Thursday, March 20, 2008

Speak now or forever kvetch about it

I just returned from a week in South FL. Now that I think about it, I'm in that cultural wasteland pretty often for one who claims to hate it so much. Oh, quick update: while I was gone, Wally the Fighting-For-His-Life Fish died. I can't help but feel like I wished death on him and guilty about the relief I now feel. He was flushed tonight at 11 PM and leaves behind one stinky bowl.

Anyway, I digress. If I learned one thing on this trip (besides that my skin is too white to ever live there again), it's that regret is a bitch. The good news: it only took me about 15 minutes to process this truth and act accordingly. Unfortantely, the bitches who gave me cause to regret were no longer available for smacking.

It all started when I boarded a 6 AM JetBlue flight to Ft. Lauderdale last Wednesday after working all day/night to meet a deadline. Partially delirious from sleep deprivation, I settled into my seat and eye shades with the hope of slipping into a 3-hour coma.

Suddenly, my New Jersey yenta radar went off as three middle-aged yakkers in track suits approached the row of seats directly behind me (after waiting tables in Boca Raton, my radar can spot a NJ yenta in Bloomies from a Loehman's two states over). I comforted myself, "no, they can't possibly gab the entire flight. People fly JetBlue to watch TV, right?"

Wrong. Not only are NJ yentas completely immune to 30 channels of Direct TV, they are also unaware that the seat housing said TV belongs to another person. After leaving the gate, the seat bumping began as the bitch-behind-me unloaded her goods into the flap. I fumed, "What tremendous load of crap could this woman possibly be putting into that little slit of a pocket?" In Touch? Oprah's latest book-of-the-month selection? Bladder control medication?

Whatever it was, she seemed to take each item out, remember that she was supposed to be rehashing the Hawaii vacation with her sister harpies and then put it back in. Couple this with the fact that she was about 100 pounds overweight with a knee that couldn't get enough of the tray table.

Somewhere over North Carolina, I lost my shit. I ripped off my eye shades, turned around and glared at her through the sliver of space between seats. I firmly demanded, "could you please stop banging the seat?!" A wide-eyed "who me" was the only response. "There," I thought, "that ought to do it." Sleep seemed assured now.

Instead, it became a source of hushed "did she just say something nasty to you?" and "these people" comments amongst the coven. I gave up on sleep somewhere off the coast of Georgia. I regreted not going completely apeshit but figured I was on vacation now and bound to get my zzzz's eventually.

Then something strange happened. As I was walking off the plane, I heard them whispering behind me like 3 teenage girls in a high school hallway. "She looks like one of those..." was all I managed to make out. What?! They're talking shit about ME?! I wheeled around and took my sunglasses off so they would know I'd heard. But for some reason, no sound came out of my mouth to match my evil glare.

What the hell was wrong with me? A fight with people clearly in the wrong and 110% deserving a verbal lashing?! I live for this shit! I felt impotent. Maybe the venom can only be unleashed after 8 hours of sleep, I wondered as I continued to walk. My humiliation grew as I sized up the trio: one gaunt blonde with a bad haircut; one completely forgettable brunette and then the bitch-behind-me (a matronly hippo wearing a fanny pack...a fugging FANNY PACK, for crying out loud!).

As we entered the bathroom, one whispered to the bitch-behind-me, "hee hee, keep your hands and feet to yourself in the bathroom stall." I turned around and glared at them again. But, again, no sound released from my mouth. I fumed in the bathroom, thinking of all the horrific things I would usually say (e.g. "you know, when I first turned around on the plane, I expected to see a 4-yr-old so you can imagine how surprised I was to see a ONE HUNDRED and 4-yr-old"). What the HELL was happening?

I continued fuming all the way to Hertz where my Mustang awaited (it's the only car I've rented since last June in New Mexico -- I even budget a speeding ticket into each trip). Pushing the bad thoughts from my mind for a minute, I explained to the woman behind the counter that I prefer Mustangs with leather interior and spoilers, if possible. She replied that my reserved Mustang was the only one available.

Oh well, I mused as I walked out to the car, still thinking about all the other deliciously vile things I should've said. Cursing myself for forgetting the "we don't regret the things we do, we regret the things we DON'T do" motto, I started to notice Mustangs in the Hertz lot.

By the time I reached my car, I'd seen at least 3 other Mustangs with spoilers and leather interiors. I was very disappointed to find that although mine was a brand new black one, it lacked both a spoiler and leather interior (and the Sirius satellite radio was installed outside of the dash! Ew!). In fact, it looked much like an '08 Honda Accord coupe (I drive an Accord coupe in NYC so why would I want to rent one?).

I started to put my luggage in the trunk but then thought, "why am I going to pay all this money for something I don't like? How angry will I be with myself if I drive out of here with this alleged Mustang?" The image of those yucky women loomed large in my mind. My morning of regret was over.

Despite no sleep and the annoyed looks I'd get back at the Hertz counter, I took the luggage out and marched back inside. I explained that there were other Mustangs available and insisted that I be put in one of them instead. 20 minutes later, I had the keys to a hot red and black Mustang with leather interior, a spoiler and "Mustang" written across the side (Sirius radio in the dash!).

Before peeling out into the scorching FL heat to find an A/C to sleep in, I managed to notice one small detail: the license plates on my Mustang were from New Jersey (but at least they didn't talk).

Me in da Mustang (no regrets, bitches!)

Even Gia (my man's dog) was down with the spoiler. See, she's checking it out in this photo.

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