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8:16 a.m. - 2002-03-24


It’s always just my luck.

My first flight was a short one…30 minutes from Montgomery to Atlanta. Fairly non-eventful … yet I’m sitting here, drinking a beer the size of my son’s head in the Red Brick Tavern at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport.


…Because I was seated next to Sum Yung Phuck.

It seems that I never get a chance to sit next to anyone on airplanes. I’m always having to share elbow room with someone who has apparently been in prison solitary for several years and I’m the first person they’ve had a chance to talk to.

Sum Yung must have been doing time for being extremely boring. The guy wanted to talk about EVERYTHING, but had absolutely NOTHING to say.

I swear on a stack of bibles…at one point he leaned over and said “Boy … that guy on the Dell commercials sure is funny, huh?”

I looked at him like his tongue had just turned black and furry.

“Yes,” I said, hoping that my monosyllabic answers would deter him from any further conversation. I soon realized that they were just giving him more opportunity to carry on his one-sided conversation.

In a 30 minute span, he managed to talk about the weather, the final four, the lack of interesting articles in the airline magazines, the poor choice of snack food (cheddar cheese goldfish), the waitress’ attitude (sorry…I know they’re called stewards now, but Paul Westerberg said it best … “Honey, you ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky.”) and how much he was planning on missing his girlfriend since he was going to New York for spring break to see his parents and she was on her way to Fort Walton Beach.

I fought the urge to tell the guy that he wouldn’t have a girlfriend when he got back to school. If his girlfriend was going to Fort Walton for spring break unescorted, he may as well get his penicillin shot now because he was going to be the proud owner of an STD when he got back.

Actually, I did almost ask the guy one thing … I wanted to ask him if this was his very first plane ride. Because he obviously mistook the plane ride for a social event.

Anyway, the flight ended quick enough I guess.

So here I am in the Atlanta airport.

I’ve got to say, you’re hard pressed to find an ugly woman in Atlanta. I’m sitting at a table that is practically in the hallway of the wing of the airport and all I see are babes a’ plenty.

And service at airports is damned near impecdable. I guess they realize that everyone’s on limited time frames and that we’re all in a hurry to be somewhere…anywhere.

Which might explain why I’mj already on my second beer.

I think I love my waitress. Yeah … she’s a dead ringer for Della Reese. But any woman that brings me two beers in a ten minute period is a woman after my own heart.

Before I left town, Susie bought me two home magazines. These were bought with the best of intentions (for me to draw ideas from for our new home) but they’re ummm…Ladies Home Journal-sponsored magazines.

I won’t be reading them on the flight. Something tells me if I plop down next to somebody and slap open a Ladies Home Journal, I’ve got to deal with four hours of somebody edging away from me uncomfortably.

A pretty cool thing happened at my hometown airport.

I got to my gate and found two church members sitting there, waiting for a flight.

“Lemme know if I bother you,” I said, sitting down.

They laughed and we all prayed for a second because that’s the only thing we have in common. Then we talked for a few minutes. It was that type of conversation that you have with people when you kinda know them, but have never spoke to them until you’re in a strange situation that finds you hanging out with them.

…You know…like running into church members that you’ve never spoken to at the airport.

So anyway, they’re on their way to Philadelphia to look for a new home (“I didn’t know you were moving!” I exclaimed. Well, of course not, doofus…you never speak to the people).

Soon our conversation reached the level of Sum Yung Phuck’s limited conversation tips. I knew we had reached that point when I asked them how long their flight to Philly was and the husband picked up a stray magazine and started pretending to read it.

It was at that point that I realized … they were married and didn’t need me to make casual conversation with.

Then, all of a sudden, a slew of people walked up to them that knew them. They put down the stray magazines and started chit-chatting with these people who they obviously knew better. I fought the urge to smile, introduce myself and say “I know Rich and Sherry through church!” but the truth was…I didn’t. I knew of them. That was the extent of my Rich and Sherry knowledge.

My God. This is good beer. Foster’s on draft. Remind me to try this stuff again.

I’m definitely getting light-headed. I’ve made a pact with myself … any time I go on a business trip, I’m drinking. At home, I’ll stay stone cold sober. Travelling, I’m going to be a lush.




(That was the pact I made with myself)

I stopped and bought a few magazines to read on my next flight, which should be four hours of hell.

I bought the new Rolling Stone which has an article about the 40 coolest albums ever.

This is not to be confused with the 50 greatest albums, the 100 top albums, the 30 essential albums, the 75 albums with one-word titles and the 35 albums that we bought on vinyl and never got rid of lists.

These are “the coolest”.

I’m going to read it on my next flight…and gauge just how cool I really am.

I bet I own half of them.

My entire life has been spent trying to achieve that level of cool through a record collection that makes people say “Damn…now that’s cool!”

I know…

I’m a loser.

There’s some basketball game going on right now that must be incredibly important.

…I just sat here for a second and had to try and remember how to spell the word “incredibly”.

Did I mention how much I love my waitress?

Anyway…there’s a buncha guys standing around my table, looking at the television behind my right shoulder. They seem to be intent on the “game” behind me. So intent that they look like they’d miss a flight to catch the end of this mamma jamma.

Is that the first time I’ve used the phrase “Mamma Jamma” in this diary? If so, here’s a random fact about me…I use that phrase CONSTANTLY in real life.

…Not really.

Anyway…they just walked away. Probably because of a commercial.

And ironically…it’s that damned Dell commercial with the slacker guy.

I tried to call the wife earlier. She wasn’t home. I left her three hours ago at the airport and she’s already out catting around.

Actually, she went to give our real estate agent some cash to secure our lot. Even though I’ve been talking smack like the house was ours an deverything, we have yet to actually secure the lot OFFICIALLY.

