I was fast asleep in my aisle seat when she woke me up, fumbling for the button that would recline hers. Annoyed, I cut my eyes at her, then tried to get back to sleep.

“Do you fly this route often?” she asked.

I told her that I fly a lot, but this was my first trip to Montana.

“Do you take out travel insurance when you fly?”

I told her I’d never bought it.

“This was my first time getting the insurance. My husband Jim and I flew out to Great Falls last weekend.”

I really wished she’d leave me be.

“He died on Tuesday.”

She went on to tell me how the insurance company covered her hotel stay for three nights, rescheduled her flights and covered the full cost of her husband’s cremation—his ashes were in an urn in the overhead compartment. Right next to my backpack.

“All that for $92. Can you believe it?”

Her name was Cindy and she was from Massachusetts. A couple for 14 years, she and Jim had been married for only four. He’d been in home hospice care on the east coast, but was still fiercely independent. Montana was Jim’s favorite place on earth.

He’d been her second husband. Her first had passed years earlier, after a car accident had left him paralyzed. He spent two years in a rehabilitation center, and she’d been with him nearly every day. Jim had promised her that he would never become a burden. “I’ll never do to you what [her first husband] did. You won’t have to take care of me.” He died peacefully in his sleep.

I covered her hand with mine and asked her how she was doing.

“I’m doing OK. God must think I have strong shoulders.”

Indeed, he must. We talked for the duration of the flight; she shared special moments from her lives with both men. The time she hired a belly dancer to perform for her first husband in the rehab center, and all the other patients crashed their private party. How she and Jim met while he was working on the Big Dig.

“No more husbands for me. But with my record, who’d marry me?”

She laughed.

I’ve never been good at finding the right words in situations like this. But I got the sense that she just needed someone to listen. I felt guilty for being so caught up in my own stuff and wanting to tune her out, but there’s no way I could have known what she’d been through. I just hope our conversation brought her even the tiniest bit of peace. I said a prayer for her when we landed, and I told her I would continue to pray for her.

God bless you, Cindy.

“In your life you meet people. Some you never think about again. Some, you wonder what happened to them. There are some that you wonder if they ever think about you. And then there are some that you wish you never have to think about again. But you do.” — C.S. Lewis

Me In Your City: Atlanta/Los Angeles

On Monday nite the flight I was on from Atlanta to Los Angeles caught on fire mid-flight. It was really scary. But we evacuated via the inflatable slides, which was kinda exciting too — though I’m not sure I should admit that… Anyway, I created a Me In Your City video blog about. Wanna watch it? Here it go:

The best person I ever didn’t meet

So… I’m on an airplane the day before yesterday sitting about two rows in front of the exit row. And as we’re all getting settled the flight attendant walks up just behind me to give the standard ‘exit row disclaimer’ speech: “You all realize you are seated in an exit row… I need a verbal acknowledgment that you’re all physically capable and willing to assist other passengers in case of an emergency… Is everyone OK with that?” What followed were a bunch of “YES’s”

And one “NO.”

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Alright sir, so you’re physically unable to assist?

GUY: No.

I felt like I had just been sucker-punched in the sternum. I could not breathe. I was craning my neck and looking around to see if other people heard it or if I was just in the midst of the ultimate dream sequence… There was some shuffling and I guess he was moved a few rows back — I don’t know, I was too busy sneak-texting (what you do when you’re supposed to have turned your phone off already) my friend. There was someone seated next to me but I would have paid all the cash I had access to in order to sit next to that guy.

Some of you might think what he did was an asshole move. But I think it was honorable. I mean he could have lied and just sat there all comfy with his extra leg room and jumped out without regard for anyone else if/when the plane went down. OR, he could have lied and said that he was indeed physically incapable. But he chose honesty.

Not sure if when you get to The Pearly Gates honesty trumps opening an emergency exit and running for your life while 100 other people die in a plane crash — but it sure makes for good comedy. I wanted to know everything about that man. I wanted to buy him a beer and ask him about his childhood. I wanted to know where he was from, what he did for a living. Did he do it on a dare?

I wanted to propose to him.

