December 21, 2001



ADD Boy Is My Co-Pilot

  Airborne again, American Airlines Flight 1477, DFW to Las Vegas, where I'll change planes for a connection through to LAX. We'll be doing a stream of consciousness entry for your traveling pleasure tonight. Please feel free to lower your tray tables and recline your seat backs to a comfortable position as we position our entry for take-off…

I've got ADD Boy sharing this row with me. He's a 15, maybe 16-year old kid with what looks like a roaring case of hyperactivity -- he can't sit still to save his life. Fortunately there's an empty seat between us. In the last 10 minutes or so he has:

  • Repeatedly smacked himself in the face with his baseball cap for several minutes
  • Repeatedly punched his fists together - hard - for several minutes
  • Rocked maniacally in his seat for several minutes
  • Climbed up into his seat so he's crouching in it, then returned to a seated position several times
The kid's out of control. I think I'll be using his activities as a counterpoint to this entry. I can tell he's going to be interesting.

Interesting flight this time around, lots of action and special favors for me from the stewardesses. Woo hoo. I'm seated toward the back of the plane (seat 29D on an MD-80, if you're interested - go here for a seating chart if you're into that sort of thing) and it's a little claustrophic back here what with the galley wall blocking the view on one side and the starboard engine completely filling the windows on the other. This lack of visual cues apparently proved to be too much for one of the more delicately put together passengers in the row behind me - he apparently went into the lavatory to hurl after take-off and didn't come out. His wife checked on him, he didn't respond to her knocking, she flipped out, the crew had trouble getting the door open to check on him, they put out a call over the PA for a doctor or nurse to "come to the rear of the plane immediately," a crowd quickly developed back there, much chaos ensued, and there had to be at least 27 cases of whiplash on the plane from all the people craning their necks to look toward the back to see what happened. Turns out the guy fainted. What a wuss.

There's a lonely, empty house waiting for me when I get home. Well, sort of empty - the dogs are there, assuming that they haven't run away again, of course. Aside from them, though, it'll be empty for all practical purposes - Beth and Zoe aren't there. They're in New York City as we speak; they flew there yesterday. Beth's cousin is getting married and Zoe is the flower girl, so they're there for the wedding Saturday night and will be home Sunday night. I'll tell you, as blasé as my own traveling has made me about flying, I still wasn't too thrilled about them being up in the air. I tracked their flight all the way across the country at this website (it's a pretty cool tool, actually) and didn't relax until it showed they'd touched down. After talking to Beth post-landing, I'm glad it didn't give me chapter and verse on the details of their flight - she said they were fighting really strong winds all the way down and had to do a go-around after the captain did a touch-and-go on the first approach. The second time, when he did put it down, he put it down hard. Airsick bags were in use all around them, Beth said. Zoe, of course, loved it.

ADD Boy is slamming Dr. Peppers now like they're tequila shooters. He's on his 2nd can already (he knocked the first one half-full onto the floor, where it remains, probably having spilled all over whomever's laptop is under his seat) and it's doing nothing for his sangfroid. He's bouncing around like a Superball now, dribbling on himself because he's rocking so hard as he drinks, rattling the ice in his cup, rockingrockingrocking. I'm getting tired just watching him. And ohmygod, he just asked for another Coke. Somebody get this kid a Valium, and quick!

Oh yeah, I mentioned special favors from the stewardesses. The wife of the guy who hurled needed help getting her suitcase down from the overhead bin so she could get, I don't know, maybe his anti-hurl-in-a-closed-environment medication. She was having trouble with it, so I helped her take it down, then helped her put it back up when she was finished. The stewardess was so impressed with how nice and kind I was that she insisted I take a few extra bags of whatever they call the snack mix they hand out now instead of the peanuts we all remember so fondly. I accepted her praise with humility - it was easier than confessing that the real reason I helped is that the woman had a few flecks of hubby's dinner on her blouse and I didn't want her puke encrusted body leaning over me.

Oh dear God, ADD Boy just ordered another Coke.

Speaking of the peanuts the airlines no longer serve… What's up with that? Everyone I've ever talked to about this remembers the peanuts and wishes they still served them. Nobody didn't like them. So why don't they serve them anymore? I dunno, but I have a theory: Peanut allergies. Somebody ate a peanut and had a reaction and sued and now none of us get peanuts anymore. Great, thanks for nothing, pinhead. We lose out because Darwin and George Washington Carver have got your number. I say: take responsibility for your own immune system and what you put into it. If you shouldn't eat peanuts, then don't freakin' eat peanuts; don't ask us not to have peanuts around just in case you accidentally eat one. It's your mouth, you pay attention to what you put in it. Me, I want my damned honey roasted peanuts back, and if you have to die because of it, well, I can live with that.

