Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Bubble Bath, Part 2

  Editor’s Note: Okay, we finally got on the plane. I’ve covered all the trauma of plane travel before, and you can read about it Here. Suffice it to say that we finally landed in Philly, around 10:30p or so, and we were about to experience Bubbles’ Transport Service…

  This part of the airport is basically deserted, with only a few folks in the immediate area. Perhaps the paucity of people is due to the lateness of the hour, but this is Philadelphia, so one would think it would be a bit more bustling than this. Perhaps the local authorities have been notified of our arrival, and this terminal has been mostly evacuated for security purposes.

  Terry gets on the horn to let Bubbles know we’re here. Even from where I’m standing, several feet away from Terry and already wondering where the hell I can smoke, I hear an abrupt piercing noise from Bubbles’ side of the conversation. I can’t quite tell if this is a squeal of excitement, or an indication that something might be possibly awry.

  Bubbles instructs Terry to proceed to the Baggage Claim area. There’s only one.

  Well, no there’s not. I can see signs for Baggage Claim, and the signs are clearly herding people in various directions. I point this out to Terry. He does not seem to be alarmed. “Let’s just pick one.”

  So we head in the direction where most of the people seem to be going, assuming that if we are never seen again, at least we’ll have companions to talk to as we wither and die. I hope these people are at least interesting, because if I’m going to pass on, I’d like a nice floor show before the final curtain.

  But I’m concerned about certain members of our party, namely a family of dirty blonds, a daddy, a mommy, and an attention-deficit child. To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here, the daddy is wearing a T-shirt that says “Wide Open Motorcycles”. And these words are centered in between the spread legs of a woman on her back. Yep, real quality. No wonder that child can’t focus on anything.

  Luckily, the child’s inability to adequately process her surroundings leads to her tumbling to the ground. She’s fine, but the parental units stop to confirm this diagnosis, because even parents sporting obscene depictions on their couture have to at least pretend they are concerned about their child’s welfare, or they won’t get the government check.

  I quicken my pace, forcing Terry to walk faster. I am NOT going down with those people. I don’t want my last vision on Earth to be a slutty invitation to the bat cave.

  We finally get to the baggage claim area (well, at least one of them) and Terry whips out his phone to report our accomplishment. Based on his side of the conversation, perhaps this isn’t the same baggage claim that Bubbles is hovering about, assuming that she’s hovering. She could be in Jersey for all we know. It seems Bubbles needs some quality landmarks and will then process the data for her next move. Terry does so, noting particular airline names, what type of vehicles we see outside the doors, and a meteorological five-day forecast for this particular spot on the planet.

  This doesn’t really compute with Bubbles. Further discussion ensues. Terry, desperate, provides additional details. There’s a big speed bump to our left, a large Avis bus currently receiving people cargo, and a life-challenged woman in short-shorts, bending over for no apparent reason and showing us her two-moon junction. (Why am I being continually hounded with explicit visions of female anatomy? This is supposed to be The City of Brotherly Love, not The City of Winking Vaginas.)

  And let’s not forget, it’s been hours and hours since I’ve had a cigarette. Decades, in my opinion. I am in serious need of nicotine. I don’t have a lighter, being forced to leave it behind in Dallas so security people wouldn’t throw me up against a wall and shove a cattle prod in my tender regions. I could presumably bum a light from one of my fellow addicts, but what if Bubbles drives up in the next few seconds?

  I would prefer to suffer for a bit longer, rather than get one good drag out of a cig and then have to put it out before completion. I’m in one of those moods. I want the whole thing or nothing at all. I don’t think I’m psychologically prepared for anything less.

  Bubbles is apparently still in another state. Nothing looks familiar, and certainly doesn’t match Terry’s endless reportage from the trauma scene. I’m cranky, unfulfilled and needing a drink. I’m seriously on the verge of asking a nearby couple if they will adopt me, because at least their transportation has arrived and they are happily throwing their bags in the trunk of a vehicle where one of the occupants is clearly smoking. At this point, I have no shame. Will work for nicotine.

  Suddenly Terry slams his phone shut. “There she is.” I turn my twitching eyes in the direction he is looking, my deprived arms clutching a sticky concrete pillar that I’ve been using to keep me upright after the long day. I spy Bubbles driving up, waving excitedly. Hallelujah.

  We hurl our luggage in the car and are firmly strapped in and ready to go within four seconds. Please get us out of here, Bubbles. Or we will take your life.

  Got it. Bubbles hits the gas and we rocket forward. Bubbles, it seems, has little concern for things like speed bumps, stop signs, pedestrians, and gravity. We are out of the airport in what I am going to assume is record time, because if we had been going any faster there would be women rolling a cart down the aisle and serving peanuts.

  Then things slow down a bit, and I tense up. Bubbles is offering us food and entertainment options available at this hour. Sadly, reviewing the possible itinerary causes Bubbles to let off on the gas, and we are no longer zipping. We are crawling, like old people trying to figure out why there are so many lanes on the roads these days.

  Please don’t do that, Bubbles. Please keep moving. I beg of you. We need to get somewhere that I can smoke before my head completely snaps off.

  But Bubbles insists that we participate in her route selection. Do you want seafood? Chinese? Maybe a neighborhood bar that has great food?

  Oh my God, that last option sounds like the Rapture, because surely people light up there. I turn to Terry with pleading eyes. He’s the one that has more discriminating tastes, so I generally leave food decisions up to him. I’ll eat anything. Well, at least once.  Twice if alcohol is involved. Please, Terry, pick the bar. I’ll love you forever. Or at least until I can have a cigarette.

  Terry agrees. (Yay!) And Bubbles knows just the place. Off we go.

  Now that we actually have some purpose to the driving, Bubbles reverts back to her disregard for traffic signals and other vehicles. She does things with her car that I didn’t think were possible or survivable. But live we do, and before I know it she’s parallel-parking in an area with funky-hip bars and such. I release my grip on the car’s roll bar and realize that I no longer have feeling in my hands. A little tense, I guess.

  We clatter out of the car, with Bubbles and Terry marching off to conquer the neighborhood. Oh, hell no. “I’m going to have a cigarette right now. The whole thing. Do not move until I’m done.”

  Bubbles looks at me with confusion. “But you could have smoked in the car. I do.”

  You’re kidding me, right? See, this is why I suffer in life so much. I don’t adequately express my needs to other people, and end up needlessly suffering far longer than anyone wants or expects. I really need to talk more. Or at least carry around flash cards with status slogans that I can wave at the appropriate moment. “Hungry. Tired. Gassy. Really hating you right now and plotting your death. Run.”

  I finish up and we head to the bar that Bubbles is quite confident that we will enjoy.

  She opens the door, and the smell of stale beer hits us in the face.

  I’m home.

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Click Here to read this story from the beginning.

No comments:

Post a Comment