‘Cause I mean, really if you’ve ever sat in an exit row — and you’re being 100% honest — you’ve questioned how enthusiastic you’d be about helping all the other passengers off the plane. You never verbalized it. You probably just sat there and thought “how likely is that to happen?” But secretly you thought damn, if I was just one row back or forward I wouldn’t have all this anxiety… No?… Just me? WHATEVER, with yo’ lying behind!!!

Anyway, I wanted to wait for him to get off the plane and ask him for his autograph, but I reconsidered after realizing he might not be that big of a “people person.” Plus, I can almost guarantee the story I’ve created in my mind about this guy is better than the reality.

Best. Flight. Ever. Exhale…

Source: original pearly gates artwork

Airplane Venom, Pt. IV

This edition of Airplane Venom goes out to the loud-ass women seated in seats 9A-D, 10 A-D, & 11 B on American Airlines Flt. #2746 from Little Rock, AR to Dallas Fort Worth:

Why were you so loud? It was 5:40 in the morning when the flight took off, but y’all were already on “10” by the time you got to the waiting area. How?… Why?

I know way more about you women than I want to. I felt like I was Bill Cosby and y’all were Jeffrey:

Things I know about you but wish I didn’t: I know you “hadn’t never flew on no plane this tiny.” I know all of your astrological signs and your horoscopes for today. I know one of you was frightened to death of flying and “forgot those damn ‘Xanax-es’ on the counter.” I know you were headed to Vegas…

But what I want to know is: Which of my sins you were punishment for? So I never, ever do it again. Were you ignoring — or just oblivious to the barrage of STFU stares and huffing coming at you from every direction?… And how it’s possible that every single one of you sounded like Boomhauer from King of the Hill…


Have you ever seen those news stories where people do unthinkable things and their only excuse is “I don’t know what came over me?” Well, this morning, “I don’t know what” almost came over me. And I honestly don’t know how I stopped him. Those ladies have no idea how lucky they were.


Fave Facebook Statuses #1

In an effort to keep the posting more consistent when I’m on the road, I’ve decided to begin a new feature here called Fave Facebook Statuses where I post some of my favorite status updates of the week. Some [most] will be mine, but some will belong to some of the other hilarious folks I know — provided they give me permission to do so.

This first one came about as a result of an experience I had this afternoon on my flight from Portland, ME back home. Enjoy. ;)


The phrase “situational narcolepsy’ is my new favorite thing. And I am going to write a bit specifically so that I can use it. Stay tuned…

And find me on FB!!! We’ll have a blast I promise ;)

Airplane Venom, Pt. III

This edition of airplane venom contains no actual venom from me, rather it chronicles the hate a fellow passenger directed at a smarty-pants flight attendant on an American Eagle puddle jumper from Chicago to Baltimore.


After back-to-back mechanical problems and more than 2 hours on the tarmac, my flight from O’Hare back to BWI had to unload and board another plane. I pretty much slept throughout the whole ordeal so I really wasn’t too upset. I didn’t have anything pressing to do yesterday afternoon, plus I’d much rather deplane because of mechanical difficulties, than have them surface during the flight.

Can I get an Amen?

When we finally got settled on the new plane, the flight attendant, Mo, got on the intercom and said the following:

“Due to the late departure, screwdrivers will be free on this flight.”

You should have seen the faces of my fellow alcoholics passengers light up. Eyes began to water as tray tables came down. Gleeful whispers filled the cabin.

“Are you serious?” someone behind me shouted out.

She responded by giggling to herself as she walked back up the aisle and shaking her head “No.”

Way to take the air of the pressurized cabin, MO!

I thought it was hilarious but there was another passenger behind me who was feeling very “not-so-much-y” — if you know what I mean. “Save the jokes for Southwest, bitch. I just missed a connection.”

I think I stopped breathing for a second. I immediately took out my notebook. I wanted to savor this perfect comedic moment so that I could share it with all of you ;) Don’t fret, the next AV installment will most certainly feature a return to my plane rage. But for now…

You’re welcome.

Airplane Venom, Pt. II

To the turd that was seated in 15-D on American Airlines Flt. 1624 to Chicago O’Hare on Wednesday evening, I have one word for you — Valium.

