Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Travel Tales: Journey to My-Yammy

*The following is true account.*
Travel has always been a component of my job throughout my career. When you combine my work-related travel with my personal enjoyment of "people watching" plus my side hobby of writing and blogging, travel provides a seemingly never-ending supply of content for my blog. Thus was born my Travel Tales series. Today I am in Miami, Florida speaking at a Global Conference on Pet Nutrition. I flew out of Palm Springs on an early flight, still half asleep but resigned to bag a few zzzzz's on the cross-country journey. The moment I sat down I knew I would not be able to sleep. Partly due to some distracting passengers, and partly my strange desire to hear it all. I was comfortably settled in my seat, observing these representatives of humanity slowly crawl down the narrow aisles. I looked down at my Blackberry momentarily to check e-mail when I heard the voice of an excited and bubbly woman chatting. She was overwhelmed with excitement of being on a plane. I glanced up at her as she approached-she looked to be in her mid-thirties. Her perfectly-coiffed blond hair sat on her head like a helmet. She was dressed as though she had put a great deal of thought into what she picked out to wear that day (see photo of actress Pat Priest for a visual image). I made the fatal mistake of making eye contact. "Hi my name is Connie!" she boomed. "This is my first flight and I am SO excited". I feigned a smile and immediately dove for my carry-on bag to find my headphones and iPod. Much to my horror, she was sitting right behind me. It could have been worse, I thought, imagine if she were in my row. Already seated next to her was a big burly man, middle-aged with a dyed mustache that resembled broom bristles. His eyebrows looked like giant caterpillars. Through my head phones I could hear Connie introduce herself to the big burly man next to her. Turns out she won this trip in a contest and it was her first time ever traveling. As Connie chatted with the big burly man next to her, he launched into small talk, except there wasn't anything small about it. In fact he had a big huge voice that bellowed several rows in every direction. I watched his caterpillar eyebrows move up and down as he spoke. Then suddenly, I looked to my left, and standing next to me, signaling that she wanted into the row was "Amazon Woman". I started to remove my headphones and stood up to move out into the aisle, but before I could do so, she lumbered in, past me, stepping on my toes. I winced in pain as I felt my toes meld into one piece of flesh. My eyes watered. As Amazon Woman sat down next to the window, even she turned around to see what all the noise was from Connie and big burly man. Before I could get my headphones back on, Amazon Woman sparked up a conversation: "Are you going to My-Yammy too?" I thought for a moment, this woman can't be too bright, because in fact we were all going to Miami. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt and just nodded. I'm not sure why I didn't actually speak, but no words came out. Perhaps because her appearance scared me some. She was very very tall, with a wild black hair, and enormous hands and feet. Meanwhile Connie kept chatting away endlessly pressing all the buttons and admiring the blankets provided. Later, when the in-flight service began, big burly man ordered a vodka and tomato juice, which he immediately justified as a cure for his "restless leg syndrome". This seemed utterly ridiculous, but fascinated Connie which led to a two hour conversation about health issues. Turns out big burly man not only suffers from restless leg syndrome, but also sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction, allergies and what he called "carpet tunnel syndrome". As soon as I heard him say that, my eyes shot open. Carpet tunnel syndrome? He must mean carpal tunnel (as in the wrists). Well not only did he continue to explain it, but Connie kept repeating it back to him: "Ooooohhh that carpet tunnel syndrome sounds just awful, how do you catch it?" She asked. Big burly man replied that he caught it from his job. When she asked what he did for a living he told her he was a truck driver for guess who- Shaw floors and carpets (honestly what are the odds?). Connie drew the conclusion that he must have caught it from the carpets he was delivering. Big burly man agreed (although in all fairness I think he meant from the repetitive pressure and movement, but not actually FROM the carpets. Anyway, I tried to contain my fit of giggles and managed a fake cough instead. Amazon Woman looked over toward me and asked if we could use the restrooms "up there". I gazed back at her. Within a millisecond I decided to have fun with her, so once again I didn't respond verbally, I just shrugged my shoulders in a quizzical manner. She quickly stood up and banged her head on the ceiling- I immediately thought of Herman Munster, except if it were an episode of The Munsters, his head would have gone through the overhead cabin and he would have exclaimed "Uh, Lily!!" By the time my mind came back to the moment, Amazon Woman was walking past me, but I was still seated, and of course she stepped on my other foot this time. I reached down to hold my foot as it throbbed in pain. Amazon Woman grunted as she made her way down the aisle, knocking into an elderly woman's head who shrieked loudly.

