Cocktail hour. Watching a Friends rerun with Mom (Chandler and Joey get a chicken). Remembering how boring Friends got. Remembering my scrawled notes from our flight down, which I decipher for you now, because it’s better than watching television and dinner isn’t ready:
“I don’t hate many people. 2. Maybe 3. But I can tell, by the end of this flight, that I am going to hate Chandler. Chandler is sitting directly behind me. Chandler has to go potty. Chandler needs a tissue. Chandler needs to kick the back of my chair. Chandler needs his ipod. Chandler needs a tissue.
To which I would add: Chandler needs to chill the fuck out because we haven’t even pushed back from the gate yet.
Then I put my notebook away because my agitated scribbling was worrying the woman next to me, so the rest is vague reconstruction of the flight.
To be fair, I didn’t start out hating Chandler. I felt bad for the kid. I knew all of these things about him (knees to me vertebrae notwithstanding) because the woman he was travelling with made pronouncements about his welfare non-stop. I was willing to cut Chandler some slack. Until, that is, I turned around to give him The Death Stare for the kicking and realized that Chandler wasn’t a child. And he was reading the Wall Street Journal, so I doubt he was mentally incapacitated.
Chandler was a pussy-whipped, Dockers-wearing Yuppie.
That’s when I started to feel the hate.
This all went on a bit longer and then: Death Stare #2.
The second Death Stare was the charm and he seemed to develop a touch of self-awareness about where he was placing his knees. At least for 20 minutes.
The woman even lowered her voice, although that may have been coincidental. Soon I realized to my horror that we were seated in front of Chandlers Sr and Jr. And Jr was merely unconscious.
Somewhere over North Carolina, I decided I might not actually have to kill the Chandlers. I would instead pity the Chandlers, I decided somewhere over North Carolina. The fate of Mother of Chandler Jr/Wife of Chandler Sr was still on the table. But the Chandlers, they would be spared, I decided somewhere over North Carolina. Somewhere over North Carolina was also when the second valium kicked in.
Somewhere over South Carolina, Chandler Jr revived, there was a seat rodeo and Chandler, Jr ended up seated behind me.
That little bastard had on cleats, there’s no other explanation for how one human could be that annoying kicking the back of a seat.
On the upside, the prodigious amounts of gobby mucous issuing from his nose ended up in the hair of the woman next to me. She was travelling with a toddler so I figured she didn’t care. Woman with Chandlers didn’t seem to care, which perplexed me a bit, because it wasn’t like he did it once and stopped. Or that he sneezed quietly. It was a profound quantity of phlegm. It glimmered like gossamer in the woman’s frosted blonde updo (that may have also been the valium talking).
Despite the snotting and the horking and the smearing, Woman With Chandlers never stopped nagging. I’ve never heard anything like it.
Somewhere over Northern Florida I believe I was possessed by the disembodied spirit of a trucker. A steady stream of silent obscenities thrummed through my brain.
I wasn’t sure how much longer I was going to be able to keep from turning around and disemboweling one or all of them.
That’s when we hit massive turbulence of the kind that makes people shut up and make peace with their god. I love that kind of turbulence. It gets nice and quiet on the plane. People seem to be largely incapable of praying and pissing me off at the same time, and I’m good with that.