Viva Las Vegas
So there’s guy in the middle seat on the flight from JFK to Las Vegas. He’s maybe 35 or 40, tall and thin, nobody out of the ordinary.
It took him a long time to settle into his seat—he was wearing a long overcoat and scarf, and these he removed carefully and folded and stored them in the overhead compartment—but he seemed nothing out of the ordinary.
Still, there was one weird thing: he insisted on getting a blanket and a pillow from the flight attendant before take-off. He was nice about it, but insisent. How many business people worry about blankets and pillows on an 11 a.m. flight to Las Vegas?
Anyway, the flight took off only a half hour late, and headed down the New Jersey coast before turning west, and the guy was reading some business papers when the flight attendant said we’d hit cruising altitude and we could now use approved electronic yadda-yadda.
And that’s when the guy in the middle seat ordered his first Bloody Mary. He sipped it and read some papers and sipped it and read. And when it was done, with the blanket on his lap—kind of like a grandmother in a rocking chair—he fell asleep.
After nodding out for an hour or so, he woke up. And ordered another. Along with a Heineken. He read some more pages from a document marked ‘privileged’ at the top, then nodded out again, head down, hands clasped together on the blanket, dead to the world.
Then there was another Heineken and another Bloody Mary….
So now it’s almost five hours after take-off and we’re coming in south of Moab, descending slowly towards the desert. People are putting stuff away, talking, and just generally getting ready for the inevitable prepare-for-landing routine.
Except him. He’s asking the flight attendant if he has time for another Heineken. She says sure.
It’s his seventh drink of the flight, including four Bloody Marys.
Off the plane now, I see him standing in a corner of the gangway, putting on his coat and scarf and gathering his bags. Most of the others getting off the plane are yukking it up. Not him. He looks like any businessman, at any airport, adjusting his tie and straightening his collar. I feel like the worst kind of voyeur.
Viva Las Vegas, indeed.
Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up
© 2008 NotMakingThisUp, LLC
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