For those who’ve been wondering just what I’ve been up to, here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to my little brother about flying home from Portland Oregon to Richmond Va with my 80 year old parents. I love my parents dearly, that being said, Hang to your booties folks, this gets bumpy.
So we get to the sky priority desk, which we are. The guy takes our luggage. You leave me. You bastard. The guy asks for Id. Mom and Dad are jibbering so I say, MOM DAD he needs your id. Mom says ALL our ID. The man says only if you want to fly. Mom gets out id. I get out Id. The man checks bags. Mom starts jibbering about her wheelchair. Wheel chair. WHEEL CHAIR. The man says he’s calling for it. asks for credit card to pay for baggage. I hand him mine. Dad says What wait how much, what? I say I don’t know and I don’t care. Dad laughs. Man tells us where to go wait for wheel chair. Mom’s still talking.
We head inside. I walk ahead to find the row of seats. Find it. its marked with the blue handicapped sign. I look back and Mom and Dad are just standing in the middle of the airport. I call them. they stand there. I wave them over. They stand there. Mom sees a guy with a wheel chair “That’s mine. That’s my chair.”
The man explains it is not her chair. There are other people who need chairs. There are. Really. I shout. MOM DAD over here!
Here they come. I tell them to sit. The chair is coming. They sit.
Chair arrives. We get on plane.
We land. The wheelchairs are delayed. We only have a half hour before they start boarding the other plane. Dad start saying this over and over. I say Dad, it’s okay they will not take off without the handicapped lady, really they won’t
I get up and go check it out. Here comes the wheel chair he gets mom. He brings us out and leads the way in a dead run. Dad can’t keep up. I shout at him to slow down. He asks if we need the restroom. Dad can’t hear. I ask Dad do you need the restroom. Dad says yes. He takes us to the closest one. It’s in the area where they have all the tables and snack bar and concession. Dad’s all what is all this? we can’t get through. where are we going? I say, Restroom. he says. oh. We get to the restroom. Dad goes in . Mom says. What’s going on? why are we here?
I tell her daddy’s using the bathroom.
We hit the trail again. Dad says They’re trying to sell you so much stuff you can’t walk.
We get to a hallway and stop. Dad and Mom are talking all over each other, What’s going on why are we here what’s happening?”
I say, to the man behind the wheelchair, “Excuse me sir, is there a reason we’ve stopped?”
He says we are waiting for a golf cart.”
I say to Dad, we are waiting for a golf cart.
He can’t hear me.
He says what? Mom says, Jim, why are we stopped what are we doing?”
“I say, WE ARE GOING TO GET ON A GOLF CART. THEY ARE GOING TO DRIVE US WHERE WE NEED TO GO.
We get on golf cart. Daddy’ says “I’m hungry. Where’s my sandwich?”
Mom’s got his sandwich and says, “Can you wait until we get where we’re going. Dad starts asking about where we’re sitting because he wants to be near his sandwich. Mom’s all I don’t know. He rummages for ticket. I grab a nutrition bar out of my bag.
“HERE. EAT THIS. ” I hand him the bar. Then grab Mom’s purse and dig out the sandwich. “Put this in your man bag.”
We get to gate C 21. They’ve got mom’s wheelchair they put her in it and park her at the sky priority boarding. The person moves on.
Mom wants to know where her person is? I ask what person? She says the one that’s supposed to put her on the plane. I say I don’t know.
One of the ladies at the desk might do it.
They tell us one of the cabin stewards is sick and they are waiting for another one. There will be a delay in boarding. We will be bringing out refreshments and drinks.
Dad says, “Where’s our plane?”
I say, “It’s on the Tarmac. We’re waiting on the Stewardess.”
A woman rolls Mom three fett away and parks her beside a row of seats. Dad is all I want my sandwich. I say it’s in your bag.
Dad starts demanding a drink.” Where’s a drink? Is there a drink? I need something to drink with this sandwich.”
Mom says they’re going to bring drinks.”
Dad’sin a panic over his lack of drink, “Where are the drinks? When are they bringing the drinks?”
It’s been like 30 seconds since they announced.
I say, ” I’ll go look for a place to buy a drink.” There is noplace to buy a drink. I come back and say, “Dad you can have my water. He says that’s okay.
I go to the bathroom shut myself in a stall and cry.
I come back out and they are serving soft drinks. Dad is drinking his Diet Coke. He finishes his sandwich. He asks, where’s our plane? I say it’s out there. It’s that little plane. The steward is sick. That’s why we’re delayed.
Mom says, “I want you to roll me back over there in line.”
I look over and there is no line. It’s just a lady in a wheel chair three feet away. I say, “Mom you don’t need to be there.”
And she goes postal.
“YES I DO. I WANT TO BE RIGHT WHERE I WAS. THERE”S A LINE.”
I may have said something like, Jesus do whatever you want. I’m not sure that part’s hazy.
The next thing I know Dad’s behind the wheelchair. He moves her all of three feet.
