I don’t know where to start because I don’t know what to say because I hate the B- word but I suppose where I am is as good a place as any: The airport. There’s no place like an airport to remind you just how inept, lonely and afraid you actually are. No, no: that’s a good thing. Airport meltdowns are important. Because it solidifies the notion that anybody who sold you on the reassuring myth that you start to accept Yourself in your 30’s is a shortsighted nitwit who probably started befriending people who insist that they themselves are super “blessed”.
Telling somebody in their 20’s that things get better is absurd on a number of levels. Mainly, because any self-respecting self-effacing person in their 30’s is aware enough to stop talking to people in their 20’s all together, as an entire people. They just don’t matter anymore.
I’m 31. And, speaking for my People: You don’t accept your place in the world, you just distract yourself enough, try to stay busy enough, to forget to remember to look in the mirror. And then your Mom drops you off at the airport and you’re still traveling in a fucking back-packing back-pack and you have so much shit in your pockets when you go through security and you stink like Popov and Winterland ‘73 and now you’re almost in tears and nobody’s fooled by your Filson computer bag (they know your successful friend got it for you) and the one airport activity that brought you solace – standing outside the Gordon Biersch and judging those with “job”-Jobs and Hilton Honors – that makes you feel worse. Maybe that’s always been the problem. Because the sad, cold truth is that you will and always will be exactly what you’ve been running from, trying to disguise or dismiss and lately desperately trying to forget...I’m sorry to say it, Pal: You’re You.
Now I’m on the plane and I had meant to take out the laptop earlier because I started to laugh at the mild meltdown back in terminal 3. But I had the brass Dick to have a moment of self back-patting, listening to the seldom-heard-from voice that said:
--“You’re going to San Francisco to see some good friends, to talk score on the movie we shot in October – shot two feature films in 2014?!? – I’m telling you, Man; you’re doing alright. Not that you want ‘em, because Theroux definitely wouldn’t, but if you did want another bag of Terra Blues...well, Buddy Boy, you fucking deserve ‘em. It’s been a pretty good year.”
And then it happened.
I looked up and across the aisle at the seatback screen being watched by a Man probably a decade my senior and the DOW JONES (or whatever the fuck) channel is on. The cacophony commenced:
--“Hey, you fucking half-full half-wit: do you have the slightest fucking clue what any of those scrolling numbers mean?”
--“Those shit-chips are free, Motherfucker!! Maybe if you had an inkling as to what’s going on on 5A’s screen, We would have the financial stones to purchase something from the menu or a goddamned 10 dollar cold pressed from the CIBO back near the fucking Gate but that’s exactly the type of shit you can’t do when you don’t know about things.”
It wasn’t going well and it only got worse because I figured I should go to the bathroom before I take out my laptop because staring at a blank screen’s the fucking answer. So I get up and make a move but somebody cuts me off and I see in my immediate future an anxiety stroke because I never go to the front to go to the bathroom because I’ve never flown first class (which I’m fine with. Honest). But JetBlue doesn’t have first class and I’m too close to the front to go all the way to the back – imagine how that would look? - and now I’m standing in the aisle like an asshole, fake stretching—
--“Fuck. All eyes are on Us. This is the pits.”
--“Don’t flatter yourself, Faggot.”
And then I hear an ex-girlfriend’s voice saying some bullshit like “be assertive” or “can’t you just be decisive?” and that actually helps because I think Alone’s good, Man. Nobody tells me what to do, nobody wanting me to be the Man I never was and officially will never be - and that’s great. Having a partner, somebody expecting things from— (and they’re off):
--“You realize that that’s what the Loneliest Man in the World said not 20 years before he became the Loneliest Man in the World...”
-- “He’s not saying Alone forever. He’s saying it’s fine right now, given, you know, everything that’s happened. That’s all he’s saying. I think that’s all he’s saying. That’s all you’re saying, right?”
--“That’s how it starts, you fucking Dick Juggler. That’s how it fucking starts. I gotta get outta here before he brings us all down with him.”
--“It’s like a goddamned sewing circle in here. I need a fucking drink.”
I sit back down. Another woman comes out of the bathroom. I get up again, cut off (again), sit back down. This happens two more times, I shit you not, and the last time I try a knowing chuckle, like “Man, just my luck” which all Me’s agree makes me look like a complete fucking Wanker. I finally get to the bathroom and realize that all I wanted to do was wash my hands because the Chinese kid next to me coughed and I switched channels on my arm rest (albeit with my off-hand pinky) and handled a piece of gum...the same gum that’s in my stupid fucking mouth.
--“Wait. If that Chinese kid was Black would you be washing your hands?” --“Well, given the State of our Union—“
That’s a silly question. Of course I would wash my fucking hands.
--“Bullshit. I don’t think you would. I honestly don’t think you would. And that makes you fucking ten times worse than those Cops.”
That’s fucking INSANE!!!
--“Wait, so does he hate Chinese people?”
--“This is like Bill Maher for Ass-Hats in here. I need a fucking drink.”
Suddenly the thought of anyone looking at me seems crazy because now I can’t even stand the sight of my maybe-racist-face in the mirror. And then it dawns on me: I put myself in a movie across from a terribly beautiful Woman and I’m worried about a plane-full of weary travelers - most of whom are sleeping – simply looking at me?!? Clearly, we’re not cut out for this...this...whatever you wanna call it. Movies. Jesus. Clearly this has all been a big misunderstanding between Me’s.
So. I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror, slowly nodding, and We all agreed: 2015’s a wash. 2023. Let’s just get to our 40’s.