WHY DO THE WRONG PEOPLE TRAVEL?
So here I am, thousands of miles from my glamorous Palm Springs desert oasis, enduring the delightfully gale force winds and thrillingly subzero temperatures of Montreal, Canada to prepare for the shooting of my newest cinematic joyride A DENNIS THE MENACE CHRISTMAS.
The good people at Warner Brothers and my dear friend Steven Wolfe have engaged me to direct said epic here in the frosty north for the next two months. While I've been a horrible diarist as of late - I believe my last "blog", as the kids say, was just as we were finishing up on SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM - I have decided to record the day to day adventures of the making of a low budget movie in the hopes that those of you wonderful people out there in the dark who imagine my life to be nothing but non-stop cocktail parties and bed-hopping to rival Ancient Rome will understand the sacrifices and hardships I endure just to give you all a couple hours respite from the daily indignities of life in the 21st century.
And SPEAKING of indignities, can I tell you about the flight up here?
It's not bad enough that there is no separate line at the Security Check Point for those of us traveling First Class....not that I feel that I'm better than anybody else goodness knows, but puhleeze!
Just because a bunch of disgruntled Islamic kooks have taken the free world psychologically hostag, does this mean everytime I fly I deserve a half an hour wait, standing behind Marge and Ed from Dubuque who are on their first trip anywhere outside the state line? Needless to say they haven't checked their baggage - "oh you know they're just gonna lose it on us, i've heard they always do!" - insisting instead on jamming six days and seven nights worth of ratty acrylic sweaters and acid washed jeans into the Gift With Purchase matching nylon shoulder bags Marge got when she bought her beloved husband his annual gallon bottle of Aramis For Men Sport. But of course they didn't know about the new "No Liquids or Gels" rule, so all of this discount WalMart fashion must be disgorged onto the stainless steel xray table in order to facilitate Marge finding her obviously ineffectual Avon Beauty Travel Set which must then be dismantled and shoved into see through plastic bags to be taken onboard the plane.
A thought about those plastic baggies: exactly what purpose do they serve?? How does airport security know if your bottle of Bonne Belle skin clarifier or your pathetically hopeful new tube of KY "Warming" Gel is the real thing just by looking at it? Unless they're actually tasting the Lip Gloss, it could be C-4 explosive! It seems to me it's just another way to intimidate people into behaving like sheep on a plane...
It all started with the Shoe Bomber. Did you happen to see any of the pictures of this Terror-wasn't? Not exactly one of Allah's shiniest pennies. The dull eyes, the vapid smile, the fetal alcohol syndrome cranium; this is a man whose turban clearly could've used a couple more wraps. Even Osama Bin Laden tried to distance himself from this dolt, saying "no, no, the Shoe Bomber, not one of ours..." This is a guy who can't even get a simple lighter to work and he's suddenly given the power to ruin the line of my slacks everytime I'm at the airport by making me take off my Pradas? Granted it's the only time my silk and cashmere blend Brooks Brothers socks get to really show themselves off, but it's still a pain in the ass!
Of course the riff raff who pass for travellers these days couldn't care less; they're just happy to be doing something. Having moved on from the bus routes of America to clogging up the airways with their discount seat sales and last minute specials to Aruba, they continue to take a hacksaw to the elegance which was once World Travel by wearing hideous track suits and brand new "tennies" bought "special" for the trip on board the plane, as if they were attending some sort of flying Flea Market.
And those shoes apparently take FOREVER to unlace, not to mention the extra frisson one gets by watching these nomadic behemoths -- the new tourist class are ALWAYS overweight -- bend over directly in front of you to retie their Payless Specials and demonstrate why they are single-assedly responsible for the increase in airline fuel costs.
But it doesn't stop at security, oh no....
Then you have the actual flight itself to endure.
It used to be that the worse thing you had to deal with on aircraft were the BABIES, new parents proudly carting their squawling issue off to visit "Gammy and Gamps" who invariably lived somewhere on the other side of the country. I've often wondered why these grimly determined mothers and fathers didn't take the hint in the first place -- if your inlaws have moved to the other side of the continent, that means THEY DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU. And frankly, I've always been of the opinion that the cabin of an airliner was no place for a baby - they should be sedated, tucked neatly into a Cat Box and stored in the hold. I do, of course, realize I may be in the minority on this.
