I recently went on a business trip to the East Coast. Let me preface this entire story by saying that I don’t dig business travel in the least bit. Wearing fancy adult clothes (I’m a Pajama Jeans kinda girl) is not my idea of a good time, and well, you all know how I feel about work meetings. Additionally, the travel itself is pretty bogus. It usually involves getting up at an ungodly hour just so some disgruntled TSA agent can take a picture of my highly undesirable silhouette. I don’t even like those people seeing my fake weight when they check my license, why would I want them taking a peek at the hot mess that is my physique? Oh well, their funeral.
But I digress…
I kind of figured that the flight there would blow. I got stuck in a middle seat which means not only would I get screwed on leg space, but I could also toss any chance of elbow room out the window. If I was taking a hopper flight it wouldn’t have been so bad, but being sandwiched between two strangers for that long wasn’t something I’d done since college.
I got on the flight, and I could tell the guy to the right of me was nervous. He was sweating, tapping his foot nonstop, and biting his fingernails so much that I was convinced he’d eventually chew down to the knuckle. At some point I was hoping he was just a nervous flyer otherwise his behavior would have been indicative of a terrorist. Once he popped some pills he had in his bag he calmed down and went to sleep.
About 30 or so minutes into the flight the guy to the left of me pulled out sheet music, and began scribbling things all over the pages. He was making comments and corrections to the music, and I was intrigued by the passion with which he was making notations. He stopped working once the drink cart came around, and I saw it as my opportunity to ask him about what he was doing.
Big mistake. This man proceeded to talk for almost two hours. Nonstop. Honestly, at one point, I thought he was either bionic or undead because it didn’t appear that he was taking any breaths.
He became a music teacher after suffering from a career ending injury to one of his hands. Was he attacked by a shark while surfing? Did he accidentally break his wrist trying to save a toddler from drowning? Were there severe burns on his hand from a campfire gone awry? No, his career ended after he slammed his pinky finger into a kitchen drawer. I’m not kidding.
The conversation went like this:
Me: “So, I see you’re making all sorts of notes on that sheet music. I take it you’re a musician, or a teacher?”
Him: “Blah blah blabiddy I’m going to take up the whole damn flight telling you my life story blah blah divorce blah music school blah erectile dysfunction blah I once killed a man.”
Me: “Oh, wow. Will your ex-wife be played by Valerie Bertinelli when this is made into a Lifetime Original Movie?”
Him: “MY PINKY GOT KINKY AND NOW PLAYS PIANO STINKY. Sadsies!”
I really wanted out of the conversation, but I could tell he needed to unload some of this baggage on someone. So, I let him talk. And talk. And talk….until he worked his bladder into a frenzy and had to use the restroom.
I was happy when he got back to his seat and fell asleep almost immediately. I guess free therapy and draining your snake will do that to a guy. I was elated that our conversation was over…until I realized that I hadn’t gone to the bathroom yet. I’m telling you, nothing makes you have to pee quite like being trapped in a middle seat on an airplane does.
There was no way I was waking this motormouth up. So I sat there and let my urine reserve build. I checked the clock every few minutes to see how long until we touched down. Only 2 hours. Only 1 hour and 48 minutes. Only 1 hour and 36 minutes. At one point I considered just peeing my pants, but ultimately decided to continue the risk of giving myself a bladder infection.
All is well that ends well because I made it to the airport, and was able to relieve myself. I survived the week of meetings, and got home safely. The next time I travel I’ll be a bit smarter about it. I’ll bring a pair of headphones. I’ll bring a book. I’ll learn sign language and pretend I’m hard of hearing. I’ll do anything but ask the person next to me what he’s working on.