I’m going back to Cali. Part 1
We had just gotten to gate 32 at the Houston Airport and our flight to California was already boarding. “I have to pee,” I informed my husband looking down the terminal and seeing a woman’s bathroom just a few yards away. I knew I had more than enough time.
I asked Mini Me if she had to go too and she said, “NOOOOO!” because that is the only word in her 3-year-old vocabulary. She doesn’t just say “no,” she says it with conviction and a heightened volume. So I was on my own. Meanwhile my husband told me he was going to take Mini Me with him to the Continental counter to fix our little seating problem. Apparently, Expedia thought it would be funny if they seated all three of us in different rows. Which is fine with me, but it might make it a little uncomfortable for the stranger who is stuck having to sit next to our daughter. Thanks, Expedia.
As I walked towards the women’s room, she came around the corner. The ever-elusive “little person.” I normally wouldn’t make such a big deal about seeing a little person but my friend Ron has an irrational fear of little people and clowns, so I now hunt them like other people hunt Big Foot, or the Lockness Monster. I’m always trying to sneak a photo so I can send it to Ron and feed his phobia. She passed me on my left and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to get my hand into my already over stuffed messenger bag to pull out my phone to take a picture. Damn it! I thought to myself. Another one got away.
The first one to escape my camera carrying clutches was outside a Wal-Mart in Houston. She was pure gold. She was tiny and dressed in her Sunday best. There she was, walking on her tiny little legs out to her car, and there I was sitting in the passenger seat of my husband’s car rifling through my messenger bag while mumbling out loud to myself, “Where is it? Where is it?”
“Where is what?” my husband asked.
“My phone. I need to take a picture.”
“That little person. The one right there.” I said pointing right at her. At this point I had a clear shot but no camera. We were driving right past her. This picture would have gone down in the history of Ron’s photo albums. Pictures of Ron’s wedding, pictures of the births of all three of his children, pictures of his grandchildren, and Stacy’s picture of a little person in her Sunday best. But did my husband slow down and help out the cause? NOOOOOOOO. He not only didn’t slow down, he sped up and then informed me there would be a special place in hell for me if I took the shot. First off, I’m pretty sure there is already a special place for me there and I highly doubt one picture of a miniature Tammy Faye is going to seal the deal. So the woman in the Wal-Mart parking lot will forever be “The one that got away.”
So back to the story, I entered the bathroom with sadness in my heart as another little person escaped my clutches and as far as I knew was freely roaming the Houston airport pretending to be a small child. Drat! Oh well, there’s always next time.
I exited the bathroom, shuffled my ass back to gate 32 and they were still boarding the plane. What the hell? So I told the hubby I was going to run to the nearest store and grab water and a snack for Mini Me to tide her over for 3-hour flight to Cali. I grabbed the goods and ran back to gate 32 and yes they were STILL boarding the plane but this time my husband (who I like to refer to as Poptart) and Mini Me were no longer there. Well, where the hell did they go? This isn’t good. I don’t have my driver’s license or boarding pass or anything. They wouldn’t leave me, would they? Assholes!
“Are you looking for the hubby and the little girl?” a bald man with a British accent asked me.
“Yes,” I replied somewhat surprised. How did he know?
“They went to the bathroom,” he told me.
“Thank you so much. God save the Queen,” I said and as I said this I looked just over his left shoulder and what did I see? The tiny little woman from the bathroom that had eluded me earlier. Oh, I can’t let her get away again. I just can’t! I put my huge messenger bag on the ground and dug past my wallet, a coloring book, crayons, one box of tampons, a bottle of xanax, my journal that I keep with me just so I can write shit like this down, and my lip-gloss that tastes like coconut and I eventually found what I was looking for. My phone. VICTORY! I took my phone out of my bag and I looked quickly from my left to my right to make sure the coast was clear, and I didn’t see Poptart anywhere. The moment to strike was upon me. I deftly brought up my camera app and slid my thumb over the capture button like a sniper primes the trigger. I held up my phone and eased up to get as close as possible to the target. I needed proximity, but I didn’t want to spook her. I took the shot. Repeat. I took the shot. Of course she looked right at me after my phone made the little “shutter” noise. Busted! So I frantically started tapping the screen to make it look like I was texting and hoped to throw her off my scent.
As I stood there pretend-texting and secretly patting myself on the back, my only goal was to get the picture up on Facebook and to Ron before we boarded. I pulled up the picture and as I prepared to push the share button, Poptart walked up. He took one look at my screen, then back up at me with a disgusted look on his face.
“There’s something wrong with you,” he muttered.
