I am getting tired of hitting the same note, again and again. I am sure some of you are getting tired of it too. This has been a miserable year, made more miserable each day as we get closer to November 8th. So instead of dwelling on grief or the sad state of our democratic process I figured I would relay a short story of a flight Melissa took last year to see her family for her 40th birthday. It includes an overheard conversation between an old married couple from Long Island. I don't think I can do the story the justice it deserves, because she made it so much richer with her spot on imitation of the accent. I will try. Just imagine everything sounding like Fran Drescher.
Melissa's sister and Mom brought Melly east last August to celebrate her 40th. They had a long girls weekend, including going to a Zach Brown Band concert. Melissa had been feeling some amount of depression that summer. She was preoccupied with her milestone birthday and was not really satisfied with the state of things in her life. It was another hot and terrible summer, and she had spent the past couple of weeks earlier that summer at Mayo, rigged up to all kinds of monitoring equipment, hoping to capture one of her seizure events. After two solid weeks of being cooped up in a hospital room, wired up, we threw in the towel and went home. Now, her birthday is in September, but her sister Kelly and her Mom decided they were going to celebrate early. It was a trip she absolutely needed. We all gained so much strength from Melly, but it is just as clear that she got a lot from all of us. Her relationship with Kelly was probably the closest one in her life. Being able to be with Kelly and Linda for a few days brightened her life when she needed it. My only regret is that I wasn't there with them for the visit, because it is clear from the stories that she had a blast.
On the Southwest flight home she got an aisle seat just in front of the aforementioned Long Islanders. They were clearly in an argument of some sort, but were doing their best to keep it quiet in a very public space. To hear her tell it they were flying to Phoenix to look at buying a house. The lady was talking very loudly to a real estate agent when he tried to interject to get her quiet down. What followed was four hours of quiet hectoring. If I can recall it correctly, it went something like this:
Wife on the phone (loudly): "ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN-TY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS"
"NO, NO, I DON'T KNOW, THAT IS WHAT THEY SAID. IT IS IN A PLACE CALLED SUN CITY OR SOMETHING. I DON'T KNOW. IT'S HOT THERE. WHY DO THEY HAVE TO REMIND US BY CALLING IT AFTER THE SUN? HOLD ON"
Husband leaning in, whispering to her that she is talking too loud.
Wife to husband: "WHAT? What is your problem Bob? What do you want? I am talking to Flo, she wants to hear about our trip. No, I will not keep it down. Let me finish."
Wife, returning to Flo on the phone: "OH, IT'S JUST BOB. HE THINKS I'M BEING TOO LOUD. WELL TOO BAD. THEY CAN ALL DEAL WITH IT. I DON'T CARE."
Wife on phone: "YEAH. YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT. I WILL CALL YOU WHEN WE LAND. I DON"T KNOW. THEY SAY THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. I DON'T KNOW. I WILL TRY TO GET ONE FOR YOU. I DON'T KNOW, FLO. OK. OK. BYE-BYE!"
At this point a woman coming down the aisle looking for a seat asks if she can take the widow spot in their row.
Wife: "And what is YOUR problem?"
Other passenger: "Can I take the window seat?"
Wife: "Ughh... Fine."
She then makes no effort to get up to allow the other passenger in. Bob (the husband) asks her to stand up in the aisle so the other passenger can get to the window seat.
Wife: "What Bob? What do you want now? Oh, I have to get up now? Well good. That makes a lot of sense. It's like two against one here. I WILL TELL YOU SOMETHING, THIS IS NOT HOW I WOULD DO THINGS. Southwest, more like SOUTHWORST. It's just like what Flo said."
Other passenger pauses to put her bag in the overhead bin.
Wife: "Can you hurry it up please? You are holding all of these people up."
Other passenger: "I have to put my bag up. It is too big to go under the seat and I'd like some leg room."
Wife: "Well good. Good for you. We'd all like a little leg room wouldn't we."
Other passenger: "um... yeah?"
Wife: "Ok then. Let's get this show on the road. What Bob? What? You don't think she's being slow. Look at all these people waiting."
According to Melly, there were two other people and a flight attendant in the aisle at this point. They were putting up bags for others seats, not waiting.
A little while later in the flight, Melissa overhears more of their conversation. Bob has apparently been trying to sleep in the middle seat, but has been woken up.
Wife: "...and that's the problem. You are boring Bob. You are. You're just like Gail, you're boring. You and Gail. The two most boring people on Earth. That's what I always tell Flo. Wait until she hears about this. I hope there are some more exciting people in Sun Town..."