I love to travel; and I have been lucky enough to have traveled this world over. I love traveling even more so when a plane is involved. I still love flying, amid the new security precautions and all; I still get excited when it comes time to fly somewhere. I can’t sleep the night before a trip, that’s the depth of my love for travel. The moment I am dropped off at the airport I say my goodbyes hastily; I can’t want to get checked in. I show my license proudly and accept my ticket gratefully. This is my ticket; my ticket somewhere.
Most recently, my ticket somewhere was round trip from Boise Idaho to Southern California. The trip to So. Cal was uneventful, but the trip home, back to Boise, yearns to be retold. It defines why I love to travel so much.
The screening process is what it is, a strange monster of worries regarding ounces, shoes that can’t be kicked off quick enough, and one plastic tub per each personal item of the traveler. Once through the spin cycle of security, I eagerly enter ‘airport world’. Maybe it’s the cycled air, the florescent lighting, the other travelers, but suddenly I yearn to buy overpriced water and gum. I want to impulsively buy kitschy crap with my own city’s name on it, but know once the romance of being in the airport has been washed away by fresh air and sunlight, I’ll regret the purchase. Still, I want it.
I settle for a magazine, honey roasted peanuts (which is a strange thing since they are going to give them to me on the plane) and some juice that’s supposed to make all the problems of the world melt away because of the manufacturers’ clever use of a name, logo and color.
It’s time to board the plane. I sit next to the window; my preferred seat. I don’t care who I sit next to, it’s the destination that counts. Still, I have the kind of luck that usually sits me next to old women who share their life stories with me. I was brought up to be polite, respect my elders, so I usually smile politely and wile away my flight listening to the talkers.
Look, funnier folks than me have done some great comedic stuff regarding flying. Most recently, I like the sketches of a clever gentleman by the name Matthew Inman, who runs the website ‘The Oatmeal.’ If you have time check out The Crap We Put Up with Getting On and Off An Airplane, as well as, How Commercial Airplanes Should be laid out. Funny stuff.
On to my flight.
I flew Southwest and was herded on the plane in group B. I took my seat and watched nonchalantly as people passed up the chance to sit next to me. The flight attendants informed us that this was going to be a full flight so if the passengers found an empty seat they better take it. The aisle seat was taken up by an early 30’s looking young man, both arms were covered with sleeve tattoos; he had bleached blond hair and a decent look. He brought his Burger King on the plane with him and proceeded to eat his meal while the rest of the passengers finished boarding.
The middle seat was taken by a gentleman I came to refer to as ‘the Second Situation’. To put it simply, he was Jersey Shored out!
(Side Note: I don’t know much about the Jersey Shore, I’ve never watched an episode of the show, but I have seen the previews for the show and it seems you can’t get away from the crazy comings and goings of those kids. For those who don’t know, one of the guys on the Jersey Shore calls himself Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino. I don’t know much about him, but the name cracks me up. It’s why I decided to call my fellow passenger the ‘Second Situation.’)
The Second Situation couldn’t have been more than 5’9, he had perfectly coiffed hair, fitted into place by the perfect amount of product. He was perfectly tanned (all over I presumed), he wore a tight gray wife-beater (the better to show his muscles off). His overabundance of aftershave wasn’t as appealing to me as he thought it was. I had to turn my air toward him in an effort to keep the scent of this ‘Second Situation’ from causing too much nausea on my part. He sat down introduced himself to both myself and the Surfer next to me, but I never caught his name because he slurred it, and he quickly went into pointing out that he was listening to NASCAR on his smart phone.
The flight began as did the in-flight entertainment I had not anticipated. I was not part of the conversations that started, but occasionally the Second Situation would nudge my arm as he proclaimed certain details and say “she knows what I mean” as he laughed in his slurred tenor. I became every writers dream on that flight; I became a fly on the wall.
My first impression of the Second Situation was that he was lit. Capital L.I.T. Now, I’m pretty sure it was alcohol, but what drugs were on top of that, one can only guess. He started his endless commentary by asking if we liked NASCAR, not waiting for the answer he pointed to me and told me his girl was pregnant and due in April, he had a lot of baby mamma drama that was starting, did I know what he meant? He nudged me in the arm, again not waiting for a reply he looked to the Surfer in the aisle seat and asked him what he was up to. Surfer informed us he had recently moved to Bosie, Idaho to open a surf shop, river surfing being (apparently) a rising sport across this great nation of ours.
