Los Angeles On A Plane

There were no snakes on the plane. But LA was in full effect.

After a long overnight flight from LA, and an even longer layover in the Detroit airport (their computers were down), I finally arrived at my parents house at around 11 AM this morning. And I'm exhausted.

I usually like taking red eye flights. I can conk out and sleep through the flight, no problem. Plus, red eye's are quiet, uneventful affairs. Folks don't run their mouths and spill too many of their secrets. I like overhearing all of someone's business, trust me, I do. But a girl needs a break from all that sometimes.

Last night's red eye flight from LA would have been rather uneventful if it hadn't been for two things: the meth addict and the Scientologist.

To start, the window seat I'd selected when I bought my ticket was not the seat I got when my boarding pass was handed to me.

"So sorry, Miss. The flight's booked and we can't change your seat."

Fine. No reason to flip out, right? I'm thinking, no problem. I'm flexible. I'll sit in the middle seat and drift away into dreamland.

Well, my new seat happened to be in the very back row of the plane. In case you've never had the privilege of sitting in those seats, that means that the seats don't recline.

Gosh, I just love sitting straight up on an overnight flight.

Those great seats were also right across from the airplane restroom. To my right was a very healthy-sized gentleman. He got up to use the restroom four times. I began to wonder if he timed his need to go with the exact moment I started to doze off.

To my left was a frail young man who was intently reading a thick paperback book. After about a minute of sitting next to me, he says, "You know they let airplane pilots have a .04 blood alcohol level?"

I did not know that. I had never thought about it before. But, he kept speculating about whether or not the pilots were tipsy. This was not the kind of discussion I needed to have before takeoff. I think he saw that in my face, so he switched topics. He closed his heavy book and turned it over so that the cover faced up.

Great. Just great.

"Have you ever read Dianetics before?" he asked.

"No, I haven't I," I said, snapping open my collection of short stories. I hoped he'd take a hint and notice the lack of eye contact.

Unfortunately, the flood gates were open. He started to explain what a wonderful book it was and how Scientology had changed his life.

And it could change mine too.

Not that I'm not down for changing my life, but I'll pass on transforming it through Scientology. To make that perfectly clear, I decided to take a page from my three year-old's bad behavior book. I looked Mr. Scientology in the eye and said, as coldly as I could, "I don't want to talk about it." Then I majestically swung my body back around and once more picked up my short story collection.

He sort of cowered in his seat after that, reading the book and looking furtively at me from time to time. I felt a little bad, but I just wasn't in the mood to hear his Scientology schpiel.

I suppose it could have been worse though. I could have been one of the horrified passengers seated twenty rows in front me. I could have been seated next to the (probable) crystal meth addict.

Are you wondering why I think this guy was a meth addict?

Well, how about obvious tweaking behavior, uncontrollable scratching, sores on his body...ugh!

I saw him while I was waiting for someone to put their bag in the overhead bin. Meth Man was easy to spot because of the constant twitching and scratching. I prayed for his poor soul. I have empathy for his situation. I just wouldn't want to sit next to him.

From the looks on the faces of the folks seated around him, no one else wanted to sit there either.

Seriously, how LA could this flight get? A meth addict and a Scientologist on the same plane!

The only thing that could have been better is maybe if the Scientologist had ended up sitting next to Meth Man. They could have done a little in-flight "deprogramming". The Scientologist could have surely cured Meth Man of his addiction.


We'll never know the possibilities. But I'm telling you, red-eye rehab could have been born.


epikles said…
lolz. having seat assignments based on some sort of psychological needs assessment sounds like a fine idea for a movie - and hey, you're already in L.A - one of those 'experiment gone wrong' kind of flicks.
Anonymous said…
WOW...how wonderful it is to have a meth addict on the plane with U..i've never seen one up close...but I know Indiana has one of the highest levels of meth labs in the country...I wonder if he was coming to my wonderful state!

Don't you wish you could've pitched a fit...but now days you can't do that...they will label you a terrorist and get you thrown off the plane!

Once again...Welcome to Indiana!!!
Dena said…
any chance you'll swing through chi-town? we miss you over here!
Mamita Umita said…
Dena alreay asked what I was going to ask :)
Mamita Umita said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon said…
Oh how I cannot wait for my next flight to California. Great story!
Ian Lidster said…
I think I would have preferred the meth-head to the Scientologist. On the other hand, as you suggest, maybe the Hubbard-buff could have evoked the soul of Tom Cruise and fixed the poor guy. Anyway, as a former addicitons counselor, your description captured the image perfectly.
Mes Deux Cents said…
If I were a smart aleck I would say that's what you get for flying around a holiday, but since I'm not I'll make you feel better by telling you a bit about my commutes. For some reason my local public transportation company has purchased buses in which the seats face each other. So, imagine how fun it is going about town having any Tom, Dick or Harry staring you in the face for the trip! (lol)