At least the little ones are usually stuck back in coach class someplace, the wife usually already pregnant again, the husband generally still glazed over from the shocking realization that he is probably never going to have sex again unless it involves forty dollars and a hotel room. But on a few occasions, Daddy will have saved up enough frequent flyer points from business trips to bump himself, Mommy and Rosemary's Baby into First Class where they sit smugly, smiling at the other families passing by as if to say "well, I guess your father doesn't love you enough..."
I was once on a transcontinental flight where this very thing occurred, and the woman ended up sitting next to me while her husband and one of their other Broken Condoms were in the twin seats across the aisle. The baby in the woman's arms was, for the most part, well behaved -- from time to time it distracted me from rereading "The Letters of Sylvia Plath" by making an absurd mewling noise and staring at me with its cow-like gaze, but at least it wasn't rude.
The mother however was another thing. Just as I was tucking into my third Bloody Mary, and with nary a hesitation, she popped one of her naked breasts out of her blouse, smiled at me and said: "You don't mind, do you?" She then proceeded to stick it into the gaping maw of the infant on her knee and the sucking noises began.
Needless to say, I was aghast: the last time I had seen a nude female body that close was at the Louvre. But being a gentleman requires one occasionally to simply absorb and forgive the appalling manners of others, so I smiled as if I thought having this little Parasite clamped to your bare tit inches from a complete stranger was the most natural thing in the world.
On another flight, this one direct out of Palm Springs to Chicago, my seat mate was a paraplegic woman who neatly folded her withered legs up into the seat back pocket in front of her, nestling them between the in-flight magazine and a vomit bag, as she told me about her no-good ex-husband and how he had sexually abused their daughter for years until she caught him and had him arrested. All of this, of course, while the afore-fondled daughter was sitting beside us, desperately pretending not to have heard a thing as she read Teen People. Given half the chance, I think she would've gladly folded the rest of her mother up and chucked her out the window over Utah.
But just as it seemed like things in the air couldn't get worse....they did.
When the airlines had their financial woes a few years back, many of them decided to cut corners by pissing off their frequent fliers and stopping food service onboard. Granted, for a few of my fellow passengers, skipping one of their nine meals a day might actually be a GOOD idea, but never underestimate the will power of the morbidly obese. They simply started bringing their OWN food on board! And to make matters worse, the airlines encouraged it!
Which was how I, dressed in a suit and tie which probably cost as much as one of the engines, found myself seated next to a heavy set gentleman in a "GO PIRATES" sweatshirt, sandal clad talons sticking out of the bottoms of his ill fitting jeans, as he devoured -- with sound effects -- a tin foil container of chicken parmagiana, spaghetti on the side. The stench of the cheap takeout notwithstanding, I was almost able to ignore this stomach churning spectacle by focussing on my gin and tonic, and when Gorgo finally finished his repast I felt quite sure the worst was over.
I was wrong.
He then opened a small bag in front of him and pulled out a roll of -- prepare yourself, dear reader -- Dental Floss. Waxed. Even through my garlic singed olfactory senses, I could tell it was mint flavored.
And with the same aplomb as the Breast Feeder of several flights earlier, Frankenswine FLOSSED HIS TEETH. On the plane. In the seat beside me. Flicking the bits of tartar - and dead poultry carcass - out onto the seat in front of him.
I could take no more. Summoning every ounce of reserve that my well deserved reputation for graciousness would allow, I turned to the Cannibal next to me and said -- "I don't mean to be rude, but certainly the washroom would be an easier place to do that?"
Without a glance to me, he pulled the floss from between his fangs and said - "mind your own fucking business" - and returned to the job at hand.
I couldn't -- and still can't -- believe what I'd heard. In shock, I simply sank back into my seat, took another swig off my Bombay Sapphire and wondered how hard it would be to set fire to my shoe....