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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adventures in Baby Flying

When I fly, I can't help but to think of the miracle of life.  And when I'm done thinking about bacon-wrapped scallops, flying usually makes me think of kids.  They're everywhere these days, but when they're in the airport, on the airplane, occasionally I'm forced to cohabit with them.

With babies on the plane, I try to be understanding.  Appreciative even.  Logically speaking, we, the human race that is, need babies to keep this whole clown show going.  I mean, I’ve watched the National Geographic Channel.  I know how it works.  Some of us must simply bite the bullet and agree to pump out and wrangle these knee-knockers for the good of mankind.  And I suppose, conceivably, these same people also have cause to fly at times.  So when I see a tired mom plodding down the plane aisle, baby draped about her neck, toddler dragged belligerently behind her, I give her a little nod of appreciation.  She usually seems pretty creeped out by this, but I think she knows what going on.  She’s carrying the load.  She isn't some selfish miscreant totally lacking in social consciousness and self awareness, she's a modern day Frodo Baggins, bearing the ring to Mordor for the good of all Middle Earth.  Thank you Mama Frodo, thank you for your sacrifice.

That being said… there were some seriously annoying-ass babies aboard my recent flights back to school.  For anyone about to take off soon, you might just want to jot down some quick notes here for a rough guide book into Air Baby Land. 

"I've had enough of these mother f^#$@!* babies on this mother f^#$@!* plane!"

First, let's talk about the white tiger of babies on a plane, the rarest of rare, the double pink Starburst in the baby pack that make all the rest look like lemons--the sleeping kid.  I love this kid!  He gets aboard and some combination of recycled air and fat guys grazing his head as they pass through the aisle conks him out.  The same thing happens for me.  This kid should get an award for his valor in service, an accommodation at least.  He should get to fly in the cockpit with the pilot, he should get to be the pilot, he should get to be the president!  Hail to the Chief, of my heart anyway. 

Then there is the classic stereo-crier; the kid who sounds like he’s being punched in the face for the entire trip.  The crying kid on my plane never stopped sobbing and screaming, exploding at the mouth with snotty, gurgling discharges.  She sounded like she was drowning, literally drowning in her own tears and snot, crying out in labored pig squeals.  And she was angry about it.  She actually sounded angry, she sounded like an angry pig, like she was trying to express her outrage over being forced into this pressurized metal tube and was pissed off even more because no one was getting that.  Some babies cry out in fear and confusion, but not Baby Angry Pig.  She was straight pissed and wanted everyone know it.

Baby Angry Pig approximation.
I also had a Narrating Kid on one of my flights.  A Narrator Kid isn’t upset like a Crying Kid or unconscious like the harrolded Asleep Kid.   He’s fine, but feels compelled to spend every moment on the plane babbling.  Flying with a Narrating Kid was like flying with a dysfunctional Garmin that tells you exactly where you are at that very moment, every moment. 

“We’re moving!  We’re moving!  We’re moving!  We’re taking off!  We’re taking off!  We’re in the air!  We’re flying! We’re flying! We’re flying! We’re flying! We’re flying! We’re flying!  We’re eating peanuts!  We’re flying!  We’re flying!  We’re flying!  We’re landing!”

The Narrating Kid on my flight was so fucking excited about every moment of his life that I was begrudgingly envious of him.  I wished that I could be as excited about anything as he was about everything.  But mostly, I was annoyed.  Unfortunately, like the Crying Kid, the Narrating Kid’s parents were too busy visualizing the glorious day when they would release their burden into the bowels of Mount Doom (college) to have the social awareness necessary to have asked their kid to just shut up for a second.  Where's a Ring Wraith when you need one?

But again, it’s a small price to pay for the continuation of our species.  I might have to put up with the Angry Pig and Kid Garmin for a few hours, but their parents have years left with these guys who will eventually morph into Biting Kid and then finally Kid Who only visits once or twice a year because he’s just really busy and last week he had this thing, and see, it just makes more sense to wait another two months until Christmas and God, can you just let it go already!  That kid sucks.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why You Should Always Give out Fake Numbers

There are some things that you only get the chance to do once; seeing Haley’s Comet, watching a perfect game in baseball, stuff like that.  Answering a ringing payphone is another one.  It's the kind of thing that is only accomplished in movies, movies made prior to 2003 because that’s the last time anyone used a payphone.  Just spotting one on the street is like finding a horse-drawn carriage—ooh, ahh, it’s so weird to think that people once used these.  How quaint!  Seeing someone using a payphone is incredible and hearing a one ring is straight unbelievable.