We told the lady we wanted it and she has reserved it for us. But since she’s been out of town for the last ten days, we haven’t paid for it.

Susie has now (hopefully) paid for it.

Anyway, I can’t wait to talk to her and ask how our lot’s looking.

You know…it just dawned on me…you can’t really have FUN at an airport lounge. You can’t get smashed and act like the idiot that I’d love to be acting like right now.

If you do, you wind up in the airport security office getting batted down by some brutes with nightsticks.

I think (and this is only a thought, hence the words “I think”) that I’m going to get totally smashed in my hotel room tomorrow for fun.

I have nothing else to do. I can roam around Boise, Idaho and find things to do. But the bottom line is that I’d rather sit in my hotel room and continue this buzz I have going now.

I think I have to puke. Three big assed beers will do that to a non-drinker.

Ummmmm....jeez....I wrote all that???

First apologies. I don't drink much anymore and after three BIG beers, I guess I got a little loopy yesterday.

Okay...a LOT loopy.

After I quit writing that, I did NOT puke, but I paid my tab and strolled to my gate which was BOARDING when I arrived.

I had planned on peeing before boarding. I really, really had.

But I didn't.

And since I bitched about Sum Yung Phuck, it was only fair that I was repaid by being....

...the guy in the middle.

For those of you who don't fly much, being the guy in the middle is the absolute WORST place you can be on a plane. You are at the mercy of the two people on either side of you and if one or both of them aren't cool, it can lead to a pretty bad trip.

Luckily, I had two cool people on either side of me. A grandma on my left and a bigger guy than me on the right.

Unluckily, they were both plane sleepers. People who pass out cold as soon as their asses hit the seats.

Okay, so I'm sitting there in the absolute middle of the plane. Each aisle is seven seats across...two on the left, three seats in the middle (with me in the absolute middle, pressing quietly on my bladder like a well-behaved five year-old) and two on the right.

The plane takes off.

The seat belt sign goes off allowing you to "roam freely around the cabin".

Yeah right. Tell that to Peter Buck.

(If I wasn't on a shitty 33K modem, I'd give you a link to Peter Buck's recent adventures. However, I know that if I attempt to find a link, it will take roughly seven and a half hours for this freakin' modem to locate one. So no link for you!)

(I'm the Link Nazi! Tee hee!)

So anyway...both of my fellow passengers are sleeping. I deduct this by the steady stream of drool pouring out of their mouths.

But if I don't pee soon, I'm risking severe kidney damage.

So finally, after 30 minutes of debating, I nudge Grandma.

"Excuse me," I said, beginning my well-rehearsed speech. "I need to use the restroom."

She looks at me like I just used the restroom in my pants. She sighs, unbuckles her seat belt, slowly gets up, finds a place in the aisle to stand and then makes a sweeping gesture with her hand to signify "Fine fat boy. Go for it."

I go to the bathroom and pee for just short of an eternity.

I go back to my seat and feel worlds better.

Until about an hour later.

This time I REALLY have to go pee. The first time was a simple "have-to-go" pee. This pee threatened the safety of the passengers. There was a good chance someone's death would be inevitable if I didn't get to pee.

Snoring on the left side.

Snoring on the right side.

I was in hell with no toilet.

I literally sat there for an hour until we hit some turbulence that woke Grandma up.

"Please," I said. "I have to go again. I've been waiting for you to wake up."

She sighed and got up and did the sweeping motion again which was making me feel like a small child who was just bored and wanted to check out the other passengers.

I started down the long aisle and the bell went off.

Everyone must return to their seats at once. The turbulence was too crazy for people to be out of their seats.

Thus my dilemma.

Do I return to my seat like I was told after waiting over an hour to empty my bladder?

Or do I risk death by being tossed around the cabin of a plane to urinate?

Death. Sheesh. I wasn't ABOUT to go back there and sit for another hour while Granny dreamt dreams of humping her butcher.

The waitress made sure to tell me in a snotty tone that I should return to my seat.

"I'm in a middle seat and I'm diabetic," I said. "I have to use the restroom on an hourly basis and both of my neighbors are trying to sleep. If I don't use the bathroom soon I could do damage to my kidneys."

She stared at me for a second and then told me to hurry.


I pissed the piss of the damned.

I pissed so much that I thought the plane would have to either make an emergency landing and empty the waste receptacle in order to lighten the load or open some trap door under the plane and let my urine flood Denver.

I returned to my seat and didn't make a peep the rest of the flight. I felt good now. I think I had peed all the beer out of my system and was finally as comfortable as a big guy shoved into a middle seat could be.

Salt Lake City was a blur. Nice airport, but I didn't get a chance to see much of it because I was racing to my next flight.

As luck would have it, the last flight of the day was not crowded at all and I had my own row of seats.

And didn't have to pee once.

Landed in Boise about six hours ago. It's cold and dark. Found my rental car, proceeded to get horribly lost trying to find a hotel that was three blocks away from the airport, got my room ... came in...and it's a smoking room.

This room smells like Denis Leary's house. The hotel is old, the people next door were fighting when I got in and fought until I fell asleep. The walls are brick and they are COLD. The heating unit is rusty and there's no hair dryer here. I can't remember the last time I stayed in a hotel with no hair dryer in the room.


Well, sorry Sam. I'm going to go get a bite at the Continental breakfast, then ask if I can have a non-smoking room. If I can't, there's plenty of other hotels around here that look newer, nicer and just as affordable as a king sized suite in a rathole.

I'm starving. There was no meal on the plane last night. So apparently those beers were my dinner.

Shower time. Then breakfast time. Then church time.

Peace out from Boise Idaho.

Home of the trees.

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