Best I can tell, you’re taking a nap now, and I swear I’m so tempted to get up and take a photo of you once the fasten seatbelt sign goes off. I might just. But what I’m definitely gonna do, if I can catch you on the way off the plane, is give you one of my postcards so that you can read this blog once I post it. I used to be scared to do asshole-ish stuff like that… Like right now in this moment, the conservative Erin hologram on my left shoulder is whispering in my ear and saying, “Leave it alone, E. Yeah, that guy was a douche, but don’t stoop to his level.” But the bitchy Erin on my right shoulder is screaming in my ear and saying, “Get him, E! This is great for the act. Plus it’ll serve as equilibrium for punking out on that flight from O’Hare to Baltimore a couple weeks ago.

Now I know none of you know what the heck I’m talking about so here’s the background…

I was having a fine day. Found a laundry room at the hotel and did laundry so I didn’t have to travel to Indy with dirty clothes. Got to LAX and returned the rental car with plenty of time to spare. My bag which I was positive was gonna be overweight came in at 49.5 pounds. And my large tube of Extra Dry Skin Curel made it thru airport security — What? I get a little ashy when I fly. :)

I boarded the plane and put my bookbag under the seat in front of me. I also had a small plastic bag with a sweatshirt I bought in the airport and my coat. I put the coat and the plastic bag in the bin above my head. About 5-10 minutes after I’m all settled, an older gentleman a few rows ahead of me asks if he can move my sweatshirt and coat to a bin a little forward of his seat so that he could fit his bag in the one over my head. OK, dude. Sure. Thought nothing of it, put my iPod on. About 2 or 3 minutes after that the aforementioned douche a few rows up starts having a tantrum about how a coat and a bag mysteriously “jumped into” his compartment. He said something to the effect of “I was trying to make room for a real bag.” — which of course meant ‘his’ carry-on suitcase. I told him it was mine, but explained that I didn’t move it. Then he started huffing and puffing about not wanting to “be in charge of everyone’s stuff.” WTF, right? So I said, “What do u mean be in charge of it? Just close the… bin!” Now the ellipses are important because they show you where and how I edited myself. I didn’t see any kids, but my reflexive profanity would have still been inappropriate I’m sure. Continue reading →

Airplane Venom: I hate your family

This blog is dedicated to the occupants of seats 18-A, 18-B and 18-C on United Airlines Flt. # 340 from Chicago O’Hare to BWI. I know you will never see this blog, but I’m certain the therapist I’ll be hiring in the very near future would have recommended that I find a benign way to vent my frustrations in the interest of good mental health.

So here goes: I hate your family. For myriad reasons which I will attempt to enumerate, but undoubtedly fall short of conveying completely.

To the little boy seated direcly behind me in 18-B:

I’m glad you shat in your pants.

Perhaps if you hadn’t been so consumed with kicking my seat and punching the back of my headrest, you would have realized you had to shit before they turned on the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign. It filled my heart with a Christmas-y sort of glee when I heard your fruitless cries of “I have a boo-boo in my pants” ring out thru the cabin. The awful stench of retribution was suprisingly gratifying. Ha. Serves you right. Sit in it.

To the little girl seated on her father’s lap in 18-A:

While you’re no longer an infant and should know how to behave better, I recognize you’re probably too small to take full responsibility for your incessant shrieking. It’s not your fault you were born to two people so acutely unfamiliar with the concepts of discipline and propriety. So I’m gonna let you slide. Kinda.

To the two turds masquerading as parents in 18-A & 18-C:

As you are responsible for the creation of this family unit, the blame for what I and the other passengers had to endure this evening rests solely upon your shoulders. Perhaps you couldn’t do much about your youngest child’s screaming — maybe her ears were popping, who knows… But your older son’s unacceptable and unchecked behavior warranted a beat down. And you know it.

I travel a lot. And I’ve had to listen to tons of crying babies and restless children. But your absolute refusal to acknowledge your son’s behavior — even after he kicked my seat so hard he woke me up and propelled me forward into my lowered tray table — OUCH; even after two flight attendants came over to ask me if I was OK… Completely unacceptable.

No discipline. No ‘be quiets’. No embarrassed apologies… You should no longer be permitted to fly.

Or reproduce.