Wednesday, June 10, 2009

May the gods of irony smile upon you

Why, oh why does irony play such an essential role in our lives? Why am I always stuck next to a boring middle-aged woman or old man or families on airplane rides? Or rather, why does it always happen except for this once? This was the one time I forewent any attempt to look presentable and wore a 6-year-old purple T-shirt, my glasses, scraggly uncared-for and uncut hair, having been in airports or on planes all day, fresh from New Orleans with a rattling cough that makes people back away slowly and a gushing runny nose. Why does all this happen to me when I am sharing my row on a seven-hour flight to London with an attractive, probably single 20-something with a book and a water bottle, just like me? Why did he have to walk in and sit down right as I stuffed the last of a chocolate chip cookie in my mouth, just in time to hear my rasping attempt to swallow with a plugged up nose that made me feel like I was trying to breathe through wet cotton? Oh God of attractiveness and perfect timing, WHY do you forsake me?
I tried to come up with something to say to the-man-I-would-have-married-if-I-had-only-planned-better to save face, but my ideas seemed as addled as my congested sinuses. I picked through possible conversation topics in my head:
“Gee, this pressurized weather sure is great, isn’t it?”
“Well, if you need any Kleenex, I’ve got some, har har.”
“Want some hand sanitizer? It’ll keep you from getting my cold.”
“Want some Tylenol PM? That way I won’t be the only one who sleeps through my needing to blow my nose.”
But it was useless. He’d already seen me unpack my arsenal of medication, water, chocolate, sappy Western romance novel and a toilet paper roll I would inevitably use up on my nose before the flight was over. To prove my point, he got up and moved. Only across the aisle, mind you, where he could spread out and sleep on four empty middle seats. But it’s obvious why he really left, I thought forlornly, and I couldn’t really blame him. I wouldn’t want to sit next to me either.