Starving as usual on the 12-hour flight from Tel Aviv to anywhere in the ‘World’, my senses, acute after 7 hours without a smoke, alert me that Salvation is on the way. Ladies-with-carts are heading my direction; a snail’s pace but, hey, I’d eat both the snail and the shell the way I feel.
‘Chicken or Beef?‘ is today’s/tonight’s Question, in at least five languages. To tell the truth, I’m not even sure what airline I’m flying this time, not that it matters. By now I ‘get’ the ‘And should we ditch in the sea, we will ask you to refrain from smoking until the ‘Lifeboats-Deployed‘ light is’enacted’.’ ‘Enabled’? It sounds the same in Serbian, Turkish, or any other chance tongue. What I want is ‘food, glorious food’!
Three rows left, and a ‘family-unit’ is bitching that they ordered ‘Kosher’. I try not to rush to untoward thoughts, concentrating on the otherwise-unemployable rabbi paid to stamp their tasteless gruel. But now my stomach is downright imploding.
Finally, my turn: the Flight Attendant seems oddly troubled, as I blithely say: ‘Beef, please!’ with as non-descript an accent as I can manage.
No luck! Takes me a few seconds to understand that she wants to see my passport. Innocently, I show her the US one, routinely at the top of my pile.
‘Fine, Bon Appetit‘ she responds, and moves on, faster than I’d thought possible, to the next row. Somehow she ‘knows’ that she’s got about two minutes of oxygen until I open the..
The ‘special’ WTF meal Americans supposedly deserve.
In shock, I actually attempt to parse the entres; the main course is obviously some species of excrement. Dog-? Bull? Hard to tell; airplane food, y’know. On the side, a plastic tub of.. rotten apple rinds with toenail-clippings? No, maggots! Actual maggots. The drink container holds a ‘dose’ of some greasy-looking, probably poisonous, green semi-liquid. Hemlock? (should I decide to feel that ‘guilty’ about the goddamn election.)
Feeling ‘mildly disappointed‘, as the British might say, I set the execrable mess aside and set out to munch on the polyester flotation collar under the seat. ‘Acceptable, though dry, and with a note of Jersey shore industrial cocktail’ is my ‘dining-out’ critique.
All the while asking myself: ‘How exactly was America’s decision to put a pitiful, uncultured ignoramus in power my fault?!’ and
‘Were there actual opportunities I missed wherein I could have prevented this atrocity?’
The old “You could have killed Hitler as a child; why didn’t you?” guilt trip washes over me as I ponder, and quickly dismiss, thoughts of doing a re-make of the ‘Airplane’ scene. You know the one; overhead compartment, improvised noose from ear-phone cords, and a hope that the stewardess will feel ‘really’, no, ‘really-really’ bad while cutting me down.
Not feeling adequately suicidal for the job, I was therefore still alive as the stewardess returned to take the trays. Thoughts washed over me: I pondered how much fun it’d be to smile and hand her an empty tray, gushing ‘Excellent meal!’. But where to stow ’10 pounds of poop in a 5 pound bag‘? Hmmm, the US will shortly have that same problem. I did catch her eye; both seductive eyes actually. Entertained and quickly dismissed the thought that hey, if I’m already a criminal, why not just grab her by the pussy; no need to ask, right?
In the end I turned to Int’l Sign Language. Held out one hand, eyes focused upwards quizzically and expectantly. (trans- ‘So, what’s the deal wid me?’) She started to explain in, I don’t know, Abyssinian or Basque? but gave up and ‘explained it all’ with two gestures, together with an unmistakable WTF?! look on her face:
A quick ‘salute’ (trans- ‘your government…’) followed by finger-making-air-circles-around-the-ear. (trans- what the fuck were you-uns thinking?!’).
I pointed at my heart and shrugged. (trans-‘whoa ; me, I’m innocent’)
And that was that.
Oh, except for the sudden-onset ‘Chills, for which there is no Blanket’ episode which struck me as the 777 cleared Newfoundland and entered US air-space. Ok, maybe it was the novel ‘gastric-acid-meets-polyester’ in my poor stomach. Having exhausted the thermal-value of the little blanket I was mistakenly given before being ID-ed, I turned to my (Abyssinian? Basque? seat-mate. No luck, except for learning one last word in Int’l sign: ‘hand-in-crotch, one finger extended’. (Translation- ‘just piss in yer pants to warm up, that’s what you fucking ‘Merkins’ did electing Drumpf, right?’)
I gave up the ghost at that point.
Safely landed and ‘customized’ in Philly, I rushed for MacD’s like a drowning man toward a life-buoy. The tummy full of flotation-collar helped, although the noises it was making were ‘un-precedented’ (sp?).
I scanned the crowd, the staff, the patrons. ‘All of ’em innocent’, I thought, wryly.
‘Just like post-War Germans’. ‘We knew nothing!’. ‘Yeah and ya still don’t.’, I shook my head sadly. ‘Until the shit hits the fan. I got mine already, in seat 12-A.’
And here’s where I’d say normally ‘Happy New Year!’ if it weren’t such a pathetic whistle in the dark/ JS