I got a call from my boss Riff. It seems that kindly old Miss Jenkins wanted me to come and pick up her car in Albany, NY. She asked for me in particular. She is a snowbird who lives in upstate New York during the summer months, then comes down to her home in Florida for the rest of the year. I was to meet her at the Albany Amtrak station, but I bought a plane ticket to fly to Syracuse a few days early. I have a good friend who lives up that way, and she wanted me to come and spend a day with her at the farm.
I boarded the plane and found my seat at the front of the Coach section, bulkhead row. As I sat down, I heard a howling noise from across the aisle. It sounded like a cross between a crying baby and a primal scream. I kept looking to find the source of this noise, and when there was a break in the boarding passengers I caught my first glimpse. It was a woman in her 70's, and she was screaming and shouting her head off. She was alone, and clearly had some issues. I choose not to make judgments, merely observations.
The flight attendant seated a balding man with silver hair directly behind me. As fellow passengers walked by us on the way to their seat, the gentleman behind me would lean towards them and reach to shake their hand. "Hello, I'm Dickie. Would you like to see me dance? I can do the Mickey Mouse dance." He did this to every single passerby. People all reacted differently, but most everyone was polite.
A woman wearing a red pant suit and an attitude boarded next. When Dickie tried to introduce himself, she said, "Oh God, I got on the short-plane. Just what I needed."
"Would you like to see me dance?" offered Dickie.
"I'd rather die."
"I can do the Mickey Mouse dance."
"Just leave me alone, retard." I could not believe how hatefully she spoke. This was way over the top, to speak so harshly in public. But I find more and more it is a harsh world we live in. These words burned into my heart, and I felt like saying something. But decided to mind my own business.
Once we were in the air, the elder lady began her strange screams more often. She stared at me a lot, which compelled me to look over at her and smile. That is when I noticed that she had no teeth, which seemed to help her as she tried to stuff her entire fist into her mouth. And she was determined. The rude lady two rows back was growing ever more disgusted. She rang for the flight attendant.
"May I help you ma'am?" asked the attendant.
"Yes, you can move me to another area of this plane, as far away as possible from that yowling, screaming old woman."
"Unfortunately, we are full today."
"I saw a seat in First Class."
"So you want to pay for an upgrade?"
"No, I want you to do your job and move me up there as a courtesy. To get me out of Crazy Land back here."
"I'm so sorry I can't help you."
About this time, Dickie decided to start dancing in his seat. Which means he put his feet up on the back on my seat and began attempting to tap dance. It was more than uncomfortable for me, but I figured it would help Dickie more than it would hurt me.
The rude woman in the red pant suit kept on dropping hateful remarks with a haughty air all the way to Syracuse. I was getting hot under the collar, tired of hearing her disparage others, as if she were perfect herself.
Just as we were about to land, I looked out my window. The plane was getting very close to the ground. And then I saw Dickie, up and walking into First Class. Quickly, a flight attendant yelled out, "Go back to your seat, Dickie!"
"But I want to get off this plane."
The next thing I knew, the flight attendant was rushing back pulling Dickie along with her, and they both sat in the row behind me seconds before we touched down. And it was a rough, bouncy landing, so it was a good thing Dickie wasn't standing. Yet Dickie didn't know any better, and seem to feel that he was in some trouble. "You didn't need to do that, you know," he told her. "You didn't have to put me in my seat. I am not a little kid, you know."
"I know that, Dickie." Moments before the signal rang indicating everyone can get up and get off, the flight attendant got behind Dickie and pushed him quickly through First Class. He was anxious to get off, and they wanted to help him accomplish that goal.
I could hear him yell as he went to the front door. "I need to get off this plane. I want to get off this plane. I want to dance!"
Meanwhile, I watched as the rude woman rushed to get out and beyond the elder screaming woman. So I stepped into the aisle, effectively blocking her path. She said, "Move out of my way."
"Beg your pardon," I responded, "I think this woman needs some assist." And I offered my hand to the elder woman, and she screamed at me but took my hand and let me help lead her to the door. I made sure to move slowly, which irritated the rude woman no end. When we got to the door of the plane, the flight attendants took over and helped this lady, thanking me for bringing her that far.
When the rude woman caught up to me, she squinted at me and said, "You're not helping anyone by being kind to idiots like that. They just slow everyone else down, and they need to be removed. Why am I bothering, you're probably just as big of an idiot as they are."
I didn't know what to say. "God bless you, ma'am, and have a wonderful day."
"Bull crap!" she snapped, turning on her heel and storming off. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth. And then I turned a corner in the airport and saw my friend JC with a huge smile that made me know that everything was going to be OK. She was there waiting just for me.
TO BE CONTINUED