Sunday, August 05, 2007

Random Remembrances From A Return To Ohio

"United Airlines would like to welcome you to Cincinnati" crackled the creaky old PA system in the creaky old aircraft, and my heart sank. I looked around and was engulfed by the plainness I had tried to keep at bay by playing Frank Zappa in my mind's jukebox for the last couple hours. Say what you will about Frank Zappa, but he definitely ain't plain folk. The people around me were descendants of the farm. I'd say children of the corn if that didn't imply something different thanks to Hollywood. I found a ticket stub from where I saw the Stooges last April stuck in the notebook where I write down these random thoughts. Iggy Pop was telling me to stay strong.

Then I remembered that Cincinnati's airport was actually in Kentucky. That made it temporarily better for some reason.

Tight connection to make the last pond skipper to Columbus, Ohio, and I had to do an OJ Simpson to make it to the gate on time. When I say that I don't mean I slit someone's throat. Those of you a little older will remember the commercial OJ used to be famous for before he killed a couple people. If you're the guy I ran over in front of the Burger King, I'm really sorry. I'm sure you'll agree with me sir that half-hour layovers when you have to get from one side of the airport to the other should be illegal.

Got settled in for the last half-hour flight and was informed what to do in the unlikely event of a water landing. Nice to know the airline was prepared in case some giant windstorm unprecedented in the earth's history were to blow the plane 150 miles off course and force it to land in Lake Erie. Either that or it was just another random moment of corporate impersonality. I think you know which. I was definitely on the other side of the river now, most assuredly in buckeyeland and on my way to Columbus, Ohio. If you ever want to annoy someone from Columbus, make sure to always attach the "Ohio" after their city name. They totally have a complex about that. It's a metro area of over a million people that has done absolutely nothing to distinguish itself from anywhere else. I heard a story not too long ago about a girl who was killed by an errant hockey puck in Columbus, Ohio, and I could almost hear the Chamber of Commerce shouting..."SEE? THINGS DO HAPPEN HERE!!!! REAL THINGS!!!!" U2 once played a concert at the football stadium in Columbus, Ohio, and the fact a local TV news crew met them at the airport to make their arrival the lead story on that nights newscast actually underscored the problem the TV crew was trying to help out with.

I couldn't help but to notice there was a card in the seatback pocket in front of me that said "Final assembly of this aircraft was completed in Brazil" I wondered why they had to tell me this. I'm sure they wouldn't have told me this unless they had to.

It occurred to me that I've done more than my share of flying now, and I've never actually seen anyone use the barf bag. Has anyone?

I watched the stewardess get ready for landing and saw that she got shoulder belts AND a lap belt, while us paying customers only got the later. I find this unacceptable. If I'm going to die in a fiery aircraft inferno, I want the stewardess just as dead. I watched her almost in a trance like state as she made her way to the front of the craft, and the words "Welcome to Columbus, Ohio" snapped me back to reality. Looking at the barf bag wouldn't help me anymore. The door opened, the hazy, hot, humid atmosphere of the Midwest in summertime came in, and a ton or two of accumulated lifetime family baggage came crashing back down upon my shoulders. I spent the week with that baggage pressing down on me. It was hard to move with that weight on my shoulders. It was hard to breathe, and it had nothing to do with how incredibly fucking hot it was. The baggage swirled around me, and I couldn't sleep, not even in the daytime. My last day in Ohioland I was awake from noon eastern until 4PM Pacific the next day. Thirty-one straight hours without even the crutch of crystal meth.

In short, it was hot, the family baggage pulled me to earth with incredible force the whole time I was there, and I set a personal record for consecutive hours without sleep. At the airport on my way back someone cut in line in front of me and I knew I must be headed back to California.

I'm glad I went.

12 comments:

greensunflower said...

Glad to have you back. Baggage sucks

BunnyBubblette said...

Yes, I saw a kid use a barf bag last year when I was on a flight on my way home from vacation. I've flown many times, and that was the first time I've seen a barf bag being used. It stunk all the way home. Apparently the airline has no plan for disposing of used barf bags, other than to direct the kid's dad to the restroom. Ugh!!

Amanda said...

Funny you mention the barf bag. I was on the last leg of a flight from Cinci to Pittsburgh and the guy next to me smelled like a bar. About 15 minutes into an hour flight, dude barfs all over himself and was so wasted that he didn't even try to go for the bag. He blew chunks all over his suit and it was so stanky. I was so pissed at this dude because I knew he drank too much and it stunk and I was stuck next to him. The flight attendent tried to get me to hand him paper towels but I told her that was her job, I was cleaning him up. Anyway, all these people were concerned for him that he would die and I sat next to him laughing at his dumb ass. No more Cinci flights for me.

Anonymous said...

Another 'barf bag' comment -- I used them many times as a kid -- and into adulthood -- before the scopolamine patch changed my life for the better. I must admit, I still check to make sure there's one in the seat pocket!! It's humiliating as hell, but what are ya gonna do.....

Mother Jones RN said...

Welcome back. I've missed you. Greensunflower is right. Baggage sucks, but in my line of work it means job security.


MJ

The Apathetic Pharmacy Guy said...

I grew up in Parkersburg, WV...right across the river from Marietta, OH...I guess we grew up in the same neck of the woods...huh..small world...

Red_Shonja said...

What did you go back home for? I couldn't be dragged back to my red-neck-one-dog-small-town-mentality-waste-of-space-on-a map home town for anything in the world! I know it still sucks, no need to go back, so what was your reason?

P.S I once watched spousal unit barf in a paper bag on a cruise, does that count? I have footage...

Anonymous said...

Drug monkey, it is still soo hot here in Ohio today, that I would give anything for a break from this heat. I have flown in to and out of Columbus, Ohio, many times. Sorry, but the worst airport in the country if you have to make a connecting flight, is Atlanta. Oh, its terrible. Makes Cincinnati look like small town stuff.

As for the barf bags, yep, my mom. Jesus, she had never flown and was visitng my brother and sil in Fla. Instead of driving her back to Ohio they decide they will fly even though they know she is petrified of planes.

Other brother in Fla. drops them all off at the Orlando airport and calls me when they are on their way. He asks me if I remember the airport scene from the movie "Rainman"? He then tells me thats exactly what it was like once they arrived there. I picked them up in Columbus and she had thrown up all the way from fla.

Student Nurse Jack said...

On Friday I'm flying into Midway and driving into Iowa for a few days. Trying to keep my checked baggage light, literally and figuratively.

I could fly directly into Moline, IL, but the three-hour drive from Midway allows me to decompress and adapt to the change of pace from Austin.

No offense to our Midwest readers. I'm still an Iowa girl, in some respects.

BTW, found you from another blog link. Read one of your entries out loud to my spouse, and we laughed out loud. Welcome home.

Anonymous said...

I moved to Appalachia for a job. I now understand why people leave from here as fast as they possibly can. This place is a pit, the people in it have chosen to be a horrible warning to others (as opposed to a good example) and I haven't had a decent restaurant meal in months. I can't wait to leave. Does your store need help?

The Apathetic Pharmacy Guy said...

Where the 'f do you live? Where I'm at in North Central WV, we've got more Italians per capital that just about anywhere in the US. We got more old-school family owned restaurants than you can shake a stick at.

Unless you are in Kentucky...then I understand.

minja said...

I got a kid's meal and a toy at that Burger King. I still have the toy.

That airport may be the only place in the whoooooole world that our feet have both touched at one point or another.

So far.