My flights frequently place me between two boom bobbas and thunder thighs, and in front of a young child with restless legs syndrome.
When I boarded my flight from San Francisco to Auckland five hours after initially planned, I almost went into apopleptic shock upon shuffling to my seat. My chair was between two men who didn't look like they ate a thirty-pound baby for lunch. Instead, they appeared to have jogged within the last decade. I am not disciplined towards physical exertion, but I don't weight over three hundred pounds. Yet.
As they both flaunted their foreign Kiwi tongues, I comprehended one-sixth of their words. I craftily construed that they were Army intel guys. They repeatedly referred to it. My grasp at their language hastily fled after I had two wine refills at dinner.
Twenty-Something streaked a smile across his face and got us beer. Four times. After the wine and beer consumption, the native-English speakers may as well have been communicating in Codswallop, Kara's fictitious/secret drunken form of verbal intercourse.
The only conversation I clearly recall concerned Kiwi pre-flight videos. Air New Zealand stewards and stewardesses conduct the pre-flight video nude. Their bodies are painted as if they wore uniformed clothing.
10am: I arrived in San Francisco with bags, plans to see five friends, and no transportation. Selling my car almost a year ago has been as heinous as not having access to deodorant. I sweat more than a three-hundred-and-fifty-pound male alcoholic.
1pm: My friend Nickle drove me to San Fran's downtown Westfield shopping center to converge with our friend Citi.
1:30pm: After dying and forgotten cell phone afflictions, we located our friend. She was hysterically looking for her aunt. The three of us backtracked to every store Citi was at with her phone-less aunt. We never found the aunt.
2:30pm: Nickle and I realized that we needed to abandon Citi to get to the airport on time. Citi deserted the aunt-chase to accompany us to the car.
2:40pm: A comatose frog would have had a better idea where we parked. Neither Nickle nor I recalled the floor, section, or color we parked in.
2:42pm: This had happened to me before. I regaled my friends with multiple recollections of a golf cart driving me around the structure to find my misplaced car. Enough drivers lose cars to justify a full-time golf-cart-car-locator employee.
2:53pm: The golf cart materialized and we signaled the driver SOS. When he didn't instantly freeze upon seeing us, I considered flashing him.
2:54pm: Nickle accompanied Savior while Citi and I stalked the car on foot. We ran from floor to floor, sumo-wrestler-sweating with perturbed legs. Citi and I passed the golf cart on five floors, looping identical paths.
3:10pm: Nickle called me. The car was on the fourth floor.
After a cheetah-speed good-bye to Citi, Nickle and I bombed into the car. She drove like a caffeine fiend madwoman to the airport.
3:36pm: At the international terminal, I ejected myself from the car and into the building. My booking confirmation told me I was flying Qantas Airways to LA, and then to Auckland. Qantas Airways was not listed as an airline.
3:39pm: I found the Qantas Airways check-in desks. Every desk was closed.
3:42pm: I asked the Information Desk man why Qantas Airways was closed when I needed them.
3:45pm: Info Man informed me I was actually flying United Airlines to LA, then Qantas from LA to Auckland.
"Reservations read wrong all the time," he told me. "You need to walk to the opposite side of the airport and catch the United flight in domestics, not international."
3:46pm: I elevated my backpack on my left arm, my four-foot-long black body bag on my right, my backpacker's bag on my back, and commenced the trek.
3:49pm: I coprolalia-cursed my laptop-laden backpack and shoulder-strapless body bag.
3:51pm: Sweat spiraled down my temples.
3:52pm: My arms cried.
3:53pm: My legs cried.
3:54pm: I cried.
3:59pm: I reached the domestic terminal and United Airlines check-in counter.
4:01pm: Electronic self-check reported an error. Check-In Counter Woman looked at my still-perspiring, befuddled mess of self and imparted with her eyes that she thought I was retarded.
Counter Woman: (sighed): "The system isn't letting you check in because you don't have a ticket. Where's your ticket?"
Me: "What? I'm at the check-in counter to get my ticket. Here's my reservation" (brandished my reservation page in her face like a cocky bastard with a flag).
Counter Woman: "You have been issued a ticket. It has to be somewhere. You do not have an electronic ticket. I cannot let you on the plane unless you have your ticket."
Me: (Recollected a hung-over morning conversation with the booking agent where he said they were sending my ticket in the mail. Twenty dollars for one-day delivery and insurance. I responded with, "Fuck no, I'm not paying twenty dollars! I don't leave for three weeks. I'm sure the ticket can get here by then." In my brain-damaged state, it didn't occur to me to question the electronic ticket. Or check the mail in subsequent days.)
"Well, I never received a ticket. Can't you just print one out for me? My flight's in a half hour."
Counter Woman: "You have to call whoever you booked through. It's not United Airline's responsibility."
4:06pm: I sat directly in front of the counter on my bags. I didn't have internet capabilities on my archaic phone. I called my brother. Four times. My eyes were crotch-level for the perpetual line checking in.
4:09pm: I phoned STA Travel and explained the situation in bewildered verbal diarrhea gibberish. They put me on hold.
4:35pm: My flight departed. I still sat, leaning against the check-in counter.