“What? It’s for Ron,” I said as if that was somehow going to excuse my bad behavior. Of course it didn’t and Poptart just rolled his eyes. I shrugged, uploaded the picture, and wrote a caption under the picture. Ron, This is for you. It’s the closest that I could get without getting caught. Perfect.
Poptart was only able to get two seats together, which meant that one of us had to (correction, got to) sit alone. Let me explain. Mini Me is a psycho when you put her on a plane. She will scream, cry, kick and try her best to kill you if you even think about putting her airplane seatbelt on her. You have a better chance of giving a feral cat a bath than you have of calming down Mini Me. And don’t try and bribe her with crayons or books or movies. She will see right through your ruse and will scream so loud she will break the sound barrier. My best advice to anyone who may try to fly with her is to have your tranquilizer gun ready, with plenty of refills. You’re going to need it.
“I’ll sit with Mini Me and you can sit by yourself if you want,” My husband told me.
“Ooookaaay…” Is this some kind of reverse psychology? What, now I’m supposed to say, “No babe, I‘ll do it,” cause that’s not going to happen. I’m snatching this up! “Thanks!”
My seat was (of course) the middle seat, one row in front of Poptart but across the aisle. To my left in the window seat was a young good-looking guy with pants so tight I swear I could see his pulse. And on my right is the sweetest Chinese man you could ever want to meet who just keeps looking at me and smiling. Of course the first thing I do when I sit down is check my phone to see if Ron’s picture has hit Facebook. And it hasn’t. So I have to upload the picture again. It’s never going to upload in time!
Once the fasten seatbelt light came on I was so happy to be where I was because I knew my husband’s life was about to become a living hell. I sat back in my seat with a small smirk and just waited for the screaming to start. I waited, and I waited, but I didn’t hear anything. Did he gag her? I leaned forward and looked back to my right, and there she was, all nice and quiet with her seat belt on playing with her collection of toy cars. I stared at her thinking to myself, I don’t know who that child is, and what she’s done with my baby but by the end of this flight I will find out the truth and destroy the impostor! Poptart caught my eye and just gave me a little wink. I hate him.
The flight went on without a hitch or even a hiccup from Mini Me. She was on her best behavior. I made a note to pat Poptart down when we landed. He must have smuggled some Benadryl with him. But in the meantime, I had silence. So I did what I do best and I took a nap. And that’s when the captain came on and announced that we were going to “scoot through some thunderheads,” and that the ride may get “a little bumpy.” Scoot? Is he serious? How in the hell do you ‘scoot’ through thunderheads? And yes, the ride got a little bumpy. Like “Holy crap, I’m going to die sitting between two strangers” bumpy. All of a sudden I was wishing that I were the one sitting next to Mini Me. If I’m about to die, the last thing I want to see is my daughter’s face, not some dude’s camel toe. Now I’m not a religious person but I thought this might be the perfect time for me to grab hands with the gentlemen on either side of me and start singing rounds of Kumbayah. “Someone is pissing her pants my Lord, Kumbayah. Oh Loooord, Kumbayah.”
We eventually got out of what ever vortex of hell we were flying through and after that I needed a cocktail and I needed one badly. I looked at the husband and he mouthed the words, “Are you going to have a drink?”
“Yes,” I mouthed back.
“What are you going to have?”
“Vodka and OJ. You?”
“Beer. Do you want my ATM card?”
“Yes. I can’t reach mine.”
“Okay, I’ll give it to the stewardess when she comes around and tell her it for you.”
“Okay,” I mouthed back at him. At this point the happy Chinese guy and the guy at the end of Poptarts row were both looking annoyed. If they had just let us sit closer together they wouldn’t have had to deal with us. But no, the isle seats are like owning Park Blvd and Broadway and nobody wants to give up one of those. So we got our cocktails and passed the ATM card back and forth via the guys on Park and Broadway.
We eventually landed at LAX and with out anyone dying of turbulence poisoning, or in my case, boredom. I didn’t even wait for the little “bing!” noise before I fired up my cell phone and checked Facebook. Oh baby, yes! Come to mommy. Sure enough there was a message from Ron and it said, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
I laughed out loud while both of the guys on either side of me looked at me like I had just lost my mind. Of course I couldn’t tell them why I was laughing because they seemed like “normal” people and probably didn’t find my humor “appropriate.”
Poptart, Mini Me and I made it off the plane and down into the baggage area of LAX where we met with my dad who was kind enough to brave the LA traffic to pick us up. Once we walked outside I took a big whiff of the California smog and gas fumes of the passing busses and thought to myself, it’s good to be home.
To be continued…