We are never too old to learn, I’m told. I’m also told that life is an adventure. I’d say that both maxims are true, based on my flight back from Phoenix last Sunday night. No, there was no terrifying turbulence, no horrendous hijacking, no aisle full of snakes. Nope, just me and one after-dinner treat.
Well, and the seat mate who had to get up and pee six times during a two-hour, 44-minute flight. I learned that there are people who have to pee more than I. I also learned how irritating getting up and down to let such a seat mate pass by can be. He apologized and said he had tried for an aisle seat. I was outwardly compassionate, assuming he had a horrifying health issue that he could not even whisper in my ear. Besides, I had the lucky opportunity, thanks to his kidneys, to exercise my quads by bobbing up and down every 20 minutes. Just like zumba!
You know what I felt like? Locks. On a canal.
(Wasn’t that a great analogy? With the water image and all? Woo-hoo! On a roll now. No, wait! A waterslide! On a waterslide now!)
If you are anything like my cats, by now you are asking, “Treat? Where’s the treat? What’s the treat? You mentioned a treat?” In fact, you are probably presenting me with your behind and your tail standing straight up right now, looking back over your shoulder, longing written all over your whiskers.
OK, then. Here’s the treat part of the flight.
Dinner was a surprisingly tasty chicken curry and arugula-laced salad, accompanied by the treat, (ready for it?) a chocolate truffle. I decided that I would save my treat for later if I got tired. Once we landed and I got my luggage and vehicle, I had to drive home. Chocolate would keep me awake during the two-hour drive. (I don’t live anywhere near anywhere.)
An hour later I got bored and hungry after all those squats. I thought of how that chocolate truffle might spice things up a bit. Yet, besides keeping me awake, chocolate also makes me squirm. I had to weigh the consequence of side effects against desire. Back and forth the arguments flew in my mind, for what seemed, oh, three seconds. My mind made itself up. Chocolate it was. (Did you doubt which argument would win?)
I reached in my pocket for the truffle which I’d dropped there the hour before. I felt the metal wrapper and tugged on it, but when my hand rose out of my pocket, there was no truffle, just a smushed orange foil wrapper and fingers full of what looked like poop. I gazed stupefied at my hand, as if it belonged not to me but to the Poop-Hand Monster someone had stuck in my pocket for a practical joke.
I wasn’t alone in my shock. My aisle mates and seat mate stared at the offending hand as well.
I stuck it back in my pocket where it nearly drowned in melted chocolate. With my other hand I reached into my purse, pulled out a handkerchief, and thrust my cocoa-hand into it. I wiped and wiped. Soon the hankie was full of brown. My hand was still covered. Did I have another hankie?
I unzipped my computer bag with my clean hand and saw something white. Great! Another hankie, in the nick of time! I whipped it out, and shook it out. And realized it wasn’t a hankie, but my spare pair of underpants. Fluttering in the open space of the aisle.
How long does a moment of mortification last? A second? An hour? A lifetime?
Before anyone could see was in the open space imitating Old Glory in a stiff breeze, I wadded up those panties and stuffed them back into my computer bag.
(Don’t you carry a spare pair of panties in case your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination the same time you do? Of course you do. We’ve done it for years, you and I, and it’s a good practice. I now suggest that you recall where you stow them, however. And buy something to get out the chocolate stains.)
What now? My hand was still ganached and my pocket still full of melted goodie. Licking my fingers was not an option. Can you imagine what that would have looked like to my already shocked section of the plane? Euwww! Gross!
Thankfully I remembered the sani-wipes in my purse and maneuvered one out of its plastic wrapper. Two or three, actually. I wiped out my pocket to the best of my ability and then my fingers and palm. They looked clean, so I raised my fingers to my nose and smelled. Chocolate.
I heard a gasp and then I thought. Crap! Can you imagine what sniffing my formerly brown fingers looked like? Euwww! Gross!
Did I sink into my seat in humiliation?
Of course not.
I got up and locked myself in the bathroom. I peed. It was my turn.
I washed my hands. I walked back to my seat, head held high. Maybe my seat mate and aisle mates wondered what I did in there since I’d obviously already done some duty in my pocket. But what did I care?
Instead of reading the in-flight magazine or finishing the crossword or sleeping, I had made use of my time in-flight. I had learned something.
Do not put a wrapped chocolate into your pocket for later, no matter what. Delayed gratification is not a good thing.
P.S. I think this should be a movie, don’t you?