Meanwhile Connie was helping call the flight attendant over so big burly man could order another vodka. Connie explained to the attendant that her friend has restless leg syndrome and the vodka really helps him. The flight attendant was nonplussed and returned with the mini-bottle. 'Ahhh, perfect", barked big burly man. By this time he was three vodkas into it, and he was guffawing loudly at virtually everything Connie said.


Amazon Woman returned- this time I pulled my legs up onto the seat, Indian style. "How soon until we get to My-Yammy?" she asked me. I figured, why start talking now, so I just twisted my face into an expression that indicated I didn't understand English. So she asked me a second time, but more loudly, and slowly: 'WHAT TIME TILL WE GET TO MY-YAMMY?" I just shook my head and raised my shoulders, still saying nothing. I was having fun with this now.She finally gave up asking me and I secretly smiled inside. I watched her out of the corner of my eye. She was studying me, as if I were a rare species she had never seen before.
Amazon Woman leaned back in her seat and the combination of her weight and the fact that the big burly man was himself large, her seat hit his knees. He leaned forward and asked her to move forward a bit. As she adjusted her seat, she pulled and tugged at her head rest, and suddenly, off it came- the entire blue leather head rest came off in her hands. Again, I thought, she is Herman Munster. Big burly man shouted "Whoa now that's some strength you have there, honey". Amazon Woman turned deep red and continued to fumble with it, attempting to reconnect it in place. Connie called over the flight attendant for another vodka for her friend with restless leg syndrome and to ask for help with Amazon Woman's head seat malfunction. Frustrated with not being able to reconnect it, she just handed it over to the flight attendant. I watched the expression on the face of the flight attendant who was clearly intimidated by Amazon Woman. She sheepishly walked away with the head rest and exhaled deeply. Amazon Woman called out to the attendant, "Am I going to have to sit here all the way to My Yammy without a head rest? she asked. The flight attendant replied: "Well this flight is completely full, so we don't have any other seats for you".Amazon Woman grumbled and then in frustration jerked her head against the window shade, which let our a slight crack sound from the impact of her massive head. Herman Munster had struck again. I turned up the volume on my iPod and squeeze my eyes shut tightly as a heaved and laughed uncontrollably. Sometimes reality is better than fiction. And then I realized, this just was all-too deserving of a blog post.
-Rick Rockhill

13 comments:

kenju said...

Yikes. I can't imagine a long flight with those three.

Lois Grebowski said...

Rick, you're the man of my dreams... Love it!

Carpet tunnel syndrome. Bwahahahahaahaha! Hubby's going to see his "carpet tunnel" doc for a post-surgery checkup this morning... I read him the story, I told him to tell the doc. Dr. S will LOVE that story...

Sharon said...

Rick, I love your travel stories! Thansk for the laugh, I sure needed it. I'll share this with my son later tonight, he has the same sense of humor as I do and he'll really get a kick out of it too. Sorry about your toes but LOVE the story!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i once had a secretary that needed time off work for a tubal litigation...

smiles, bee
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

A Lewis said...

Need I even comment?? Maybe I should just say an obligatory "Umm hum."

bunnygirl said...

Yep, I'm traveling by car again this year!

KathyA said...

You are so funny and so very, very bad! :)

© Karelian Blonde said...

Brilliant Mr Rockhill! I cannot believe you could stay silent all the way through *LOL*

lime said...

life's rich pageant! or a parade of freaks....you choose. lol

Kanani said...

Oh my. This just made me laugh and laugh. I think you played it right by playing silent. "My-Ammy!" Hilarious!!

Cheryl said...

In all seriousness, this post MADE my night. I was laughing out loud with tears in my eyes. This was SO funny!!! Every part of it. Kudos. Hope your toes are OK.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Cheryl- I'm glad you found some enjoyment in this post. While its a true story, I was hoping the humor of it would translate to readers. :-)

circuitmouse said...

so funny!

...and your pics of My-Yammy were wonderful.

Check out Laura Cerwinske's photos if you can.

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