4:39pm: STA electronically issued a ticket and booked me on a direct flight with Air New Zealand to Auckland. Instead of arriving at 9:10am, the flight was slated to land at 3:50am. My phone died. I had no way of contacting my ride to let them know.
In college, for years I lived in San Francisco above a Hawaiian restaurant and bar, and below drug dealing brothers. The brother dealers were in their thirties and lived with their dad. My housemates and I deduced that at least one of the three living above us was a crackhead, as we unceasingly heard mutterings driveling from mouths punctuated by clusters of obscenities. One of those residing above us may have had turrets.
The Hawaiian restaurant and bar was baptized Hukilau. Our Hukilau apartment's paint exfoliated itself, the kitchen floor sloped, and none of the rooms had closets. The garbage cans dwelled two feet from our front door, and because of the proximity to the restaurant, we had pig-sized rats living under our disintegrating wooden stairs. The rats flying-squirrel-flew at us every six hours. Their eyes scintillated sabotage in dissolving sunlight.
Our habitat housed ants, flies, rats, cockroaches, mold, leaks, and unclassified vermin. When we contacted the landlord because a roof leak drooled onto my housemate's bed, the native Frenchman arrived howling that we were spoiled Americans, and we should just move the bed. He then tore apart our trash, shrieking that we were lazy Americans who didn't know how to break down boxes.
Our alluring abode engrossed a whale-penis-length hallway. Four bedrooms, one bathroom, a hall closet, kitchen, and living room all veered from the hallway like a sociopath's sense of direction.
One day, without any aggravation, food we had disposed of down the sink ejaculated into the bathtub.
One birthday, my housemate Fi-T received a year's steak supply from her parents. She had wanted a camera. One April night, she thawed some frozen steak in our bathroom sink. Thirty minutes later, Hukilau's manager body-slammed our front door. The meat had barred the drain. Sink water discharged through the floor and showered Hukilau's bar-seated customers' drinks, bar staff, and the business' alcohol apparatus.
In our apartment, Fi-T and I shared a sliding wall, and the kitchen counter space was as limited as a brothel's.
Hukilau's owners divulged that during Prohibition our apartment used to be a whore house, when Hukilau was an ice cream parlor with an underground tunnel to a bar across the street. They exposed the basement wall to us, with scalped paint sketching life-sized African Americans. Their lips, noses and asses looked like collagen had been catapulted into them.
The drug dealers disclosed that our apartment used to be an elite ganja-growing den with high pressure sodium lamps roping the ceilings.
Hawaiian Hukilau's Mexican chef had gold-rimmed teeth and an obese gold chain. My housemates, friends, and I frequented Hukilau's bar whenever we wanted a beer, and Hukilau's bathroom whenever our toilet backed up. The chef provided complimentary garlic fries. A lesbian manager Hukilau possessed for a year sacrificed money masses by administering beer pitchers to us. One weekend, after the manager's one-and-a-half second persistence to stay after closing, three o'clock in the morning found one of my friends vomiting in the bathroom, one fox-trotting behind the bar, one caroling on top of the bar, and my carcass slumped over the bar with my forehead incapacitating forearms like a plastered rum pirate. We hadn't paid for any booze. We never fingered why she got fired.
A bottle of Crown Royal whiskey daily escorted one of Hukilau's owners. After our beer pitchers, Owner would send us shots from his personal reservoir. For two years, Fi-T consistently thanked Steve for the Crown. His name wasn't Steve.
One night, Fi-T, our friend Mgs, and I soberly penetrated Hukilau to say hi. The night before had been saturated with incoherent babble, loss of bodily functions, and erroneous beliefs of elegance and beauty. Thus, the next night, we were sober. Owner greeted us with a shot of Crown each. Six rounds and impaired vision later, I couldn't execute a phone call. Two rounds after that, Mgs caught a cab the five blocks back to her apartment. An irresolute amount of shots after that, my brain comprehension faded with my ability to walk.
The next morning, my body catatonic, I questioned Fi-T from my bed. My vocal dilations, which more resembled grieved moans, reached her in her bed in the next room. She didn't know what happened either. Four hours later, when we belly-flopped downstairs to ask where our night went, we were told that we left our lives at the bar. Hukilau's staff had erected a small mountain from our belongings: my jacket and purse, Mgs' camera, and Fi-T's phone and wallet. Someone said they saw me and Fi-T crawling up the stairs.
It's been a year and a half since we lived above Hukilau. My college housemates and I visited the bar for drinks. Decorations have altered, managers have shifted, prices and menus have revolved. But, the Mexican chef is still there, and the ceiling stain from Fi-T's steak presides over the bar.
My life has as much planning and order as a deranged deer's day calendar.
I record dates inaccurately, times incorrectly, and am spontaneous to the point of causing self-inflicted retardation to my cranial lobe. This, coupled with the fact that people forget to tell me imperative details, like the death of a great-aunt, or relocation to Yemen, causes my brain mammoth malfunctions.
The day I returned from India, I resolved to withdraw from the Navy. Instead, I'd be an au-pair in some magnificent location, like Ireland, Australia, or South Africa. I selected New Zealand three minutes later because they refer to themselves as kiwis: small, fecal-matter-brown, flightless birds.
