I tried with the title this week, guys, I really did. I just couldn’t think of anything more creative. I also couldn’t cut it down, so this week’s post is super long. I do not apologize.
So I basically live on planes now–tomorrow, I’ll be traveling back to my new apartment in the Southwest terminal of LAX to go back home to NorCal for Thanksgiving. I landed back in LA from Oregon last night around 12:30. Also, remember that time I went to Seattle a week ago? Yeah. Planes.
I know we’ve talked about planes before, but I’m running on like three hours of sleep so I’m not going to take the time to figure out exactly which blog post I talked about them in. Basically, I get really introspective about my life on planes, which is normally very easy because of the solitude of it all. No one talks to me or distracts me or upsets me in any way, therefore, I am one with my own thoughts. And then this trip happened.
I left for Oregon on Wednesday. I haven’t seen Alex in months and I’d never been to Oregon and I was kind of in need of some wilderness (the concrete/juice cleanse jungle of LA doesn’t count, mostly because of the smog and I haven’t seen any non-WeHo bears around here). Because her town is difficult to get a direct flight to, I relied on Travelocity to book me the cheapest, fastest flights with the least amount of layovers. For some ungodly reason, these flights were not Southwest. I realized this the night before when I was packing. I’m not going to get to check my bag for free. Wait… I can’t bring this giant suitcase. I’d better switch to my much smaller suitcase. God, I’m so smart. I’m being really adult rn. Look at how practical I’m being. I should buy a briefcase online. And get it engraved.
So I did that–switch the suitcases, not buy the briefcase, it took me four whole minutes online to realize that it isn’t 1994–and, in the morning, I headed to the airport. In addition to my smart suitcase decision, I’d also printed out my boarding pass ahead of time, thus saving me from the check-in line (which, it turns out, was non-existent at the Alaska terminal at 8am on a Wednesday morning) and I went straight to the security line. I was incredibly efficient in removing my jacket and shoes and laptop and even my necklace (the one that always sets off the detectors at airports but I wear it anyway because of the drama), but when I got through and began picking up my items, I realized that my purple suitcase (you know, the smaller one) hadn’t come through. And then I heard what no perfect-attendance-award-Pleasanton-Middle-School-class-of-’07 recipient ever wants to hear: “Ma’am, is this your bag?”
First of, let me just say that the only other person that’s ever called me “Ma’am” is out in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky (because that person was a rural Kentucky mother who referred to me as ‘this lady’ to her five-year-old son whilst behind me in line for the Mickey Mouse Ferris Wheel in California Adventure, then proceeded to say, “Ma’am, can we cut in front of you? My husband is up there,” then proceeded to cut in front of me with her “something something High School, Kentucky, USA” sweatshirt, then probably traveled back to Kentucky to continue her life of mistaking seventeen-year-old girls with braids for adult women). Damn, that was a tangent.
Anyway, my bag was about as jam-packed as it could have been, on account of me transferring over from the bigger suitcase, so I was not excited for her to open it. Not that I would have been if it were a light packer, but it probably wouldn’t have been as dramatic. But that’s not the life I chose for myself. But, of course, she opened it and all my stuff started spilling out, including a bra that I’d decided to bring last minute, so of course it was at the top. She searched around and found my new face wash (purchased a day before) and informed me that it was over 3 ounces, to which I stupidly replied, “but I put it in a ziplock” as if that were going to save me. She told me I needed to check the bag, ship the face wash to myself, or she’d throw it away. Checking the bag was out, because I’d already switched to the smaller suitcase, plus the lady pointed out that it was “probably too late to check it anyway.” Mailing it to myself seemed stupid, because I’m a plane person now, so where would I ship it? And when would I pick it up? After minutes of agonizing, I reluctantly told her to throw it away, “even though I just bought it yesterday… ugh… *sigh*… *heavier sigh*” She threw it away.
Then guess what? As I was boarding my plane, the woman at the desk told me my bag was too big and they’d have to check it. And then they did. They checked my bag. My smaller suitcase. My face-wash-less cargo. My Barney-the-Dinosaur purple, fifth circle of hell. They checked it without a second thought. And I couldn’t do anything about it. It was like being on that goddamn ferris wheel again, regretting all of my choices up until that point and feeling completely out of control up there in the air.