Anyway I enjoyed reading your post as always and enjoy the rest of your trip.
Lydia said…
I am SO glad you did a "talk to the hand...well...back to Scientology man! Politeness on planes is overrated, especially on Red-Eyes! I am nervous flier and I HATE it when people assume that we are obligated to make conversation because we are sitting on top of one another for 4 or 5 hours! I just want listen to my ipod or read a book thank you!
Liz Dwyer said…
Yes, in the online seat assignment, we'd be able to rate ourselves as stable, unstable, unsure, on drugs...and then the computer would spit out a seat. Hyperactive and on coke...you get the seats that don't recline because you're not sleeping anyway! LOL! And yeah, LA is a huge experiment, isn't it. We're the petrie dish of oddballs that sell dreams to the rest of the world. Gotta love it.

I'm in your wonderful state right now! I had no idea there was such a big meth lab problem here. I'm going to Amish Acres tomorrow so I'll be sure to see if there's stashes being transported via horse-drawn buggy!

Dena & Mamita,
Maybe on Sunday...but I'm not sure yet! I should have just flown there and spent the night so I could see y'all and then taken the Metra out here. :(

I hope that future California flight is totally uneventful for you. But, chance are, something interesting will happen on it if you're coming here!

It's a toss up for me. The Scientologist left me alone after my mafia style intimidation. The meth head, well, and this is so gross, but I'd have been worrying the whole time that one of the scabs would somehow fall off onto me. Eww! The thought just makes me feel sick. You see that I couldn't have been an addictions counselor, right? Heck, I could barely handle being around the addicts in my own family!

Mes Deaux Cents,
Sitting facing each other? What, are y'all supposed to interview each other? Break down the barriers of race, class and gender while looking into each other's eyes? Then again, if it happens and folks start becoming best friends and falling in love, they've got an instant marketing campaign right there.
Liz Dwyer said…
I am also a nervous flier, especially around takeoff and landing. I am convinced that every takeoff or landing is going to be my last moment on earth. So I seriously can't chit chat about some randomness when I am worried that I'm never going to see my kids again. You know?!
1969 said…
Ahhh the joys of air travel. You want real adventure? Take a bus trip sometime. LOL

Just glad you made it through the flight safe and sound. Hope it's smoother heading home.
Dena said…
i don't know what i was thinking. i'm leaving for d.c. today in a few hours....so even if you do pass through, i won't be here on sunday! heheha
none said…
Getting to sit next to the scientologist...How mush worse could it get?

I guess meth man would have been bad too... probably less annoying.
Red-eyes are for sleeping! You handled that situation very well.

I went to a birthday party for a screenwriter. I had no idea the woman just became a Scientologist. Every two minutes someone was telling me I should come to the Celebrity Center on Franklin...it would help my career. Uhm no.
I was once on a NY to L.A. flight on which Michael Douglas and a Scientologist who was not Cruise or Travolta were also passengers. I didn't notice a meth addict, unless it was Douglas or the Scientologist.

D made a lot of sleazy eye contact from across the aisle while the Scientologist made a play for my soul.

We could all learn a lot from a 3-year old's bad behavior book. What we should feel bad about is disarming them by teaching them to be polite to strangers.
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh yes, I once took the bus up to San Francisco and it was hell. I'll never do that again. And thanks for the good travel vibes. I hope it's smoother on the way home as well!

Well, that just means you need to come to LA to make up for that lapse in memory, doesn't it!

Maybe if the scientologist had a twin sitting on my right side...that could have been even more awkward.

Oh yes, they tell you that, and then forget to tell you that they will then own you because they "helped" your career. Craziness. I see them shopping in the Vons on Sunset and Virgil and I just don't get those outfits. And why doesn't Tom Cruise have to wear those clothes too? Did he pay enough $ to get out of it. Am I going to be sued for typing that?

Now that combo sounds infinitely worse than mine. Good grief...what are people thinking?
Jameil said…
lmao @ in-flight "deprogramming. The Scientologist could have attempted to cure Meth Man of his addiction" and red-eye rehab. hilarious!! i'm telling you. these things happen to bloggers so we have something to talk about!! i'm not a plane people person and i have that look. that don't talk to me AND I MEAN IT. rarely do people find the strength and bravery to cross my strong "don't talk to me" lines.
Liz Dwyer said…
You know, I usually will talk to folks and I've met some interesting people on planes, but I just couldn't do it on that flight. The whole Scientology thing just makes me nervous. Next thing you know, they'd be calling my house or something. And it's happened before to other folks I know. It's just sort of creepy.
Kate said…
This was such a good story that I retold it last weekend!

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