T he owners of the bar where I work treated their employees to a weekend in Lake Tahoe for our after-Christmas, Christmas party. As all booze hawkers know, nobody that isn't signed to a record label parties as profoundly as bar employees.
We had booze. We had drugs. We had casinos. We felt lust. And we abused ourselves in the name of gorilla gluttony -- and you know what? I don't feel a bit of remorse or moral decline.
However, that’s not the story. . .
That’s when I encountered the Flying Hyena.
She was 47ish, with short blonde hair, long spiny fingers, and the anxiety of a woman clinging to the last dregs of beauty chiseled into her face.
I'm talking, of course, about the flight attendant.
"Sirrrr," she groaned, "you can't bring that thing on the plane. It's too large." She accented the word "thing" as though the only time she’d ever seen a boom box was in her son's room -- blaring Gwar, just before he started the animal sacrifices.
"What should I do?" I asked, completely intimidated by her Mommie Dearest-ness.
"Try and fit it into the overhead bin; and hurry!" she snapped.
While I tried to make the stereo fit in the compartment, she kept barking and saying that it would never fit, and I couldn't even go back and check it in because it wasn't packaged properly (or at all, for that matter). And she never offered an alternative, probably because the icicle that was lodged in her ass was ruining her mood. I mean, this is a woman who cries hailstones -- if she cries at all.
Don't apologize, don't apologize, don't apologize, don't apologize. . .
"I'm sorry for holding up your plane," I said, as the other passengers tried to pass. Even they sneered at me -- as though I had a commie beard, a beret, a smoldering Monte Cristo, and a box of bombs.
She scolded me in front of everyone. It's astonishing that, as a full-grown man, there are still people who can make me feel like a ten year old who just broke an expensive lamp in Joan Crawford's house.
See, the flight attendant probably decided I was beneath her on the socio-economic scale and acted accordingly. But the thing is, this aero-hag was my socio-economic peer! Everybody knows that flight attendants are little more than waitresses in the sky.
Nobody cares that she travels all over the globe.
Nobody cares that she has had first-aid and crisis training.
Nobody cares that the FAA can go Gacy on your ass if you give her any shit.
All anyone cares about is how quickly she delivers your chicken patty and what she looks like naked: the definition of a waitress.
At this point, I remembered that many planes have a storage closet near the front. I asked the Flying Hyena if this plane had such a closet and she snidely remarked that it was full, as if it were my fault her husband ran off with an aerobics instructor.
Whatever you do, don't leave the stereo behind; don't leave it behind, don't leave it behind, don't leave. . .
"I guess I have to leave it behind," I said, dejectedly. So I walked forward to get off the plane -- and what do I see but the storage closet, wide open and nearly empty. The Hyena quickly modified her story: "The stereo won't be secure in there," she said. (A different issue than, "The closet is full," wouldn't you say, you tar-hearted pigeon-hump?)
I wanted to smack her so hard the impact would make all the oxygen masks drop from their compartments, but I couldn't find the courage. I wanted to say, "Blow me!" and walk off, but it seemed unoriginal. I just put the stereo in the closet, despite her protests, and took seat 26A. It was her problem now -- I was through.
Only after I buckled up, and was pleasantly fantasizing about her grisly death, did I think of the perfect walk-off line:
"Lady, the only difference between my job and yours is the size of the liquor bottles."