ADD Boy was spinning his empty Coke can on the tray table like a top for awhile -- very annoying, btw -- and he's now graduated to drumming with it. It's like a friggin' Neal Peart solo in here, except not really because this kid sucks. He's really starting to get on my nerves. This does not bode well. For him, that is. I'm fantasizing about doing a little physical intervention on him that will result in him sitting still, being quiet and being sort of, well, unconscious. Okay, now he's dropped the can on the floor. But fear not, it won't be lonely - keeping it company down there are (just what I can see from here) two napkins, a Dr. Pepper can, the Dr. Pepper soaking the carpet, several pretzels and crackers ground into the carpet, a pillow, and half of his blanket. The kid's a slob. No, wait… He's retrieved the can. Neal Peart Too can continue. Whew!

I've got the Dallas contingent of the Filipino High Rollers club a few rows behind me. They're going to Vegas, they're excited about it, they're very loud, and they're very very very gay. Multiple jokes could be made about their seats being in the tail of the plane, but I'm above making them. Instead, I just describe the setup and say I won't tell you the jokes and thus cause you to come up with them yourself. That's called interactivity, kids! I mention my friends in the rear (Hehehe! You said rear!) only because I encountered one of them at the urinals in the men's room prior to boarding the plane where he snuck the most blatantly obvious peek at my package I've ever seen. I almost asked if he planned to take a picture or if he wanted to hold it. I'm telling you, he was so in there checking it out that I damn near peed on him. I've never seen anything like it. (And neither has he. Ba-dump-bump!) So we'll be checking into the Luxur together later, my boldly inquisitive new lover and me. Tra la!

ADD Boy is squirming like he's got scorpions in his shorts and he's turned his light on and off about 50 times in the last few minutes. On the plus side, though, he has stopped pounding the sodas.

I'm supposed to have an hour between planes in Las Vegas, but this flight is running nearly 45 minutes late, so I think it's up in the air as to whether I'll make the connection or not. I'm fine with missing it - I can't think of a better city to be stuck between planes in. The last time I flew through here and had a connection, I "accidentally" missed it on the way home. I stuck my bag in an airport locker, grabbed a cab to the Strip, and played craps for a few hours before I flew stand-by on the last flight of the night. Now that's a layover. So I sort of almost kind of hope I do miss my connection tonight. And who knows? If I do, I might end up missing all the flights tonight and have to get the airline to put me up at the Venetian for the night. And why not? There's nobody counting on me to be home tonight.

On the ground in Vegas now, taxiing to the gate. ADD Boy has, if this is possible, cranked himself up to an even higher level of nervous energy. He's literally bouncing in his seat like Tigger, drumming on the armrest and ceiling, rocking like Rainman. And oh my: he speaks! He just commented to me on what a long, long flight this was. 2 and a half hours ain't that long, kid. You'd better hope you never go to Hawaii...

Let's say goodbye to ADD Boy now. He's taking his energy to some other lucky flight now. We'll miss him, won't we? Bye-bye...

Later, on my connecting flight now. I made it after all, and there was never any question that I would. There was no possible way my flight would arrive too late for me to make the connecting flight. Physically impossible. My connecting flight, you see, was on the same plane. Same plane, different flight numbers. I got off the plane and started looking for Gate D8 where I would board the connection, wondering if I'd make it in time … and I finally found the sign for D8 right behind me because I had just walked out of D8. Ooookay.

I had about an hour to kill, so I took care of the first two minutes by losing $5 in a video poker machine. That was fun. Or not; I hate slots. That's my beef with the gambling at McCarran Airport - it's too limited. You're in Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the West, and your gambling choices are slots, slots, or, if you want something a little different, slots. No table games; no cards, no dice, no fun. What's the point of that? Fortunately, I won $7.50 on another machine just before getting on the plane, so I'm ending up being ahead on this layover. I still have about $298 to go to make up for the last one, where I took a cab into town, but it's a start.

Hey, here's a challenge for you: drink hot coffee during heavy turbulence. So far, so good…

We had a little excitement after we were boarding the plane here, my new stewardess friends Cinda and Ms. Laura H tell me. A gentlemen of perhaps French nationality didn't want to check one of his carry-on bags and tried to force his way onto the plane and in fact pinned the gate agent against the wall by her throat. He was last seen under a pile of police officers and security guards making weak little squeaky no-longer-threatening noises. Needless to say, he is not aboard our flight with us now. Cinda thinks he's probably going to be celebrating Christmas in the pokey, talking to the FBI.

And…. That's about all I have time for, I think. We're beginning our descent to LAX and the captain just told us to prepare for landing. I think I'll do that, and upload this when I get home.