Friday, May 27, 2016

Small Town, Big Deal

This week I set out upon an airplane journey with pretty high hopes and a good attitude. I did that thing that these hipster kids do these days where they check in online and they say:

"No thanks on that printed boarding pass, just email me one. I'm trying to reduce my carbon footprint."

Mostly it was because our printer is usually always out of ink. After my phone's inbox dinged marking the arrival of my pass, I marched directly to my nightstand and grabbed an old boarding pass from my September flight home from Detroit out of my copy of Andy Cohen's diary (published, not personal) because I needed a bookmark.

This is, after all, why I usually print my boarding passes. To keep my spot in my current read while I travel. We've established that I'm a staunch anti e-reader, correct? I'm mainly scared shitless that I'll accidentally knock it out of airplane mode and the pilot will come over the speakers thusly:

"Attention passengers. We seem to have careened 3,600 miles off course and are now currently over the ocean and out of fuel. Apparently someone has their wi-fi activated. I thought Mitzi was clear when she told everybody to turn off their shit."

And everyone would stare at me.

I set out at the appropriate time of sixty-seven hours prior to my flight departing at 6am or so. I queued up fifth in line for my mandatory frisking and impressively had all my shit together. Laptop and liquids out, shoes and jacket off, ID* and phone in hand with that QR code at the ready. I slid my bins forward, smiled at the humorless agent whose sole mission was to still berate everyone instead of rewarding us for knowing the drill as she asked for my ID. As I stretched my hand out - I shit you not, the email DISAPPEARED.


Wait, what? Yes. Not in my "deleted" folder. Not in any other goddamn folder. It disappeared into another dimension. Completely.

She was having none of it. I had to collect all my shit and my shoes and get all dressed again since they make you strip down to your underwear and schlep to the front counter to get:

TSA has no idea I'm a big deal. And they don't care.
*I'm only a big deal in my own small mind. And to like,
MAYBE four of my friends. Max.

 Fortunately for me, this happened in Lewiston so the counter was about seven feet away. When I explained my misfortune to the saps there, they laughed.

"You must have Verizon. There seems to be a spot by security that eats emails on Verizon phones sometimes."

And then they disappeared in the back to double check all the underpants of all the checked luggage for explosive explosives and explosive diarrhea, stock the aircraft with snacks, tighten all the seatbelts to "toddler size" just so we'd all feel bad about ourselves when we got on, give the pilot a shoulder rub and a pep talk, and loop around in time to scan the still-wet ink of the boarding pass they just handed me.

If you live here or have traveled through our airport you know that I am not even a little bit making this shit up.

I checked my email again. It was back, but I didn't trust it. As I disrobed for the second time in the Bermuda Triangle, I verified my suspicions. It evaporated before my eyes again.

Soon I was happily settled into my seat in 19B. I'm not usually an aisle seat kind of person, but 19A was taken when I tried to switch. Now I could see that 19A was some hipster a-hole and he was full of himself. I could tell this because he wore a kind of purposefully rumply suit jacket with purposefully rippy jeans and purposefully shaggy little man-beard but not too much shag and perfectly manicured eyebrows. And some kind of Jack Sparrow but not exactly Jack Sparrow but nonetheless a little bullshitty hand tattoo.

Thankfully the flight attendants threw coffee at us first thing, but he wanted to chat. I hate when people want to talk to me. Not that I'm an uppity bitch, but I have always bristled when people start in on what is VERY MUCH LIKELY JUST NORMAL CONVERSATION.

When I was younger, I would get sweaty as the questions swirled closer and closer around, "so do you have any brothers or sisters?" or "how come your parents are so old?" and so I ended up over-sharing and talking WAY too much so that I had some control over the conversation as a distraction to people asking questions I did not want to answer.

I still do this. A lot.

But people next to you on airplanes want to know where you work and if you're married and if you have kids and sometimes you just don't want to say. Sometimes, some of us have jobs that we'd rather not talk about or work for companies or industries that lack public favor at times. Sometimes hubs tells people he's a garbage man or a street sweeper because he can handle their reactions to that better than when he's honest and has to deal with the ensuing requests for legal advice regarding some "bullshit speeding ticket I just got" or an ask to "swing by and tote my asshole neighbor off to jail because he hasn't returned my socket wrench since last spring".

Also, having sympathy that sometimes these questions can be overly probing prevents me from asking, too. This likely makes me look self centered and a bit of a snit. In case you're of the camp that believes me a snit. For this reason alone, anyway.

But this guy. THIS guy wanted to know if I was FROM Lewiston. Because you know, nobody vacations here so this is obvious. I knew off the bat that he was no investigator. He then began to regale me of his top twelve reasons for loathing Lewiston, impressively compiled in the short six months that he has lived here. They included the smell, the lack of entertainment, and most importantly, the lack of opportunities for adventurous activities.

He asked what I personally do know...stay busy.

He asked me. A mother with three children and a full time job what I do to STAY BUSY.

I'm a MOM, motherfucker. That's HOBBY. When I think about it, I try to flex my vagina muscles to get them back to the places they used to be before my children put them all in different time zones. But sometimes I get busy and I forget. Until I sneeze and pee a little. Or I read a funny book and I pee a little. Then I remember I should do that.

My husband and my kids are the daredevils of our family. We collectively burn a lot of fuel on the boat, but other than that one time that Stephanie guilted me into surfing? I'm happy to float and make sure nobody is drowning. I'm happy to sit from the stands and cheer as they ALL work up some disgusting ballsack sweat on the ice. I'm even happy to wash all that gross laundry when we get home. I don't need to lace up skates myself. I don't feel like I'm missing out. At all. My heart is full to visit with other moms and to watch them work hard and to listen to ToddlerBandit squeal with delight when he sees the zamboni.

