Monday, June 18, 2012

Place Your Tray Tables in an Upright Position & Other Challenges

I had no idea that if you choose the first seat in the first row on a Southwest Airlines flight,
you do not get a portable fold-up table for your lap.  You also must store everything in
the over-head compartment or on your lap, as under your seat is a “No, no.” 
My partner and I, usually extremely capable when it comes to life’s (and airplane’s) little challenges, actually found these simple rules annoying, rude and quite frankly, taxing.  Yesiree.  Silly, but initially we thought, “Yippee, we’ll get to be first off the plane; 
de-board in a split minuto upon landing.”  Also, my partner wanted to stretch out her legs,
all 5’2” of them.
To add to jetliner fiascos and minor complications, and because my partner is losing her memory at a very young age (‘effin scary), I somehow ended up with Mt. Everest on my lap:
my laptop, jacket, neck rest, scarf, 4 ‘sample packets’ that I call ‘baglets’ of complimentary peanuts AND crossword puzzles to exercise her brain. 
“Please put your seats and your tray tables in an upright position in front
of you”  went the announcement. 
Once in the air, we decided to celebrate the smooth takeoff and my incredible ability to balance a 24 “ pile of crap on my lap by ordering the flight’s  “Signature Special”; Tangueray and tonic for just $4 bucks. 
4 Peanut baglets are challenging to open, even when you don’t have a lap full and even when you’re not holding 2 G & T’s filled to the brims in cheap plastic cups.  
What came next was reminiscent of a Laurel and Hardy movie, except in slow mo.
I’m holding her beverage while she insists on squeezing her lime into her cup, except it misses her cup and hits the quiet, intellectual man from India sitting next to me; the one reading his thick, historical non-fiction and hoping to himself that we get off at the layover stop.  He wipes his right cheek and eye with an expression of forced composure, yet border lining on disgust.
He gazes out at the clouds.
Mortified, my partner wipes her fingers on the napkin and as I carefully hand her the cup,
she misses the fucking thing completely and it goes flying, soaking my right thigh,
her left and the right jean pocket of Mr. Perfect next to me. 
The fact that we had asked for extra ice, only made the situation more noticeable. 
All passengers in the near vicinity look at the floor, then at both of us with judgmental glares. Of course, as you’d expect, we get the sober-giggles, as neither of us has taken a sip. 
When the plane lands in Los Angeles, most passengers get off, and the man to my left moves across from us and 3 rows back. The flight attendant, no longer called stewardesses (fyi) brings us another beverage. 
Bless her heart.

Life is jam-packed with surprises and often those surprises show their frisky little heads for the mere purpose of innocence and mischievous fun, at which time, one learns quite quickly the degree of patience one has.

I received a call from the new park manager last week; the poor gal who took over for me and is now most likely heavily drinking.  Seems there’s been some “perky” incidents at the ‘ole trailer park; ones that have required her utmost patience and maintaining of dignity.  She wanted to share one in particular with me, as she was sure I could empathize with her, since I’ve been there, done that. 

“Work has been crazy busy here” she started out.  “You know of Alta’s passing and did I tell you about 26’s foreclosure?  Both very sad situations.”  She continued.   
“But we had some (more) septic issues and I wanted to tell you of one incident because I know you like to write about these kinds of things and you just can’t make this shit up.” 
(Did she intend the pun, I wondered?) “Space 16 had septic problems awhile back and we had to bring in PSTS to do some major work; digging up 16’s driveway; the section that runs between hers and 17.  It was a major job, days of heavy labor that required replacing the septic pipes down under.   They asked my maintenance man to help.   They began the work around noon.  All was going pretty well, as expected, when suddenly all came to an abrupt halt.  Evidently, the resident at space 17 decided to stand in front of her glass slider, naked as a jaybird, totally nude, and watch the men work.”   
Non-fiction, folks.

“No shit!?” was my outburst. “No, lots of shit but I swear to God, my maintenance guy didn’t know what the hell to do!” 

I love life’s little awkward complications.  Those of you who have been following me for awhile might recall naked Leonilda (brother she lives with is Leo) She’s the resident that was sure someone was stalking her because she found a single cherry pit, with stem attached, lying in her carport.  (“I haven’t eaten cherries since I was in the first grade and I got real sick from ‘em.”)  She also left a voice message one time asking permission to spray paint the outside of her unit, but worried she might get some paint on the neighboring units.  When I returned her call around 5 that afternoon, prepared to give her the rules & regs of painting, she said,
“Can you call me back another time? I’m drunk right now.” 

Her parents must have been ‘special’ to name her and her brother Leonilda and Leo.
And the siblings are pretty ‘special’ too, as they still share a pre-fab, though they both look
to be in their late fifties.
My only question for the boys digging up the septic is this… Did you hold a look? 
I’ve met the new maintenance guy and he’s a polite gent, so I doubt that he’d
do anything but continue digging. 

It’s funny how we find ourselves in these pickles; delicious combinations of comical and dicey situations in our day to day.  For example, during a recent trip to Taos, I was browsing in a locally owned bookstore called Moby Dickens.  A friend had recommended it and if you ever get to Taos, go!  It’s jam-packed with very cool books, but not so crammed that you don’t feel at home in the comfortable surroundings.  Anyway, I was multi-tasking; reading the back covers of a few books on Mabel Dodge Luhan, while eavesdropping on a conversation that was taking place at the checkout counter.

“Hello, Armando! Good to see you this morning” said the friendly, obvious owner lady to the man in his late 70’s who was dressed in a plaid western shirt, bow-tie, jeans cinched high above his navel with a leather belt and carrying a Moby Dickens bag.
“I’m doing well but my wife sent me to return the book I bought for our 12 year old granddaughter.  
I guess I got the wrong one.”
Reaching into the bag, Armando pulls out the book by E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey; 
the first in a trilogy of adult erotica. 
“My wife is mad at me. I guess the book for our granddaughter is a hardback called
Between Shades of Gray.” (Children’s book by Ruta Sepetys)
My expression matched that of the owner and she quickly offered to order Armando the correct, age-appropriate book that wasn’t in stock. 
I recently read an interview with Ruta Sepetys, in which she said that her sales have  “sky-rocketed” in recent months due to the release of James’ bestseller.
Right on, Ruta!  CHA CHING!
I haven’t read the (supposedly) sexually explicit novel.  Not sure that I will. 
Right now, since I’m forging ahead with my healthy nutritional plan, the discovery of a new flavor of potato chip actually seems more seductive than a hetero S & M novel.

It’s great to be back with you on the page, pals!  It’s my big, fat wish that life’s hurdles, whether whimsical or horrific, never get ya down too low.  
Let's all just keep on keepin on!  Remember the laughter.  And always remember to keep your tray tables in an upright position.



  1. Val...I would fly in a plane with you both anyday. I still love hearing stories about the trailer park. Thanks for sharing <3

  2. love the image of the man sitting next to you on the plane, classic :)

  3. OMG Thanks for making me laugh out loud a few times! My sister is in the next room saying "what are you reading that is so funny"? I say oh my good friends blog! Keep on creating Val! Laughter is a fine thing! Thanks again amiga! 0XO <3 ~ Elida

  4. Back from vacation, catching up with FB and e-mail, so I saved your blog till dessert! Val, this is one of your best yet. Your hilarious antics on the plane had me laughing so loud, folks could hear me in downtown Shiner two blocks away! The descriptions of you two and the poor guy seated beside you are over-the-top funny! This is an incredible piece of humorous writing...thank you, thank you!