When I heard one ringing while on the way to the bar with my friends the other night, I had to answer it.  In full disclosure, I did this under the influence of peer pressure and alcohol, but I think this is the gist of my conversation with the payphone;

Me:  Hello?

Payphone: Where are you?

At a payphone outside of a Bank of America.  Were you trying to call a payphone outside of a Bank of America?

Get here.

Did you know that you’re calling a payphone?  You’re calling a payphone.  Are you from 1987?  Are you a time traveler from 1987?  What’s Michael J. Fox really like?

Just get here already and be naked?

(pregnant pause) What?

Get here now with your clothes off, all of them.

And you’re at a bar?  With people there?


Are your clothes off?


Are other people’s clothes off?

They will be if you get here.

Is there some kind of contest going on?  Like some kind of naked contest?  Like the first ten people to get naked at the bar get a free beer?

At this point my friends are wondering just who is on the other end of this phantom payphone call and why I’m still talking to her.  Perhaps I’m buying drugs.  They’d understand if they knew about the naked part.

You promised that you’d come!

Well with that attitude, I won’t.

I’m sorry.

It’s okay.

You promised that you’re coming.

Okay, I guess I promised I'm coming.

And take your clothes off.   

So what, you want me to take my clothes off before getting to the bar?  Like take them off on the way to the bar?  On the street?  See, I’m confused.

No, you just need to take them off.  Off, off, all off!

So keep my clothes on?


Okay, you get started now and I’ll catch up.

Love you baby.

I know.


Han says answer first, shoot questions later.
Score, a total Han Solo “I love you” moment.  I could check off another thing off my once-in--lifetime list.  So what happened here?  Did this girl misdial?  The product of a drunken mashing of keys?  Probably not.  More likely some guy gave her a wrong number, but did he do so knowing it was to a payphone?  Was it just some cosmic luck of the draw, or perhaps even more unlikely, did he actually examine this payphone to use its number for just such an occasion?  Maybe it was the bar randomly calling payphones, hoping passer-byers might pick it up and flock there for the promise of naked people.  Whatever this had been, I was glad to have been a part of it.

My friends and I continued on and when we got to the bar I discovered I had forgotten my ID and thanks to living in a college town, I had to go back to my car to retrieve it, which took me by the payphone again, which was ringing again.  Praying that it might be the same caller from a few minutes ago, letting it ring all this time undaunted by the lack of a voicemail pick-up on this “cell phone”, I ran over to answer it before it stopped.  I picked it up; 

Payphone: Where are you?

Me:  I know, I know, but see I ran into King Arthur on the street, and well, we had a lot of catching up to do.

Oh, okay.  C’mon get here and get naked?

Now have other people gotten naked yet?  Because you said—

You promised!

Hey you promised first!  I think…  


I’m on my way.  Hey, say my name.


Ug, my name would be Tyler.

And say your name.


To me, it just sounded like  Kellee spelled her name with a "double-E", and possibly with a "triple-L".

Well, Kelllee, Tyler is on his way.  He promises.


And you know that one thing I said and/or did last night? 


I didn’t really mean it.

I know.


I have to pee.

Hmm, are you sure?

(pause for thinking and/ or urinating) Yes. 

Okay, just checking.

So you promise you’re coming?


Don’t make me cry.

No, you don't make me cry!

Love you.

Hmm, what’s something else Han Solo would say?

Tell Jabba I got his money.

Okay.  See you soon!


I didn’t pass the payphone again that night or go to Kellee's bar, but I’d like to think that somewhere there’s a really infuriated Kellee yelling at a really confused Tyler in a bar and everybody's naked.  For me, the moral of this story is always give out fake numbers to payphones so that some stranger can be entertained for a few minutes and later write a blog post about it.  It's pretty cliche, I know.