The Second Situation was headed to Boise to train Gold’s Gym trainers. He started in a few days, but before that, he had the hook up, ‘got my girl picking me up when I get there, she works at Hooters. Got the Hooters hook up, you know what I mean?’ He nudged my elbow along with the Surfers. I didn’t know what he meant.
He went on to inform us both that he has spent the ‘last fucking four days just marinating in the fucking sun in fucking Vegas. You know how it is, fun in the sun and all that.’ Again, not sure I did know how it was.
Oh yeah, every third word out of the Second Situations’ mouth was ‘fuck’. Used as an adjective, verb, noun, adverb. Every seventh ‘fuck’ out of his mouth was followed by an arm nudge and the phrase ‘excuse my language, you know what I fuckin mean?’ Okay, sure.
This was how it went when the conversation really got going and I disappeared.
Situation: Dude, cool tats, where you get em?
Surfer: Penn State.
Situation: Dude, good school?
Surfer: (laughs) No man, I got ‘em in the State Penn.
Situation: How long were you in for?
Surfer: A nickel.
Situation: Ain’t nothing wrong with that, fuck, I probably should have been in by now for something, you know what I mean? What they get you for?
Surfer: I was carrying.
Surfer: (laughs) No, marijuana.
Situation: Man, you don’t do no nickel for just having a little bit of dope on you.
Surfer: Let’s just say I was a business man early on.
Situation: Cool, cool. But you change your ways, got the fuckin’ surf thing going. Hey man, if you ever want to get ripped, I’ll train you. You could give me surf lessons in return. Fuckin, that’s the way to do it.
Surfer: Could do that.
Situation: Where is the best fucking surfing?
Surfer: Costa Rica.
Situation: Really? Fuckin’ hot man.
Surfer: Well, it could have been the blow that made it good.
Situation: They got good blow there? Shit I bet they got fucking great blow. Best blow I ever had was in Havasu, had a cousin who had it. Best fuckin’ sun and blow in Havasu. You been there?
Surfer: Yeah man. Havasu is cool.
(Two thoughts here: Why is it always someone’s cousin who is the one who is getting the drugs? And second: is there anything better than two guys on a plane talking about blow?)
Situation: You know, I talk about drinking and fucking shit, but when I’m training I’m clean. I drink like 3 gallons a day for a week when I’m getting ready for a competition. Fuckin’ water and creatine dude.
The Situation started to sell his services to the Surfer, he was going to put him on a one month program and by the end of the month, if followed to the letter, no fucking around, the surfer could look like the Second Situation. Granted he would have to get a perm and start using product to get that greasy look going, but still, one month.
I asked a few questions of my seat mate, I figured since he had ordered 3 vodka and sodas he wouldn’t really catch anything I said, so I referred to him as I saw fit, “Hey, Second Situation, where do you live?” He gets to travel everywhere and doesn’t call anywhere home really. He never seemed to mind my calling him ‘the Second Situation’, nor did he notice. It made me happy.
The flight was over as quickly as it began, and the lit Second Situation was declaring his undying fidelity and friendship to the Surfer because ‘I don’t fuck around with friendship man. I know we just fuckin’ met an all, but we’re gonna be friends man, and I break my back for fuckin’ friends man.’
I’m not sure how the Surfer felt about all of this, I wonder if he was just humoring a drunk ass Jersey Shore look-a-like, or if he thought there was something there.
They made tentative plans to meet up later that night at Hooters, but if it ever happened I don’t know. I learned a few things from that flight, that if I ever want to get into some real shit, I better find a cousin and we best head to Costa Rica. We might take a surf board with us.
I’d like to leave the Second Situation here, beefed up and raging about marinating in the sun, but I can’t. He did himself this one little favor, he dropped some wisdom on all those within listening range.
Situation: You like your job man?
Surfer: I have the best job ever, I design surf boards and run a company I started.
Situation: That’s fuckin’ right man. You know, God gives us each something we’re really good at. And when you figure out what you’re really good at, you do it. Just fuckin’ do it, cuz that’s your thing man. God will figure out how you can live a life if you just keep doing that one thing your good at and enjoy the fuck out of it.
Oh Second Situation, you greasy little monkey you, why did you have to go bringing God and some strange wisdom into it?
Alas, I love traveling. You never know where it is really going to take you.