Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The moment of clarity

I woke up this morning thinking of flying. I get on the plane in a few hours and I cannot even tell you how excited I am to see my family.

But what popped into my mind first was, "Take us to fucking LAX!"

Years and years ago, I dated this very sweet guy named Jon Longuglylastname. At one point in our short relationship - while at a swanky hotel in NY for his cousin's wedding, and I was all, oh my, this is lovely, and sure, maybe we'll get married one day - he said, "Lisa Longuglylastname sounds great."

Somehow I had the good grace not to reply, "Nothing Longuglylastname sounds great."

So all was well and good the first few months, as they tend to be. He was adoring, and he took me fabulous places. I desperately needed the adoration. And I reveled in being treated to fabulous places while in grad school.

And then somewhere about month three, he began to irritate me. It was the beginning of the end.

This was right about the point where his dad sent us tickets to LA for Thanksgiving. My parents were in South America, so there was no holiday conflict there.

So he was annoying me...but I'd never been to California. Maybe things would improve. Maybe travel and and time with his family would make things better.


His father, who'd seemed nice, turned out to be this angry little rat-faced insanely wealthy man who YELLED when he was mad. Which was every time he didn't get his way.

They lived in an LA version of a chateau, in a gated community. All the everything for the house had been ordered from France or specially made. Jon and I stayed in the guest house. Which was next to the pool. And the tennis court.

I don't mean to sound shallow when I say that I wanted to love him. I really did. Fine. I was shallow.

Anyway. His father sent us tickets, and off we went.

This was before I was certain of death on flights. Thank God.

Also, it was November. The Santa Anas were raging. This is relevant.

So we arrived in the airspace above John Wayne airport. We tried to land.

We headed down like a normal landing. And then the plane kind of swooshed sideways, like when you hold a toy on a string in front of a cat, and the cat bats it sideways. Except we were in a plane. Sidewaysing.

We headed up. Fast.

The pilot said, "The winds are kind of strong. We're going to circle a bit and try again."

The second time we tried, we looked like we were landing, and suddenly whole plane tilted left, and we, who were on the left, were staring at the veryvery close runway through the window.

The pilot jerked us straight up in the air.

This was when people started freaking out.

The pilot came back on and said, "The winds are a little stronger than expected. We're going to circle and wait for another plane to land successfully. If it looks like we can't land here, we'll head to LAX."

And people started yelling. "Take us to fucking LAX!" People were hysterical.

I was sitting there clutching his hand thinking, "Fuck. I'm going to die with fucking John Longuglylastname. Fuck."

That's when I knew. I really really knew.

We did wind up landing there on the next attempt. People burst into tears. Flight attendants ran up and down the aisles hugging people. No exaggeration.

The winds were insane. The palm trees were bent over so far that their frondy green heads were almost touching the ground. There were fire trucks on the runway.

It was just the beginning of a long four days.


  1. You should never get on a flight next to someone you don't love. (I mean, if you're traveling with people. If you're alone, then this doesn't count. Okay, this is turning into a really stupid comment. But seriously. ) Sigh.

  2. you're not shallow, shallow would be if you HAD married him.
    everyone wishes that they had access to that kind of life, at least everyone i know.

  3. Wow - thank god for that flight or you might have become Lisa Longuglylastname and spent years of irritation with that guy, lol. But I don't really think you would have - that doesn't seem to be your style. And I think the gods were saving you for Nick and J!

  4. You're back (on LG), yay! Haha, Longuglylastname. I had no idea there is a John Wayne airport and can't help but picture a ghost town or movie-set type setting. Have a safe trip home to DC!

  5. Ages ago, I also went on a trip to LA with my own Longuglylastname fellow. Maybe if we'd had a near-death flight experience, I would have realized he was a douchebag and would have saved myself the drama. Found him cheating on me months later. That mo-fo.

  6. Holy crap! I've been on a lot, I mean A LOT of flights in my time, but have never dealt with anything that scary. Yikes.

    Wishing you safe travels and a warm welcome home!

  7. This post is delicious.

    My scariest flight was London to Genoa - the airport is one of those motherfucker airports that has runways out into the sea. You circle around out over the ocean and the wind is whipping down off the Alps and you start to head down toward the runway but it's in the sea and then plane is shaking because of the wind and you think you are going to die - alone - in a plane full of weeping Italian grannies.

  8. I grew up riding my horse on the grounds of John Wayne airport (went to school with his daughter btw) I always laugh to myself when my husband complains about the wind in North Dakota. I have yet to tell him in twenty years, just how bad those SA winds can get. I am so very glad you made it down safely and left that loserwithabaddadandname and married that guy who guest blogged for you this week.

  9. And then somewhere about month three, he began to irritate me.

    As my near vision deteriorates, sometimes when I'm reading really fast two Rs together look like a lowercase M.

    Which makes sentences like that one even more entertaining.

  10. Yeah I tolerate flying except when the landing or the trip is crappy then I loath it and my stomach does flipflops for 2 days afterwards.

    Damn why cant the nice ones have loaded parents for a change huh?

  11. Yay you're back! Nick did an excellent job, but we missed you anyway.

    ps- haha, Mr Bennet, that made me laugh! Ha!

  12. Lisa - your blog never fails to make me smile. And laugh. And think. And feel. I can't believe it has been years now since I discovered your blog! Thanks for being fabulous. And thanks for being a sweet part of my day - you = amazing.

  13. SCARY!

    I had a scary airplane incident involving an Aeroflot flight in the USSR (it was the 80s) and a lightning-n-thunderstorm. It was not nice; there were people throwing up. (Not me, luckily.) But I know EXACTLY what you mean about the flight attendants hugging people... whew.

    Welcome home!

  14. I would have add a lollipop for the picture!


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