I was sick for the first two days of my visit wit Alex, which is not unlike our first days in the freshman dorms together, so it was comforting. It was like old times: we went to Rite Aide and got zinc tablets and spent way too long in the pregnancy test aisle trying to guess how accurate each brand was. Then buying candy. The first two days I mostly just slept the whole time. Alex had to go to bed at 5pm and wake up at 2:30am for her morning shift at the news station so I guess it kind of made sense for me to get sick. Once the zinc worked it’s magic, it was the weekend, and we went to the snow (California girls in the snow is magical, I highly recommend watching if you ever encounter) and she showed me all the places she goes to eat and hang out and drink. We talked about our careers and unrealistic engagement rings and mostly about college. We went on a magical hike through this beautiful forest, following a river, and talking shit about everyone we knew. Her roommate and I also got her to watch the first Star Wars for the first time, which I’ve been trying to do for four whole years. We spent a lot of time eating. And we danced in a cage at a bar. I had a quick feminist crisis about it, but we did it. Then I lulled Alex to sleep with a feminist rant to make up for it. No, seriously. That’s how she described it, word for word. “Lulled me to sleep with a feminist rant.”
It was really difficult to say goodbye, especially knowing it be a while before I’d get to see her again. Also because she had to drop me off at the airport early because she needed to go to bed. She dropped me off at 5:30pm yesterday. Ugh, fighting the good fight, Biston.
My flights home just made everything better/worse. I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s because it has to do with air travel, and nothing makes sense up there. On my first flight (Redmond/Bend -> San Francisco) I knew I was going to get wine. For someone who flies legit all the time, I hate flying. And it was a small plane. I hate small planes. I also hate really big planes. See, this is why I can never leave Southwest again. Anyway, I got a red wine from the flight attendant and she left without charging my debit card that I’d been waving around in the turbulence. The guy sitting next to me–who’d looked like he wanted to say something to me all flight, but couldn’t think of a good opener–finally spoke: “Wow, if I’d known alcohol was gonna be free, I wouldn’t have ordered a diet coke.” Damn straight, lumberjack beard, I’m like a magnet for free booze. Feeling lucky (because of the Chardonnay, not my bearded neighbor) for the first time on that trip, I downed that thing. My nerves were already fried and I needed that whole mini-bottle to take the edge off. At this point I was an octagon, so there were actually eight edges. And this little bottle took off all eight.
I entered the San Francisco airport tipsy and confused. After figuring out where my next terminal was, I power-walked there, complete with the song “Beep” by the Pussycat Dolls playing on repeat in my head for no reason other than to make me look insane in front of everyone in the airport. I was fast-strutting on the moving walkway. I’m pretty sure I hip-checked a guy. Then, I saw the goddamn insignia of Boudin and I almost cried. I definitely stopped hearing “Beep” and started hearing “I Hate This Part.” I decided, based on literally nothing, that I had time to get a bread bowl. I had the good sense to take it to go, so I packed my bowl (heh. Oregon.) into my Boudin travel bag and continued on my tipsy journey to gate 81. Once there, I remembered I needed a ticket, because they couldn’t print one for me in Redmond, so I strutted up to the desk of gate 81, took a full 45 seconds to get my ID out of my wallet, and got my final boarding pass. That’s when I finally checked the time and realized I had 15 minutes to eat this son of a bitch. Luckily, there was a group of tables next to my gate, so I found a way to situate myself so that I could stare at gate 81 whilst I consumed my bread bowl. And I downed that thing. One could say I shotgunned it. I stopped only to text my mother this series of texts:
“I’m doing fine. I’m eating a breakbowl.”
(She says “Happy SF!”)
“I miss homeeee (bread emoji, bread emoji, bread emoji, bread emoji)”
(She says “You’ll be here soon!” as in, literally on Tuesday)
“Ugh not soon enough #lessthan48hours”
You know you’re at least a little drunk when you text things in hashtag form to your mother. Predictively, she did not reply.
After shotgunning, I got in line for boarding group 5 (I suck) at my gate. I’d been standing there for about 20 seconds when a girl approached me and asked if this was the general boarding line, to which I replied, “if it’s not, I’m definitely in the wrong line!” like I was some 1940s aspiring stand-up that didn’t understand the concept of comedic timing. Remember, it’s the wine, not me. The girl laughed politely and then got in line behind me. And then she made a phone call to whom I assume is her best friend. And in the next twenty minutes, I got to hear a table-read of the script for the newest romantic comedy starring some actress that a casting director probably deems “Emma Stone-like.”
