Man it felt good to get off that fucking plane and wait for the shuttle bus and fork over $75 for three days’ of parking and hit the freeway and dump my one backpack of shit on the bed and to finally be home.
The flight was uneventful except for the stewardess who was chatting in the galley with her friend when I came up to wait for the toilet. She looked at my hoodie and shaggy beard and limp. “Stay right where you’re at,” she commanded.
“Where else would I stay? Someone’s already in the shitter.”
“Don’t cross that line.”
“What line?” I looked at the floor. “There’s no line.”
“The imaginary plane of the galley,” she ordered.
“Like in football?”
She was moving over to the intercom, preparing to call the on-board marshal, I suppose, or maybe my Mom. “Hello, Mrs. Davidson? We have your son here in the rear galley of Southwest Flight 1006 to LAX and he’s being obstreperous.”
My Mom always loved that word. “Well you tell him I’ll be right up and he’s in TROUBLE.”
I guess the fearful look on my face occasioned by the thought that Mom would beam herself up to the galley communicated to the stewardess that she had buffaloed me, so with a stern glance that said, “Buy a razor!” she went back to her conversation about the size of another stewardess’s wedding ring.
Back at the apartment I was able to break imaginary planes right and left. I shattered the imaginary plane of the shitter, of the kitchen, of the balcony, and of my beloved bed with the indentation on the left side that, after almost twenty years, has formed one of those indelible body-forming outlines like those indentations in the sand of the high Chilean desert that are visible from the air and have been undisturbed for thousands of years.
Pretty soon it became clear that after sitting on my butt for three days in Austin I had regressed sufficiently to the mean to be able to lift my left leg over the top tube and I could therefore ride my bike. I dressed up and took it outside, with Mrs. WM running after me.
“I takin’ onna picture!” she hollered. “Don’t go fallin’ onna pavement pelvic place again!” she said as I wobbled off. “Your butt lookin’ narrow!” was the last thing I heard her say.
Which was funny because generally the only people who comment about my appearance are people who are shorter than I am. I know a guy named Ed who is 6-7 and he has never said anything about how anyone looks, ever. This is because when you are 6-7, you flat fuggin’ win. You could be wearing a clown suit and a tutu, but when you’re the tallest guy in the room and probably the county, you win. So all the shorter people peck at your ankles and criticize your beard or your old shoes or your mismatched socks, but bottom line is that they’re just sour about not having eaten enough red meat as kids, or having gotten the wrong genes, or having smoked too many cigarettes and drunk too much coffee before puberty.
Still, I started the ride kind of worried about my narrow butt. What did she mean, exactly? That it was too skinny? If so, wouldn’t she have said it was a skinny butt? Maybe she meant that it was narrow along the east-west axis but droopy on the north-south alignment. Eccch. That didn’t sound very appealing.
After a few minutes, though, I quit worrying. I was on my bike and on the road. Again.
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