Overrated – US Airways Flight 1549 reunion

Ned Bitters

Ned Bitters

This week’s inductee into the “Overrated Hall of Fame” is … the feel-good aspect of that US Airways Flight 1549 reunion.

Hell no, this isn’t going to be a borsch-belt comedy club rant on the tiny bags of peanuts, the screaming toddler in row six or the nonstop chatterer who sits beside you on that Seattle to Miami red-eye, enthralling you with every stirring detail of his humdrum life. The writing might suck, but I’m a bit more original than that.

When Mrs. Bitters and I saw the third or fortieth story about the reunion these lucky crash survivors had, I asked her, “[Wipes martini residue from lips] Even after being part of a miracle like that, do you think you would want to get together with those people ever again?”

Mrs. Bitters, always the voice of reason, said, “Hell no, because after every flight I hate every motherfucker on the plane.” The Bitters abode is a bastion of class, it is.

Flying makes me homicidal. My mood progresses – or deteriorates, if you’re one of those level-headed Buddhist types (pussy) – from irritation during baggage check-in to brooding anger in the waiting area to blood boiling wrath while boarding the plane to “give me four Valium and a syringe of heroin before I stab every prick on this plane with the nail cutter they so generously let me keep in my bookbag, which, yes Miss Leatherskinned 32-year veteran of the flight attendant world, is securely stowed under the seat of the jerk in front of me who I just know is going to slam his seat into my knees the second we hit cruising altitude, which will cause me great discomfort pain but will not, in fact, wake me up, as Captain Constant Update will feel the need to waken us every six minutes with the not-to-be-missed vitals on our cruising altitude, our cruising speed and the barometric pressure in Peoria, even though we’re headed to Dallas.

Yes, I really do hate every person on the plane.

I hate the phony-assed flight attendants. I don’t hate their safety spiels, and I don’t blame them for the pathetic snacks and soft drinks that I never eat or drink. I don’t hate the fact that their 27 trips up and down the aisle keep me from sleeping and instead serve only to distract this ADHD-afflicted moron from the too-easy in-flight magazine crossword puzzle I’m breezing through. (“Let’s see … 12 down … ‘Heston Movie ___ Hur’ … hmmm …) I don’t hate that they were last hot back when flight attendants were called stewardesses. What I hate is their phony, joyless smiles, smiles performed with the mouth but never with the eyes, those condescending empty grins that confirm that I am one more infinitely hate-able blob of airborne protoplasm crammed into smelly tube. You hate me, ma’am? Well, right back atcha Tiffani, or Melodee, or Barbi, or Misti …

I hate the pilots and their useless wind reports from our destination city. Gale force winds I want to hear about, but the fact that the winds are out of the southeast at five to seven miles per hour (oh wait, sorry, I mean knots … the pretentious pricks) is information I need only if I’m headed to Chicago for a kite-flyers convention, which unless I make some major lifestyle changes, that probably won’t be happening any time soon.

I hate the selfish asshole in the wing seat by the emergency exit door who assures the flight attendant that he for-sure-you-betcha can handle the door removal duties in the event of an unplanned landing (or, to put it in CNN Newspeak, “a fiery crash with no survivors”) when we all know good and goddamn well that he’s going to go all George Costanza on our asses and save his own lucky-to-be-in-a-row-with-no-middle-seat ass and forget the rest of us.

I hate the hot chicks. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. They strut through the airport with that born-beautiful sense of entitlement, reaping the probably-paid-for-by-some-moneyed-boyfriend-plane-ticket benefit that comes from the genetic lottery strike of a sweet little ass and a stomach flatter than Hugh Jackman’s singing voice.

I hate the fuckers in first-class. No, not because they’re in first class. They probably deserve it by having worked their asses off. I’d sit in first class if I weren’t such a shiftless blob of free-time craving sloth. What I hate about these bastards is their sense of first-class shame. When you walk through first class on the way to your seat (and I know no one reading this has ever sat in first class, because the people who sit in first class are too busy FUCKING WORKING to read poorly written online diatribes), no one in those seats ever looks up and makes eye contact with you. They pretend that they are busy, fiddling with their seatbelts and stashing magazines in the seat pocket and firing up their laptops. They don’t look at the coachbound unwashed for fear of inciting some sort of Tale of Two Cities-level class upheaval. I’d like these people so much more if they’d just glare at me with the sense of disdain and superiority they’ve earned in life, sipping their white wine while awaiting their smoked salmon appetizer. Their gesture of humility is worse than the gloating they are entitled to.

I hate everyone in the waiting area, or the pre-boarding area, or whatever the hell it’s called. It’s the Land of Flip Flops Showing Stumpy or Badly Gnarled Toes. It’s the Land of People Wolfing Down Shitty Airport Sandwiches, Doing that Ferocious Head Dive into Each Bite, Apparently Unaware that Their Fellow Flyers Can See the Disgusting Display of Ravenous Eating They Are Perpetrating on the Rest of Us. It’s the Land of Pointless Phone Calls Informing Some Bored Shitless Relative that You Are Now, At This Very Moment, Waiting for Your Flight. It’s the Land of Too Loud Phone Calls Aimed at Impressing the Rest of Us as to Your Business Acumen. (We’ll all see you in coach with the rest of us, so your bellowed phone stunt fooled no one.)

I hate the model quality blond chick who sat next to me on the flight from Florida, repeatedly bumping her bare luscious (and long, hence the incessant bumping) leg into mine for two straight hours. I hate her for her sense of entitlement, thinking she deserved whatever space she wanted because she was so hot she could be the “good looking sister” in the Aniston family. She wasn’t doing it to turn me on or to toy with me. She just wanted the space that was awarded her by the same cosmic forces that made her achingly gorgeous.

So, should I ever survive a plane crash, I’ll be forever grateful to the pilot (that is, if it wasn’t his fuckup that put us down in the first place), the flight crew (that is, if their septuagenarian asses were somehow able to assist me in my selfish, tossing-aside-of-all-smaller-bodies dash to safety) and any passengers (but not the first-out-of-the-plane douchebag with the well-stretched-out legs who was fortunate enough to land that cushy wing seat, always making him the winner in the People I Hate Most on This Fight contest I hold in my obviously sane mind) who aided in my miraculous avoidance of a premature death.

But damn it, I will not be grateful to the model quality with the long luscious legs, even if she does pull from the frigid waters and give me mouth-to-mouth. How dare she make me fly all the way from Florida with a zipper-stressing hard-on …

Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at teacherslounge@hobotrashcan.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *