Monday, October 17, 2005

Just add me to the do not fly list

My sister and I have a bizarre relationship but it works for us. We scream, fight, will even smack each other and at the end, one of us will always start to cry. We walk away, we both simultaneously call my mother, pout. Then we walk over to each other, get invaded by the spirit of Dr. Phil, use ‘I feel’ messages and come to the root of our problem—usually blaming how our parents raised us. Promise never to fight, then have some of the most intense conversations that shed light into our characters.

Knowing how important it is to my mom that we present the ‘good’ rendition of ourselves, we try to keep these outbursts in check whenever we go down to FL. Despite all of the nuttiness such as my mom fighting with her sister and putting us in the middle, we have this uncanny ability to remain composed, be thoughtful, soft spoken, people think we are well bred young women…until the airplane.

We have nobody to impress on the airplane, and unfortunately it is there that all of our pent up aggression from the weekend gets let out. It begins on the way to the airport, my mother resentful that my Aunt didn’t drive us and that we had to take car service. She spends the 45 min journey talking the ear off about how crappy her sister treated her to the poor retired Jewish Floridian who drives his mini-van so that he doesn’t have to eat cat food. My sister and I interject that to keep harping that my Aunt is a terrible hostess is just bad karma and poor taste. Meanwhile my mother can’t get over that her sister didn’t drive us to the airport. My sister and I go into a fantasy world of talking about our perfect wedding. Mine with an ambulance parked outside.

Confronted with “If you gain anymore weight, you’ll have saggy boobs” (I have actually lost by the way—my sister lost weight and I just look heavier compared to her) and a horrible case of wedding fever (my brother’s engagement and having attended weddings back to back weekends), my conversation with my sister revolved around weddings: where to have one, the theme, color scheme, all the stuff that women love. And of course, talk about weddings and being confronted with hoards of cute babies by women who are YEARS younger than me, makes me develop a case of baby fever.
This may come as a surprise, but when the fag hag of Greenwich Village got to the airport, I almost bought Modern Bride as reading material for the flight back, about to forgo my Atlantic Monthly and its Upper West side liberal intelligentsia values. With my brother’s engagement, all these weddings and friends getting pregnant, this maternal part of me reared its ugly head. I can’t explain it. Holding my cousins’ and Uncle and Aunt’s (they are not under 25) babies, made me realize how much I want to have children and have the white picket fence enclosing my compound.

Granted this is all coming from the girl whose friends have given her future dog a weight minimum because their biggest fear is that I come home drunk from an evening partying and accidentally puncture my small dog with my stiletto as it runs to greet me. Without realizing that my dog is attached to my heel, I keep on walking around the apt in a drunken stupor as I stuff pirates booty into my belly to satisfy the post-drinking munchies, as the dog’s yelps for mercy falls on deaf ears.

My sister knocks me to my senses and convinces me it is a terrible idea.

We see that our flight is boarding and board the plane, my mother and I simultaneously cursing my sister under our breath for booking us seats at the back of the plane. The way back. The second to last row which is dangerous for people like my mother and me who are PETRIFIED of flying since you feel all of the turbulence.

As we board my sister reminds me of my promise that I would help her with her HW assignment, developing her ideas into cohesive sentences. I tell her that I need to take a nap but will help her by the flights end. She tells me that I will help her in half an hour.

Oh she did not!

But she did! Telling me when I will help her…

I try to doze off, listening to some Franz Ferdinand, and find that I can’t sleep. She takes my inability to sleep as an open door that I am ready to help her.

We begin to fight.

“When ever you want me to do something, I drop what I am doing and help you!” she wails.

“I understand, but you need to understand that you are asking me to be creative and I can’t just be creative at the drop of a hat.”

“You are such a bitch!”

“Fuck you!” I yell, as passengers look towards us. “I don’t fucking get it. How many times do I help you with your HW. You have to respect my time.”

She replies with some remark in a condescending voice.

Out of frustration, losing control and in a blind rage, I take the tray in front of me and hit it as hard as I possibly can, repeatedly.

I shook the seat in front of me. The woman turns to her friend and says, “That bitch is lucky that my back wasn’t to the seat, or else I would have smacked her across the face.” But I am in LI girly mode having spent a weekend pretending to be one. Instead of being worried for my personal safety, I think that she may sue me for whiplash.

At this point my mother looks up, with her pen and paper in hand. She was writing the answers to the trivia game that you can play on Song against the other passengers. Nothing would stop her from getting the top score. Everyone would know that Lynn B. on the Flight from Ft. Lauderdale to JFK knew the most trivia.

“Mom! You were writing the answers to the trivia game?!” asked my sister in disbelief.

In all seriousness, did winning at that trivia game mean that much to my mom that she had to cheat?!

As we are probing my mother for her motivations as to why she feels it necessary to cheat, we see a Hasidic with a secular Jew walking towards the back of the plane.

An aside: Hasidics will routinely walk around and ask usually men if they are Jewish so that they could wrap Telfin so that a Jew who ordinarily wouldn’t could perform a mitzvah.

My mother continues to stare as other passengers stopped staring.

She is staring so hard that it is embarrassing.

“Mom, stop staring it isn’t polite!” my sister says.

“Yea, mom, you look a little weird.” I say.

“I just want to learn about what they are doing! Shannon, what is it?!” she asks.

My sister interjects, “If you really want to learn more, read a fucking book! You are embarrassing us!”

“Uhm, yea mom.” As I am explaining about Hasidics and the telfin, I stop suddenly and ask, “Mom, you’re the Jew. You grew up with this, I don’t understand how you don’t know this.”

Mom continues to stare at the poor Hasidic and then busts out laughing at him! She is laughing at her own kind. It isn’t malicious but more of a nervous laugher because she noticed people watching her stare at the Hasidic. She turns her head, but continues to glance over and chuckle. Over and over again. I put my sunglasses on and the hood over my head, and ask loudly for a drink.

My sister goes to the bathroom, not wanting to be associated with us and as she is gone we encounter bad turbulence.

My mom and I, at the exact same time, make small yelps, grab onto our knees and put our hands over our heard. I start to develop tears in my eyes, “I am so sorry, I hate flying, I love you mom, I am sorry that I am mean to you sometimes.” “She grabs my arm and the plan starts to shake. We both scream.

The turbulence stops, and my sister returns to her seat, with my mom arm in arm, scared shitless, saying how we both hate to fly.

“You know, this is just turbulence. This is perfectly normal. I just don’t get the both of you.” She says.

Yea, I don’t get it either. And the passengers wanted to throw us out. The problem with flying in the back is besides the turbulence, if you make an ass out of yourself, there is no quick graceful exit when you are forced to see the passengers around you face to face. As we learned when we landed, waiting for the passengers to disembark. What made it even worse was that my mom began to talk to the passengers around us about their trips as we waited for them to let us out.

And we were the sophisticated NYers.


Post a Comment

<< Home