I have an unhealthy number of friends who run marathons and who have participated in ironman competitions and mud runs and whatnot. And that is awesome and I will support them. But it is not and will not ever be my thing.

He indicated to me that his 26 year old stay at home wife who had birthed one kid would-just-simply-die if he did not take her at least a dozen times a year to some quadruple black diamond snowboard death run in the Alps every year. Like. Die. She would die.

Fortunately for he and his wife, he was headed to Portland where he would learn for sure whether he was being promoted and could move again, this time to Oregon.

Where does he work, you ask? Can you guess?

Yes. He is the regional head asshole in charge at a place that rhymes with "YOUR EYE'S GONE".

Why is it gone? Because I fucking scooped out my own fucking eye with a rusty spoon when this fuck told me he's the boss hoss at VERIZON. VER-FUCKING-IZON. The one that ate my email. That one. And instead of doing something about the Twilight Zone coverage here, he's just gonna move because his daredevil wife with the still-good vagina muscles thinks it sucks.

He is lucky that Hubs is in charge of all our electronic whatnots and that I don't even know where the goddamn Verizon store is or I would terminate our contract tomorrow for the reason that "your boss is a giant prick".

I just can fucking not with some people.

So this was the point where I opened my book. This is the universal sign for "shut the fuck up now or I will stab you". This is mine, anyway. Occasionally my husband continues to talk to me when I am reading. He typically does this when he has had too many vodka-Monsters and can't settle down. He knows to only do this while I am in bed because I do not store the knives there and the kitchen is very far away.

It also helped that people have an inclination to judge a book by its cover, and mine could literally not have fallen from the literary heavens at a better time:

This is a super funny book by a guy who moved to Sandpoint. He's like a straight, not-international David Sedaris. He also has three boys so I feel very bad for his wife. Which is the main reason I bought this. (Only kidding a little. I thought maybe it was a survival guide. It's not.)

I put in my requisite number of days away from home and was happy to make the return journey. I always overestimate the sleep I will get and this time was no exception. I was exhausted to that point where I felt like I was forgetting something but I wasn't sure what.

Today I realized it was one eyebrow pencil and a pair of pants. I'm sure that housekeeping is wondering how it can be so complicated to remember all your shit and in my defense I was mainly worried about properly separating my liquids from my solids in my cosmetics, yet packing them in an easy to access location. One can see that when presented with a task of such importance as the safety of our nation, that my favorite and most comfortable yoga pants and the eyebrow pencil that I never should have spent TWENTY EIGHT damn dollars for to begin with might get lost in the shuffle.

Lesson learned. (My eyebrows are hard to match, before anyone starts judging.)

 I had finished the book and waited patiently on the tarmac with my seatbelt off in Boise for the last of the passengers to board. I had landed again in 19B and knew that I would have to get up for 19A to squeeze by. I sent Hubs a text.

Almost everyone was on board and I thought I was home free. I felt a tap on my shoulder.

You have GOT to be kidding me. This asshole. AGAIN.

He was excited to see a familiar face to share his news with: HE GOT THE PROMOTION! Despite having already finished my book, I thumbed through to a spot about half way and spent the next hour pretending to read just so I wouldn't have to engage. He spent the next hour watching a movie on his unlimited data, latest version phone with its pristine and crack-free screen. I secretly wondered just how deeply within his employees the hatred for him ran. My guess was all the way through the bottoms of their feet into the center of the Earth, just based on the two hours of my life with him I'll never get back.

He managed to continue to be a self-important pain in my ass by pulling out just a little too far in his Land Rover so that I couldn't see traffic after we left the lot.

I hope when he moves on from this small town to wherever he lands in Oregon with the other eleventy million people that live there in that giant town, with lots of activities, where it doesn't stink and he can adventure himself into oblivion, that he gets stuck in traffic. Every day.

And then I hope he gets rained on to death.

*Footnote regarding my identification: I recently renewed my driver's license and received the tragic news that my favorite DMV lady of My Current Licensing and Immigration fame is retiring. Like, retiring and moving out of state. This came as a blow to me, as I am unsure whether she has passed along all the traditions of making me look my best to the other TWO people who work in our local office. I did promise to keep her on the Lee Family Christmas card list if she will leave a forwarding address. Our community will suffer a great loss when she leaves, but has benefited tremendously by her presence all these years. I am so glad that she has been part of my husband's work family. I will miss her. People like Bev are what make living in a small town worth it. 


  1. Bev will be missed! You will be aquiring Chelsea though...and we love her.
    This post was fantastic. Kept me smiling.
    R.I.P. yoga pants.

    1. I will make sure Chelsea is added to the distribution. Hubs maintains that "nobody ever sees your DL photo" but in case I'm ever missing and they blast it on the news, I'm not inclined to take that chance.

    2. Oh...hate to tell ya...I see DL photos all the time!

    3. Oh...hate to tell ya...I see DL photos all the time!

  2. Ok - most entertaining post I have read in AGES and AGES (qualifying note - I'm Dad to three daughters, so know all about chores being a hobby/personal hell).

    I travel with work quite often - although on trains - not aircraft - but the story is pretty much the same. I dread having to make conversation with anybody - especially on long journeys. Sometimes you just want your own space, don't you - and on those days, a moron will sit down next to you. It's like it's hard-wired into the universe or something.

    1. Three girls?

      How many times a day do you get the "when are you going to try for a boy?" question?

      Asking for a friend. :)