A few years ago, well about nine years ago to be exact, I took a trip out east to watch my brother Juan play football. Because that’s what good sisters do. Especially when your parents are dead. I felt an obligation to be there for Juan and cheer him on. Because no one else would. Dat was busy back home planning his wedding to Meggy. Now I know Juan’s version of these events may differ from mine, but Juan doesn’t have a blog or know how to use a computer. So I’m in luck.This trip was before kids. Beau and I were married, but he had a fishing trip planned for the same weekend (lame), so I would be solo on this one. Probably not the best idea, in hindsight. I would learn on this trip why it is always important to travel with Beau. He keeps me in line, babysits me, if you will. Unfortunately, everyone else on this trip would have to take the place of Beau. Lucky for them.
So there were a lot of us heading out to North Wildwood New Jersey. A big group of cousins, friends, and even my aunt and uncle. Everyone going has definitely seen my show before, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for this performance. The first night we went out and partied at the local bars. I guess this is a really happening place in the summer, but this was April. Not so happening. I shared a room with my boy cousin Lanny in this little dive motel. Now maybe this is weird to some people for two related adults to share a room with one another, but not so much. What was I going to do get my own room and be alone? No way. That’s not the way I vacay. I’m a people person. When I’m alone I think about all of the poor decisions I’ve made in life, so I try to never be alone.
The next day was the big game. It was raining. If it’s one thing I don’t care for, it’s football. If there’s another thing, it’s rain. So Lanny and Molleen, who would later become my sister-in-law, even after this trip, head to breakfast first. They had a specialty on the menu called scrapple. We ordered it and dared each other to eat it. Again, anything to avoid watching football in the rain. Thankfully, by the time we pulled up to the actual game, it was almost over. Which meant it was time to party for the day. Now that interested me.
To be honest, I don’t even remember all of the details of that night. Not because I was so drunk (which I was) but because the events of the next day overshadowed the entire trip. It was fun. We all had a great time. Lots of laughs. I was over served. I think a lot of people were. At least that’s what I tell myself. The next day was Sunday and for whatever reason our flight wasn’t until later that night. So we had all day to kill in Jersey/Philly. Some people took the opportunity to go sight seeing. Some people were too hung over to do anything. Others, including myself, took the opportunity to day drink. When in Philly….
It is not unusual for me to have a few drinks before boarding a flight. I’m a very nervous flyer. So I think it’s safe to say that there were no nerves left in my body by the time we were getting ready to board. This was post 9-11, so I’m still shocked that I was even allowed on the plane at all. I can still remember the look of disgust on Juan’s face. What was the big deal? So I was on the tail end of a three day bender. I was on vacation. Lighten up.
I recently found out that this was the first time my friend, Fran Pill, really got to know me. Now what does that say about him that we are still good friends? Anyone who met me and wanted to continue hanging out with me that weekend probably has bigger problems than I do. Traits I absolutely adore in a new friend.
So we all board and the plane is pretty wide open. I decide to sit with my good buddy Lion Gown. I saw the eye roll when I sat down, but I needed someone to talk to. I was so drunk that I really do remember everything. At one point I looked at my wrist and panicked because my watch wasn’t on it. I exclaimed, oh my God my watch is gone! Juan, with his quick wit, replied from a few rows back, you probably drank it. I didn’t care for the attitude or the silent treatment I was getting from Lion as he pretended to read a magazine. I know he was pretending because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know how to read. Enough was enough. I was changing seats. I only surround myself with people who appreciate me.
I decide to stroll on up to the front row where my aunt and uncle were sitting. There was a seat open between them. I remember them being so happy to see me. I wonder how they remember it. I plopped right down and mumbled a few words and then decided to pass out right there on my uncles shoulder. Turns out, I was tired.
Well the next thing you know, I’m being wheeled off the plane in a wheel chair. What the hell is going on? You know what? I don’t even want to know. I was happy to be in the wheelchair. I wasn’t up for the long walk to the car. Where Beau was anxiously awaiting all of us. Imagine his surprise when he sees his bride being wheeled towards him. I don’t recall this, but I picture him smiling. Maybe doing a little headshake. He was in it to win it. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. I think this could be categorized as worse, sickness.
I went ahead and called in to work that Monday morning. I was in no mood to teach kids. I was in no mood to remain conscious for longer than five minutes. To be a kid again! I was actually twenty-nine years old at the time. After that trip, I decided it was time to get pregnant because I needed nine months to dry out.
A few years after this trip, US Airways Flight 1549 hit a flock of geese and ended up in the Hudson River with everyone on board surviving. My initial reaction was, if that was our flight home from Philly, I’d be dead. I sent a group text to everyone who was on that flight with me. Most replied that they would have left my drunk ass for dead. I figured as much. But I saw on television that Captain Sully Sullenberger went through the plane one last time looking for anyone left behind. Surely he would have saved me. Good thing for him I wasn’t on that flight because the chances of me surviving were nil. And then he wouldn’t have been hailed a hero. So you, Captain Sullenberger, are welcome.
*Some names have been changed so the people I’m talking about don’t know I’m talking about them.