Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hilary Duff?!?

I thought everyone knew that when you have headphones in your ears it’s the international sign for “piss off and don’t talk to me!” Apparently not. The woman on the plane next to me was seemingly unaware of this rule, nor that I could not even hear her for the first part of her attempted conversation. After grudgingly pausing my song I conversed back with her (half assed, I might add), just to be nice. No matter how many times I tried to bail out by picking up the iPod and headphones she’d fire the conversation back up again. Look lady, you seem nice, but I really don’t give a crap about your childhood trips to Delaware. Yes! I’ve seen cows before! You don’t have to tell me about them. I’ve seen a cow give birth and then subsequently eat the placenta as if it was a nice chocolate cake – but you don’t hear me talking about that, do you! Maybe I should have, that might have shut her up faster, or got her to say “Well I never!” which would have made my day.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… Sometimes when my iPod battery is dead and I don’t want to be bothered, I’ll just stick the headphones in my ears and pretend to be listening to something. It’s a great excuse to ignore people without being overtly rude! I almost got caught once though. After ignoring someone I pulled out the earphones and said “Oh sorry, didn’t hear ya there! (snicker)”

He said “So what are you listing to?”

Oh shit. I’ll let you in on another secret: I’m a terrible liar.

“Hilary Duff??” I semi said/asked back, because even as I said it I thought “why the hell am I saying this??!” I actually said it as a question, as if I was on a game show taking a shot in the dark answer to the question; “Name the number one song you could be listening to right now that would lead me to question your sexuality.”

I’d have won.

I wish I said that!

I’ll start by bitching about the set up on airplanes. They board first class passengers first, then subsequently march those of us in coach through the first class cabin so they can all glare at us over their latest issue of The Economist. It’s the airline walk of shame, and I absolutely hate it. I put on a sad face and hope for one of them to throw me a gold trinket. No luck yet.

During my latest trip, I was sitting on the plane from London to Chicago. It’s a looooonggggggg flight, especially when riding in coach (So nice they don't call it 3rd class seating). Due to the tight quarters and duration, any little annoyance from the people around you is amplified to tortuous levels. Someone chewing on potato chips might as well be a jackhammer banging on my skull. And you know you either have to put up with their obnoxiousness or try to escape the plane from 35,000 feet.

I always make sure to have some battery power on my iPod in reserve so I can block out the sounds of people who chew with their mouth open (A capital offense in my book). I maintain just enough power to crank up the volume long enough to block out 3 bags of airplane pretzels from the guy next to me. But I wasn’t prepared for what was coming. And thanks to the uncivilized man sitting to my right and his industrial sized bag of what can only be described as “super-mega-crunchy petrified” chips, my battery was at critical levels.

On top of all this, the cute little girl behind me, bless her heart, was at the age where she is learning how to count. And her mother - bless her heart as well – who, based on her enthusiasm must have lost her mind years ago or is jacked up on some wonderful drug that she really should be sharing with the rest of us. Cough it up woman!! The little girl would count from one to ten and attempt to go higher until she got stuck. Every time she hit her numerical ceiling, her mom would enthusiastically congratulate her and tell her the next number in the sequence. At which point she would start over again from one. I didn’t expect this game to last very long, and I actually found it cute at first. But after 20 cycles I didn’t think it would ever end. I was not prepared at all for this unexpected sequence of events. After her 30th or 40th round (its hard to keep count in a countless counting-situation like this), my iPod battery expired. At which point I immediately had the urge to strangle Steve Jobs to death. Damn you Apple and your 3 hour battery life!!

And on and on she counted, “One.. two.. phree.. fowr.. fife.. sick.. sefen.. ate.. nine”…

“Fuckingggggggggg ten,” I added under my breath.

I should mention that I do a lot of day dreaming when I fly. The following is one of the scenarios I played out in my head, which made me smile and brought me back to sanity. I really wanted to do this, but when I looked back, it turns out that crazy hyper-enthusiastic mom was kind of a milf. So I refrained-- I couldn’t yell at a hot mom, no matter how insane her daughters counting made me. Also, as much as I’d like to be, I’m not an asshole. But man – it’d be fun if I was!

Girl: … “13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20!”

Milf: “Very good!!! You made it to twenty!! Good job sweety. I’m so proud of –“

Out of nowhere a head swings around from the row in front. They both immediately spin their heads forward and stare at this stranger with the look of death on his face.

Me: I’m not freaking impressed little girl!! 20! big fuckin whoop! You want to impress me, tell me the derivative of ln(x)???? HUH? ?!

(Blank stares, jaws dropped.)

Me: "That’s what I thought. And YOU, (pointing to the milf), Hey, hows it goin? Maybe we should hang out later..."
Milf: "Go to hell!"
Me: "That sounds about right..."

Man that would have been sweet!

The UN Finds a Dive Bar

That picture was the first night we went to this dive bar. A week later I went back with 3 other guys for some drinks. After the first round a band was setting up to play. I should mention that I am being very generous with the word BAND. It was actually two 70 year old guys with a guitar and a tambourine. I decided they needed a name for their band, maybe a punk band name, something like The Raging Colonoscopies. Also, keep in mind that this bar has only 9 people in it, including the waitress and the crack-whore fiendishly searching through her cell phone (more on her shortly). Before the Raging Colonoscopies started the concert, the "lead guitarist" felt it necessary to fine tune his amplifier as if he were about to kick off Woodstock.

... (tweek the gain)
...(tweek the gains)
... (tweek the gain)

And just when you think he was done..


-- Oops, too loud.

And it went on like this for 5 whole minutes!!! I don't have any idea how he felt it necessary to make such fine adjustments in that setting. First of all, the bar has the acoustic qualities of a bathroom in a cave (let me say, that joke would KILL in an acoustical engineers seminar). And more importantly, the entire audience is within a 10 foot radius!! Yes, we can freakin’ hear you!

After the 5 minutes of adjustments they started to play their first song. They made it to the second chorus and then just stopped.... to take a 10 minute break. Guess all that checking was exhausting.

During this break we all started talking again, and from out of nowhere a woman snuck up right next to me and asked "You guys got any shit?" A long awkward pause ensued... No one else at the table wanted to say anything so I took a stab at it. "Define shit," I said back to her.

"You know, crack, cocaine, whatever". Oh, snap! After another awkward pause I tried again "Look lady, I just got back from Bible school so I really don’t--" She cut me off because she apparently didn't believe that I was the Bible school type. Probably because what I actually said "fucking Bible school". Me and my damn foul mouth... She eventually got bored with us and moved on. Its a good thing crack heads have shorter attention spans than Golden Retrievers.