I stumbled across my travel notes from last June

Woke up without a clue as to where I was and launched into full blown, bleary eyed panic to find myself looking out at the pre-sunrise skyline of Seoul. My second thought was “Why did I just dream that my wife and I proposed a three-way marriage to Gail?” Just how I came to this point follows:

There were two exceedingly irritating children who played cartoon like video games at full volume the entire time we were in the terminal. I have a plan. As I write this I am fabricating an entire language that shall serve as my response to these game sounds should I be stuck near them on the plane. It will work something like Tourette’s outbursts that are induced by certain electronic game sounds. Allow me to expound. “ding ding ding” elicites a hearty “F@*k”, “boing” is rewarded with a thunderous “sonofabitch”, and “toot toot” will be met with a sudden “shite!!”. It’s still in the earliest stages of development. I have an entire fake language to fabricate and we board in 15 minutes. Challenge accepted!

During boarding and I began to grow concerned that I would be seated with these hellions and their nonattentive mother. I was not even a quarter of the way through cataloguing the cacophony of sounds produced by these toddler gaming devices. I’d just have to wing it.

Having aircraft maintenance brought aboard shortly after hearing engine shutdown isn’t exactly confidence inspiring. The mechanic type was wearing a reflective vest I can only assume proofs him against getting sucked into jet engines. His vest had his name (was it really his?) scrawled in ink pen on the left side of his chest. This is equally detrimental to confidence. Do they go through so many of these guys that they can’t afford real name tapes? I wouldn’t spend money on name tapes that get sucked into engines while riding on the backs of fat hairy dudes either. To top it off, a flight attendant waited until he was done to approach and tell him to “Come look at something back here because they are just hanging off”. I thought she might have been talking about his pants or her ancient bust, but mention of either is generally frowned upon in public. Seriously though. She was like 80 and heavy chested, but still liked to show off the girls. Consequently, her v-neck revealed a navel piercing between her cleavage.

There is a woman who at some point changed into pajamas and ran her seat row mate off of her row so she can sprawl across the three linear feet of luxurious space afforded by the acquisition of multiple seats in coach. I suppose this is possible to one when one can bully another out of seats. She was a large and scary looking woman, truth be told. The bully, not the mouse that scurried out of the bully’s path.

Had dinner with my daughter and a tranny. He\she is a friend of my daughter from her college years. He got married right out of school, joined the army, became a father, and then decided that he was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. Obviously, he needed to transition to realize this to the fullest extent possible. Never mind that all straight men are lesbians trapped in men’s bodies. The point is that I knew him when he was a him. Back then I kept my head shaved, but have since grown it out. I was passing through SeaTac and it just so happened that my daughter was in town visiting her friend and she thought it would be cool for us to go get something to eat during my layover. Imagine my surprise when a young man I once knew showed up dressed as a girl. His makeup did little to cover up his tendency to a heavy five o’clock shadow and he was now blonde. Not sure how to approach the situation, but not wanting to be rude either, I extended my hand and shook his firmly. I then made related fuax paxs (fuaxs pax?) in calling him by the original name by which I knew him and winced every time I said him or he.

It was all really quite exhausting. The point is that he/she made comment as to me having more hair than last time we saw each other. I played with the idea of pointing out that he does too, but wasn’t sure if he’d know I was referring to his head or making an insensitive remark about the five o’clock shadow. Seriously, Mark Anna. Stop being so sensitive.

The inflight entertainment was a Will Smith movie about football and concussions. Not real sure about more than that as I never bothered to plug earphones in. What I was more interested in was the caliber of the television screen on which it was displayed. I’m actually surprised it was in color because the image quality was so low you could distinguish individual pixels. Honestly, it was like watching a show about football and concussions as told in the world of Minecraft. Plus, there is no Wi-Fi. How primitive is this aircraft? Is it reliable? It’s cool though. Being an almost history major I enjoyed experiencing firsthand what it must have been like for Icarus. Fine. Maybe that was over the top. Change Icarus to Orville and Wilbur Wright. Really? Icarus? I never claimed to be a Greek history buff.

Then they showed a wonderfully whimsical movie about miners and it opened with the statement that 12,000 die every year. From Puss in Boots to this, Banderas? I’m really quite disappointed in you. I think the selections have been by design, really. Not Antonio’s selections in films he wants to make. The selections by the airlines designed to put us at ease about being ensconced in a heavy metal cigar tube filled with volatile petrochemicals needed to fire these whirling mechanical failures waiting to happen that they call turbine engines. They show us movies like this so we think “Whew! Glad I’m safe up here and not getting my skull bashed in by that beast of a linebacker”. Or “Dodged that bullet! No chance of getting stuck in a collapsed mine from up here!” Better yet “Suck it you strangely shod feline! I’m safely up here with Melanie Griffith. What do you have going for you? A little flashlight on your head and maybe a canary or two to split with 32 other trapped miners?” OK. So, that got away from me a little, but the point is that I’d rather be up here eating tasteless little chicken patties with fake grill marks than down there eating a helmet full of brain damage or trying to fend off the clingy advances of Antonio’s bipolar wife. Well played airline entertainment coordinator.

Are they still married? If not, I can’t say blame him. She might be adorable, but she is way too fragile in a crisis.

It seems that there is some federal mandate regarding the position of the single most superfluous part of a chair when you are aboard an airplane. Armrests must be down while the aircraft is in flight. Mine isn’t. I’m a rebel. Something like a pirate, maybe. A sky pirate. Scourge over the seven seas. Denizen of the deep….blue sky. Fine. Yes, ma’am I will put them down. Just get your belly button ring out of my face.

The Minecraft TV showed us fun facts like the fact that we were moving at 1 knot while we were in fact standing still on the tarmac. It also showed us at an altitude of 400+ feet while still on the ground. I suppose I could overlook both of these as calibration or our location in relation to sea level. Then it showed us something I wasn’t cool with: We were leaving Yokota, Japan bound for Osan, Korea. And we were heading due south. Last I checked, Korea would be a right turn if you were pointed south. I then theorized that the pilot had possibly hogged all the little shot sized bottles of whiskey from the galley. He must have heard me because the little Minecraft plane icon took a wobbly yet inadequate right hand turn. The alpha flight attendant then decided to put on something else to watch. Honestly, I’d much rather watch our inebriated captain’s drunken globe trotting. Despite my loss of suitable entertainment, I still think I’ve experienced a net gain. Yokota proved to be the final destination of the trio of baby banshees that disrupted my every attempt to sleep during our trans pacific crossing.

Landing at Incheon was far different for me than it was for MacArthur and his boys. I’m actually OK with that. It was a little unsettling though. Koreans seem to treat movement from gate to gate as a sporting event. I felt a little like I was in a Godzilla movie with all the Asians running around frantically. Yes, I know Godzilla was Japanese, but we’d just left Japan, so there is no telling what the Koreans were running from. Better keep up.

The last leg of my journey was spent drooling on myself during a bus ride to Seoul as I finally got some sleep. And now we’ve come full circle with me in the RoK having inexplicable dreams.

Good times.

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