Dad comes back, “Where’s our plane?”
“It’s out there.” I point to the tarmac, “It’s a little one.”
“That’s not our plane.”
“Yes it is.” I show him my ticket and say, see it says expressjet that menas a little plane.
Dad decides he needs to get on the internet. He doesn’t know how. I go ask the lady which service she says whatever the fuck I tell dad whatever the fuck. I find it for him. They try to sell you all kinds of shit. He’s all like, “What is this? What’s going on? I want yahoo.” he hands it to me.
I say. “Daddy, I just don’t know.”
DAd says, “Where’s our plane?”
I die a little inside. I fling my arm at the window. “DADDY! Our plane is out there on the tarmac. It’s out there right there. It’s small. The stewardess is sick. They can’t take off until another one arrives.”
“Well how important is she? Why dont we just go without her?”
“FAA regulations, that’s why.”
We board the plane.
We arrive in Richmond. I call Tom to let him know where we are.
He launches into a detailed set of directions I need to follow so we can be where he is.
I say I can’t hear you. I’ll call you back when we get inside.
We have to wait for wheelchairs. I have to get off the plane cause I’m done. I say to Mom. I’m going to wait outside I’ll be down there.
Dad goes to. We walk down the skinny ramp onto the tarmac. We are outside. It’s a tiny littl ramp. Sort of like a rope bridge. The wheelchairs are there waiting because they can’t go up while people are coming down. Daddy goes over and asks a bunch of shit. They answer, and explain this fact. All he hears is we can’t go up the ramp. He tells me They can’t go up the ramp. We have to go get your mother.
I’m not fucking moving.
Dad goeas and stands by the ramp like he’s going to try and walk up the ramp with all those people coming down. I say, DADDY! you have to wait until they come down. there is no room.
They finish. He goes up the Ramp. He’s in the plane for two seconds. Then here he comes back down. The stewardess pops her head out the plane and says WHEECHAIRS!
The wheelchairs go up the ramp one at a time and pick up Mom and a lady with crutches.
We go inside. We stop at the restroom. I close the door on the stall and cry.
I blow my nose. I come back out.
We go to the carosel to get the luggage. It’s all there. I go to find Tom. He’s on the curb with the car doors open. He launches into everything he’s done. I gassed the car… I changed the oil…I got everything ready….”
He’s still talking when I turn around and go back for Mom and Dad. We load up our luggage and I say, “Follow me. Tom’s this way.”.
I start walking. Dad says, “Where are we going? Mom’s all “WHAT? JIM? WHAT?”
I say. “FOLLOW ME.”
We get to car. We load. We get in. It’s raining. It’s dark.
Mom’s butt hits the seat and she instantly starts yapping about their three rental cars they had like she’s just been waiting. Dad is all, “Wait wait where’s my bag?”
I point to the bag between us, “Here.”
Tom interrupts mom to say. “I’ve filled up the car. I’ve put in oil. I’ve blah blah blah, but I’m not sure about the exit to 895 so I’ll need you to tell me where it is. Mom says okay and launches right bnack into her story.
I say, “Mom can we put this story on hold until we getsafely onto 895?”
Damn right okay.
We get to 895. Daddy says, “Turn. turn right here,” and points to the exit to get back to the terminal.
I say “NO! Go to the right.” Tom goes to the right. We take the right exit. Daddy says the other one would have worked.
I say nothing.
Mom says. “Can I finish my story now?”
I say go the fuck for it.
She tells it. She tells about the first rental car with the bad transmission. She tells about the second one with the window that got stuck. She leaves out the part about having to sit in every car on the lot before she found one comfortable enough.
We drop them off at their house. I get my car.
Tom’s like, do I follow you or do you follow me.
I’m like what the fuck difference does it make we know where we live. I’ll see you at the house.
We get home. The cats say Mommy you’re home Tom lets Petey out of the sunroom where he kept him while he was at the airport. I get in bed with a pile of sugar. I read. I sleep.
I get up at 11:00. The house is a biohazzard.
Tom’s all I got the good coffee. I just make myself a cup of tea because I know there’s no cream because he threw everything in the refrigerator out three days ago and he doesn’t take cream. he says what are you doing. I say I’m making tea because there’s no cream. He says oh I’m sorry. I say its fine.
He goes into the sunroom. I follow him in the sunroom. He says, “Oh by the way the people are coming tomorrow to replace all the ductwork.
Yes, I told you.
No, no you did not.
Tom moves onto the list of things we need to get like birdseed.
I say, baby if you want to get birdseed go for it. My priority is cleaning the cat room and the florida room so the people don’t report us to the landlord for cat funk and I have somewhere to put them while they are here.
I finally sit down with my tea, “wait?” Why’s my chair wet?”
Tom’s got no clue.
I remember Petey. I say, Tom sweetie, when you leave a cat in a closed room for hours you generally, as a rule, most probaby want to put the little box into the room with it.
Now I’m going to go get cleaning suplies and fucking cream for my fucking coffee. love you.