Sometimes the insane are right with us.

Aeroplanes and Insomniacs

Lacey has one of those faces.

You could cut it off and put it on any woman with a half decent body and you would have Lacey all over again. There was nothing particularly special about it. Nothing that pinned her to a certain person. Nothing that even pinned her to her name. Lacey. It sounded like something frilly and feminine.

Lacey was not.

But when you're critiquing flight attendants, there really isn't much hope for you anyways. No real bone in your back. Just like there was no bone in my do-it-yourself chicken sandwich. At least that's what Lacey said. I don't believe her. I don't trust her. How much trust can you really have for a plain flight attendant when you don't even trust yourself to put your car keys on the hook at home? It's always the plain ones that get you in the back anyways.

The plain ones that evolve into beauty queens. The plain ones that go on to run the country. The plain ones that strap a bomb to their cottage cheese thigh and get onto flight 110 to Boston with you.

I don't much care for flying. I've never really found the need. I'm a ground manager, after all. That means I belong on the ground. I suppose if I was an air manager then I would fly more, but I'm not. I'm just another moron on an airplane to Disney land.

Not Disney land in particular. Maybe later if I feel the urge to see if the hype lives up to the place. Yes I realize that's backwards. So I intentionally crammed myself into the dog carrier seats to head to Florida for reasons I didn't understand. It was the one of two choices. Fly commercial to the nursing home state of America or donate my extra income to starving orphans in Africa.

I opted for getting whacked in the head by tantrum toddler. He was trying to teach me a lesson about sippy cup spills and why I should've donated. And it's not just him that's making me rethink the whole excursion. It's the way my ears pop at take off. The way Lacey snorts and swallows her own mucus when I talk to her. The way my single serving friend on the plane is no where near Tyler Durden status.

They always change. It's like musical chairs of the middle class. Boston, Geoff, the cheerful German. Seattle, Margaret, the overworked mother. Phoenix, Alice, the emancipated stripper. Albuquerque, Nelson, the balding attorney.

All of their lives can be fit into a three word title. The noun title. That's how it works. And not just on them. On everyone. It's one of the truths in life. Lacey, the plain attendant. George Bush, the moronic politic. Brad Pitt, the sexy nice-guy. Paris Hilton, the slutty heiress. No one can escape their title.

Put your tray in its upright and locked position. We're about to take off.

Sitting beside me is a new single serving friend. Ari Hatchet, the gay mortician. He's tan and lean with one of those brick wall faces. My mom would say he's built like a brick shithouse. My mom is also an alcoholic guitar saleswoman.

I tell Ari my name. This time it's Javier D'Angelo. My name never remains the same for more than two airports. My ticket has me stopping in eight different states, switching planes twelve different times.

This is stop number ten. Two more to go.

Ari is getting off at the next stop. This trip has shown me that airplanes are nothing but expensive flying buses. I take a lot of buses at home. There's no point in driving when the city has buses. But I bring in keys to a 2003 Honda Civic every day to work and no one doubts I have it. I don't, but they don't need to know that. I'm the ground manager. I need to be able to travel on the ground.

For our three hour journey I'm gay.

It's nice to wear someone else's shoes, even if they're not your size. I talk to Ari about my boyfriend back home. About Ash Rochester, the man I want to marry. I tell Ari about how we went to the gay rights rally together in Boston and about how we kissed right in front of the gay bashing religious groups. It isn't a total lie. I rode by on the bus during one of the rallies and considered giving them a thumbs up.

Ari talks about his boyfriend, Wesley, and how he's too afraid to tell his dad he's gay. I don't understand how anyone like Ari can be afraid, or how his dad could miss that he's gay. His whole persona screams gay. He must have had to play a lot of football in high school to cover it up.

I tell Ari about how I did Cats in high school just to get him in the right direction. He tells me he played rugby.

Surprise, surprise.

Please fasten your seatbelts and put your trays into their upright and locked position. We ask you to refrain from moving about the cabin as we land.

Baggage out of the compartment, say good bye to Ari, switch flights.

I sit down next to a woman this time.

"Hi, I'm Anna Gray."

I smile and in a British accent greet her. "Hello. I'm Father Melvyn."

I'm about as much a Father as Anna Gray is a dancer at the Moulin Rouge. She leaks out of her seat like an egg yolk flowing out of a cracked shell.

We chat.

She's a country singer from New York. Her dogs name is FeeFee and it loves to eat pork rinds just as much as she does. Her husband's named Henry and he loves to fish with his buddies. Anna is on her way to Nashville, our next stop, to meet a man about a record deal.

I give her spiritual advice by mistake. I tell her to stop worrying about her soul and start worrying about her body. Her appearance and the way she presents herself. Her gray stretch pants and holey sweatshirt aren't doing a thing for her frizzy red hair and bumpy complexion. But I say it nicely, and on the 330 to Nashville I'm a priest so she smiles and laughs and takes my guidance seriously.

One last flight change and I'm me again. Bitter insomniac Richard Olson. Richard, the lonely ground-manager. Hyphens count in my world.

The woman that I'm sitting next to doesn't introduce herself. So I don't either. Not until the plane takes off and her silence itches my ears. I need to hear her voice directed at me.

"Hello." I say. She nods at me. Not good enough. "Hello." I repeat.

She turns away. I frown and tap on her shoulder. She whips around towards me.

"I said hello."

"I heard you."

And that's where the conversation ends. I smile content and begin to read a magazine. She makes a noise and turns away.

And I'm happy. Her birdlike face had turned towards me. Her jagged mouth had uttered words directed at my body. And she hadn't been falsely nice. She hadn't been pleasant, or a liar like me. I grinned hard and thought of her face. She was perfect. Icy and unloving.

Plane takes off.

Plane lands somewhere new.

The girl gets up and I slip my card into the book she's been reading while she's preoccupied. We both get off and enter the airport. She's greeted by a man with a blue hat. I'm greeted by a fat credit card and ignored orphan children.

And I'm content for the first time in a long time.