I'm sure you are all anxiously awaiting a story that proves that even after all this practice, I still have no idea what I'm doing or what might be reasonable to expect where dating is concerned. Meanwhile, however, our friend Darren has something else for you to read.
You remember Darren, don't you? He guest posted for me once before not too long back. Apparently the dude really does miss blogging, because he did it again.
Give him a warm welcome and maybe he'll follow Flurrious's lead and reactivate his own blog already.
The Friendly Skies
"Well then, my dear, you must have an opinion about Mr. Agastino."
It was sometime after seven this past Monday morning, and I was at a gate in the Montreal airport waiting for a flight back to New York City. Somehow a man and a woman in the waiting area with me, two strangers, had discovered they both had a relationship with a private airline: He had once been a pilot for the company, and she was currently a manager.
The woman laughed at the man's question. "No comment," she chuckled.
If it hadn't been for the green, Hawaiian print shirt he wore with the dark blue suit, this man would have resembled Dr. Phil in every way. The bald head, the beady yet friendly eyes--even the direct, common sense voice with the southern-by-way-of-the-Midwest accent--all Dr. Phil. So uncanny was the resemblance that I could only assume the man had come to accept his appearance and even played it up for effect for friends, family, and coworkers. I imagined a framed photograph of the private pilot and the talk show host resting on a desk in the man's office; the two of them awkwardly posed side-by-side, the man displaying much more enthusiasm than Dr. Phil is feeling for the chance encounter at the seminar or book signing or show taping. I could see the man at a Halloween party arriving essentially as himself, save for a copy of Relationship Rescue tucked under his arm to make the connection for anyone at the punch bowl wondering who he was supposed to be.
"'No comment,'" the man laughed back. "Yeah, I've known Bunny for years, and I think that's the best answer."
I had initially been annoyed by the man for breaking early morning flight etiquette--chiefly, “Sh-h-h, no one's happy being up at this hour"--but I was now intrigued. Who was Bunny Agastino, and what had he done to elicit such careful yet knowing responses from both current and former employees? Was he the private airline's CEO? Had he run off with his secretary and flown away in one of the company's jets, never to be seen again? I could just see the headline in the New York Times "Business" section: "FlightWays' president Martin 'Bunny' Agastino steals plane, hearts."
The man asked the woman for her name. I didn't catch it, but he responded to whatever she said with, "Well, my dear, with a name like that you must be from…?"
I'm fascinated by anyone who can work the words "my dear" into conversation with a stranger and not come off sounding like a total perv. Coming from the Dr. Phil lookalike, it was borderline charming. Mind you, I would never do something like that myself, nor do I want to. But I admire the self-assuredness it must take, the comfort with oneself it would require to do something like that. "Excuse me, my dear, but I'm feeling very good about myself today, so I would like to order a venti House Blend to go with a blueberry scone. On second thought, I just had an expensive haircut. Make that two blueberry scones, my dear!"
Soon, the conversation between the man and the woman petered out, and my attention was drawn to the businessman sitting across from me. He was normal looking enough. I assumed the plaid gray and black suit and crew cut meant that he was a Canadian businessman traveling to New York rather than a New York businessman returning to New York. You just don't see too many flattops on Wall Street.
The businessman was staring off in the distance at a flatscreen TV displaying five news stories and fifteen commercials on an endless loop, and I'm pretty sure he had an erection. Everyone is cursed one time or another with what I call "pants boner," that unfortunate bulge of fabric that gathers around the zipper every time you sit down. But there was something especially unbending about that portion of the businessman's lap that raised my suspicions.
Perhaps it is for him and travelers like him that the vending machines in the men's rooms in the Montreal airport sell condoms. I noticed the condoms during one of the many anticipatory trips to the men's room I had made that morning after arriving at the airport. I suffer from a rare condition that causes my bladder to go in to overdrive the second the flight attendant seals the cabin door. It makes no difference if I abstain from all liquids twenty-four hours before a flight; all I need to do is hear the thump of the closing door, feel the pressure change in my ears, and suddenly my body begins to draw and absorb moisture from any conceivable source within feet of my seat. This wouldn't be a problem if I didn't dislike using the airplane facilities. They're small, cramped, dirty, smelly, and there's usually a long line for them. Plus, I just don't think you should have to urinate and maintain your balance at the same time unless you're drunk.
What struck me about the condoms was the question of who on earth they were for. Certain things in airport bathroom vending machines I can understand--aspirin, for instance. Even Looney Tunes temporary tattoos make sense if you're traveling with small children or if you're trashy.
But who are the condoms for? Who gets lucky in an airport? Or has whatever will lead to intercourse taken place in-flight before the plane even arrives? I'm trying to conceive of a scenario in which two passengers forced to share a row hit it off especially well somewhere over Iowa, and after landing, the man casually dips into the airport restroom for a condom before picking up his luggage at baggage claim and accompanying his one-flight stand to the Airport Best Western. I'm trying, but I can't because any time I fly, I want the people seated around me to touch me less, not more. And even if something like this did happen, wouldn't a normal condom do? They speak a lot of French up in Montreal and I do not, but even I was able to deduce that the machines in the men's room were dispensing condoms "studded for pleasure."
Before I could dwell on any of this for too long, I was soon aboard my flight, silently thankful that I was not sitting next to the talkative private pilot and that I didn't have to go home with the businessman with an erection.