10 years – I was almost jumping over the seats to get the hell out of that plane.
‘I told the hostess to put the prettiest girl on the plane right next to me, and check it out! She arrived!’ He screams, as I’m shoving my suitcases into the overheads. [Why aren’t you Richard Hammond?]
I cringe, fuck. How am I going to deal with this for two hours?
‘Dave! Look, she’s arrived.’
iPod is firmly in the ears already. ‘Dave’ looks at me and says ‘Good luck, looks like you’re sitting next to my mate Gary.’
Fuck this for a ball of shit. Wouldn’t even be game if someone gave me twelve ecstasy tablets and a tequila to wash them down with. Not today; not this century.
Peas: So it’s your unlucky day. I don’t talk to people on aeroplanes. [Wave my iPod about].
Dave: She’s not going to talk to you dude, check it out!
Peas: Yeah don’t take it personally, but I kind of zone out. Starting from this very second…and that’s now.
Gary: [Slapping my thigh] Haha you’re funny! [the booze is my being blown into my face and it sure does smell], can I ask you just one question and then I’ll shut up?
Peas: [Shifting from the thigh slapping, now all but nestled in the window in a foetal position, he’s still talking he’s still talking, and now he’s spraying semi-regurgitated peanuts all over my lap.]
Gary: Can we both listen to your iPod.
Peas: No. [Pretending now to be asleep, eyes closed, face turned towards window, desperately trying to escape into an erotic daydream of Rome.]
Gary: What’s your favourite band?
Peas: Air Supply and Whitney Houston.
Gary: What’s your name.
Peas: ……………………………………………………….Peas. [Why God why?]
Excruciating 2 hours go by, and land at Lanseria.
Gary: Let the ADD girl out, but wait, look she just smsed me. [Bearing in mind, he’s yelling when he talks, so it’s getting blind]
…………..she says she’ll come for scotch with me.
Can I carry your suitcase, you’ll get messy.
Peas: I’LL get messy?
Gary: You seem very tense. What do you do?
Peas: That’s because I am very tense.
Gary: [Grabs my suitcase]
Peas: No dude, no, it’s ok. NO.
And so it went, and as I stepped onto the runway I ran all the way to my car and powered out of there like a machine.
That economy class neighbourly nightmare aside, I’m glad I went down there, I had to. I am thoroughly drained now, slightly catatonic and endlessly just reaching into the back of my head for images of Rome as the perfect escape.