Last night I flew from SFO to Palm Springs. Naturally, my flight was delayed by 2 hours. I am typically patient and was last night, so I just made the most of my airport time (there is a candy shop in Terminal 2, everyone!).
Once on the plane, though, we managed to go nowhere for 30 minutes. A young woman behind me was talking at what I would call an “outside voice” level, if outside had maybe a lawnmower and a leaf blower running at the same time. She wanted wine and for the flight to takeoff already. I quickly got the impression she had plenty of wine prior to boarding.
Our pilot got on the overhead sound system: “Right when we approached the runway, our plane got a maintenance message, so we’re going to restart both engines and see if we can get it cleared.”
My new galpal immediately announced to anyone within earshot, “I am going to lose my SHIT.” First of all, ew. I bet she wasn’t even wearing a diaper. (Ha cool joke Amanda.) She then, of course, began suggesting, “If they’re going to make us wait, they might as well give us wine!” which the flight attendant quickly shut down.
It was at that time that my father — who would be picking me up at PSP — called. “I bet you’re probably frustrated.”
“Actually, I’m pretty OK. Of course, I’d prefer to be with you and possibly getting ready for bed right now” — (it was about 7:30 at this point; I was very tired) — “but I’d rather we be safe.”
I was very pleased at how much I actually MEANT this. I really was, like, Xanax-level chill. That’s the thing about me: When someone else is freaking out, I see how they are, and my response is to be the exact opposite. Maybe it’s a lead-by-example thing; maybe it’s just me trying to snootily be better than this crazy bitch. But when it manifests like this, making me look like a calm and collected W-O-M-A-N, I don’t hate it.
In the interest of time, I’ll tell you quickly that the plane was fine and we made it to PSP.
Once we touched down, my girl started up again as though there was an ambient noise level of an apocalypse.
“I can’t have ANY electronics. No phone, iPad, nothing.” I assume she is headed to a much-needed silent yoga retreat, until she continues, “No KINDLE. Like, who could I hurt with a Kindle?”
What does she mean, who will she “hurt?” Is this a strangely pacifist community?
Then I remembered a joke she had loudly made during the flight: “You know what, I’m not holding it against her.” (I don’t know what “it” was.) “Maybe she got in a fight with her husband. MAYBE… she’s going to REHAB.” She said this dramatically emphasized and with a bit of an insecure laugh.
Remembering this made me realize: this chick is on her way to REHAB. The desert is home to the Betty Ford Center, a classic place for addicts (especially someone demanding wine loudly on a plane). This realization was affirmed by the fact that her friend said, “Do you still want me to walk with you to the curb?” and her responding, “Yeah, if you don’t mind. Just until they pick me up.” DAMN!
To borrow a sentiment, I’m not holding her loud and obnoxious presence against her: maybe she is heading to rehab. I’m thankful I’m not. I’m thankful I have this weird responsive mechanism that makes me like Mother Theresa-level calm when someone’s acting the opposite. And most of all, I’m thankful I purchased all that candy at the airport to enjoy with this in-flight entertainment. I wish my new BFF the best in her healing.