“US citizen? Here’s your in-flight meal. Happy New Year!”

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


14 thoughts on ““US citizen? Here’s your in-flight meal. Happy New Year!”

  1. promisesunshine

    One step closer to the next election.(hope still springing eternal that there will be another election)
    Meanwhile I’m knitting “pussy hats” for friends going on the Million Women March. (I considered marching myself except the idea of leaving my house with 999,999 of my closest friends gave me the heebie jeebies.)

    1. solberg73 Post author

      First, of course, I’m always thrilled to see that you noted and read my latest posts. ‘If I can make in PA, I’ll make it.. anywhere!’ (Sinatra, ugh)
      Kinda proud of this (fictional) story. If/when I can actually afford to fly, I’ll be ready; pack sandwiches.
      And now you need to explain/ say more about your second sentence.Jus’ guessing here: 1) the neighbors, somehow knowing where you’re off to, will wreak revenge in your absence?
      or 2) Um… fill me in. I’m curious.

      1. promisesunshine

        First, even if I can’t think of anything intelligent to comment, I do read your posts.
        Second, not that exciting. (You do have quite the imagination.) I’m not a fan of crowds. I’ll cheer from home.
        I do have one noticeably Trump supporting neighbor. I dream of 1)shooting holes in his sign with my nonexistent firearms or 2)scaling his house to the second floor micro-deck to remove the offending sign. Alas, he allows me my welcome neighbor sign. (Which will makes me an easy target for extermination when the regime officially takes office.)

        1. solberg73 Post author

          You’re ok… as long as the neighbors you welcome are ‘Father know’s best’ white-bread slices.
          I was there at most of the giant demonstrations in DC during the 60s. A feeling of temporary importance; sound and fury, signifying..um..?
          Perhaps we did knock off LBJ, maybe we hastened the end of the VietNam War? Let the buses roll, singers sing, speakers speak. remaining silent is tacit submission.
          Interesting, the ‘pussy-hats’. As an ardent, though enlightened male-of-the-species, I fight like crazy not to think of all the times I told a girl ‘You can leave the hat on…’ (Sorry; progress takes decades, right)

          1. promisesunshine

            Progress takes forever, apparently. I offend myself repeating the name of the hats. This is the statement we want to make? So much for going high. Sorry, we weren’t listening, Michelle.
            Now let me go back to knitting.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      A perfect comment: yes, black&white 50s TV dinners garnished with Velveta imitation Cheez-Balls.
      The ‘great again’ rant is especially grating to me at least, having learned that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Or ‘great-en it’.Irreversible global tectonic shifts have made the world a new card-game, and no ’30s German psychopath-clone can recreate past imagined glories. (Not to mention that this particular dirt-ball hasn’t even the grade-school grasp of history pre-requisite to a discussion).
      The americans have done my ‘piss in yer trousers to warm up’ one better; ‘pooped in the punchbowl’, among other, grosser metaphors.
      How could I have blithely assumed, even after the border-line mentally-competent ‘Bush, son-of’, that ‘It can’t happen There’ ?
      And I obviously mused on the future menu-options for, say, Austrians, Hungarians, and, God-forbid, UK-ers. As with any dumpster fire, the first response is always to contain the damage before it en-gulfs near-by properties. I watch in horror. And stock-pile airplane-peanuts.

      1. somewittyhandle

        My own fear is that your fears are well founded. It may be that we don’t yet have a Dumpf here. We do, however, have a quasi-retarded electorate, who are flailing around looking for the ‘next big thing’. Your reference to 30’s Germany is in fact painfully near the mark. I’m just waiting to see what form the madness will take.

        1. solberg73 Post author

          One more well-advised reason for a stop en-route, in the UK, next trip. For me, (what the hell do I know?) setting ‘quasi-retarded’ along-side ‘Englishmen’, with their glamorous accents and traditions, is a counter-intuitive oxy-moron. i’ll count on your good services to correct my illusions.

  2. eleanorio

    As an inveterate knitter, I need to know more about these “pussy hats”, as the only ones I’ve heard of are either head coverings for felines, or hats for little girls complete with ears and whiskers. I think I’ll stick to socks. As for airplane food, the most recent flight my husband and I took included free drinks and a meal cart that trundled down the aisle handing out items from a menu, credit card only. By the time the cart reaches the back of the plane, all the good stuff (including the vegetarian good stuff) is gone, so we are now in the habit of buying a lunch in the terminal to bring on board. I fondly remember getting served on TWA (will that be TWA coffee or TWA tea?) with real china and silverware and actual linen napkins. No wonder they went under.


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