This girl was in San Francisco to visit a male friend–they are NOT together though, Hannah, I definitely wouldn’t say we’re together. They’d been talking for a while now and she’d finally gotten the courage/free time to meet. They actually started talking a year ago, but he stopped replying after a while due to some commitment fears. Though apparently, he (Nathan, as I would learn) refocused his life and started chatting with this girl again about a month ago, and invited her to visit him in San Francisco. I knew she wasn’t from around the area when she grossly butchered the pronunciation of Ghirardelli like four times before exclaiming to Hannah that “oh, apparently, I’ve been saying it wrong my whole life! It’s Gheer-a-delli, not Ghwkrlfndbsidt like I thought.” It should be noted that her corrected pronunciation was also incorrect. I was glad she was leaving the city: that shit can get you shot north of Pier 39.
Anyway, Nathan had been a “complete gentleman” and showed her the best parts of the city, which, it turns out, are as follows:
- That science place
- The place with the Dome that’s really old and pretty
- The Pier (you know how San Francisco is famous for our one, singular pier??? Ah, the City by the Lake)
- The aquarium
- Ghwkrlfndbsidt Square
- The trolley carz (the “Z” was implied)
- The Golden Gate Bridge
(Now, don’t get me wrong, I love these places/things, but it was funny because of tourist reasons) (Okay moving on)
While at the place with the chocolate, the would-be lovers played a rousing game of 20 questions, and it was “super sweet.” For this next part, I’m going to just loosely quote what this girl said, because it’s hard to work it into a disconnected sentence:
“So, at one point, I asked him the question that I always love to ask during these question games: ‘if there were no repercussions and I couldn’t judge you, what would you want to ask me right now?'”
Nothing like a hypothetical immunity idol to hand to the island natives that aren’t aware of what the show Survivor is, nor how it works, nor do they care, and they’re still going to kill you.
“And he said, ‘like I can ask you anything, and you’re not gonna judge?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, of course,’ so then he was like, ‘okay, would you marry me?’ *pause for Hannah’s excitement* Yeah, I know! But then I was like, ‘I mean, no, not right now because we’re too young, but like I don’t know what the future holds!'”
First of all, it took everything I had not to spin around and yell, “Wait then HOW OLD ARE YOU???” Second of all, the amount of wine-drunk amusement I was feeling couldn’t have been measured. I started laughing to myself. I actually laughed even harder when I realized that I could very easily be having the same conversation with my best friend Hannah in an airport. Like this girl could be me. Minus knowing NOTHING about my favorite city. But she talked a lot like I do when I like a guy. I got especially weirded out/amused/I laughed again when she said, “Oh, and get this! We’re so similar! Like we want the same number of kids! *pause for Hannah talking* Well, I asked him how many kids he wants, and he said, ‘between three and five’ and I want four kids, which is between three and five!” Wine from two hours prior came out of my nose. It should be said that I felt a connection there because I, too, want four kids, not because I’d ever get excited about one number being very obviously in between two other numbers.
After she got off the phone with Hannah, the guys in line behind her started hitting on her, and I found out that she makes designer cupcakes, but not for a living, “just as a hobby… but hopefully one day!” And goddamn it, do I ever hope this beautiful bastard caters my cupcake-laden wedding. And I hope Nathan is her head of marketing. And their three to five children are their waitstaff on the weekends when they don’t have too much homework. And I hope they’re absurdly happy in their big-ass apartment on Post Street. And that Hannah lives in their guest bedroom. Because people deserve to be happy, and that’s kind of the moral of this long, stupid story.
Also, I sat in the emergency row next to two strangers who talked the whole goddamn flight and I didn’t get to sleep at all, so to the Orange County native who’s suing his neighbor for some reason and looked like he was my dad’s age but kept referencing his girlfriend and tried to describe Pike’s Place like a Seattle native but was clearly not from Seattle nor a knowledgeable person: you’re awful. To the pretty, mid-twenties girl who either showed or feigned interest in this weird man and commended him for guessing that she was Lebanese after guessing EVERY OTHER COUNTRY around Lebanon: don’t encourage him. He was a dick and you and I both knew it. It’s just that you got stuck with the middle seat, and I got stuck with a male flight attendant that liked to linger in the aisle next to the emergency row. At least I learned a lot about United’s stop-over trips to El Salvador. And I didn’t die on the cab ride home.
As Ilana Glaser once said, “Oh my god, he ‘likes’ Roseanne? Okay this is… this is your new sexual partner.”