Having completed MEPS and DEPped in, the military had a quasi-sumo-wrestler hold on me. I fabricated a story, flinging around the words "pregnant" and "cancerous" like a monkey launching manure. The Navy notified me that I'd have to physically present myself at the office for an official resignation. They scheduled a mandatory meeting for January 12th.
The night of January 11th I consumed enough moonshine to fell an overweight cow. My conference was at ten the next morning, and I was in Marin without a car.
At sunup my friend Fi-Town dropped me off at the bus station, and I embarked on the enterprise of returning to Santa Rosa. I exhibited my trademark twelve dollar black sandals from eight years ago, my brother's gang-red Montgomery High School basketball sweatshirt, and my paint pants. Paint sprinkled my jeans, as well as dirt, dog saliva, and urine. The last time I showered and washed my hair, Jesus was alive. My pores exuded alcohol. My mouth birthed stale booze. Decaying rat savored my tongue.
In a car, the ride from Marin to Santa Rosa is forty minutes. In public transit, the ride is three hours. I slipped into the comatose sleep of the sloshed. Hours later, the bus deposited me on the sidewalk two miles from the Navy office. As I stepped off the bus, rain cascaded from the sky.
I had arrived in San Francisco two days prior, after a week in Southern California. My black four-foot-long bag of excess was my only accessory. None of my friends or family members responded to my phone-harassment. I had to walk the two miles to the Navy office to formally resign. In the rain. In sandals, a gang-red sweatshirt, and paint pants. With a black body bag on my back.
My feet slid in my tractionless sandals as I shuffled down the slippery sidewalk. A homeless man asked me if I wanted a ride. He didn't have a car, but did own a shopping cart. I declined.
Eight blocks later, rain pelting me like an adulteress getting stoned, a police officer pulled over and beckoned me to his car window.
"Hi Officer, is there a problem?" I asked, as muddled as the time a cop pulled me over for jaywalking.
"Are you okay?"
"Ya, I'm fine."
"So you're not in trouble," he iterated.
"No Sir. I'm just walking to the military recruiting center."
"Oh, you joined the military?"
"Actually, yes, but I'm walking there today to quit."
His eyes roamed up and down, his nostrils mushroomed, and he inhaled my scent. "You might want to re-think that."
The policeman left.
When I arrived, twenty minutes late, discharging rain and methanol, the military informed me that as of the fourth I was dropped from the program and didn't need to come in at all.
* You get kicked out of a casino for sitting on the floor without shoes.
* You were going to take two girls to a strip club and hook up with one of them, but you were too tired. You didn't go to the strip club.
* You put your hand down your friend's dress, fingering her boob. She doesn't notice. There is picture evidence.
* You buy a man shots at a bar because he asks the guy you're drinking with if he's in the military. Five shots later, the man escorts you and your friend up to your group's hotel room. You don't remember his name. You continually call him Ryan when his name is Brian. You leave with him, and return shit-housed at eight-thirty in the morning after gambling all night. You pass some friends in the hallway who ask you where Brian is. Your response: "Who's Brian?" Theirs: "Oh God. Room's that way."
* You dance with a forty-five-year-old black woman with an afro. After dancing for an hour, you say, "Alright, let's go up to your room." You black-out and don't remember her response. You assume she said no.
* You fall asleep in the bed. Your friend falls asleep fully clothed lying in the wrong direction on top of the covers. A hot Aussie awakens him at 4:30am by dripping water on his head.
* You leave your switchblade open in the bed. The girl also sleeping in the bed wakes up with the blade digging into her neck.
* You entice two Aussies to go with you to the hotel room you share with eight others. You want the hot one but hook up with the less attractive one instead, in a room already occupied.
* You are in Vegas for two nights. Someone walks you home both nights. While everyone packs up cars the morning of departure, you lie on the cement outside the casino.
Vegas 2010. New Years. You Know You're Drunk When...
* On New Year's Eve you exit the casino you're staying in for five minutes to watch the countdown. Then you return to the casino. The entire night, you're outside five minutes total.
* You black-out and don't remember ass-flashing anyone. You also don't remember having sex with a girl in the closet, putting her midget-hat on your bare ass, or picking up your ex-girlfriend over your shoulder until you crash to the ground. You missed midnight because you passed out on top of the bed.
* You eye-rape a male thinking it's a female.
* You have a four-some between two couples. The only thing you say the next morning to combat the accusations: "Captain Morgan is the only one who will ever know." You never admit to the four-some.
* The five o'clock evening sun (i.e. natural sunlight) blinds you because you've been inside drinking all day.
* You and your friend switch girlfriends for the night.
* You attempt handstand push-ups. As do two of your friends. You fall on each other.
* You (a man) slow dance with another man in your hotel room. Without music.
* Nobody in your group knows where the black hairy mustache came from.
* You deem it okay to descend into the casino wearing only a white bathrobe.
* You cease life-functioning while standing in the front row at a live band performance.
*You dry-sex/dry-ass-rape-dance with a girl for forty minutes. The next morning you don't recall dancing with her.