“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” - Unknown

Friday, August 15, 2008

i heart crazy people

well... it's official. i had my first real crazy person encounter worthy of a blog post since moving to the east coast. or maybe it's just the first time i've been unable to avoid the craziness, and thus could do nothing more than stare and take notes. 'cause let's be honest, when you blog... sometimes it's critical to take a few notes about the crazy people so you don't forget the really good details. :)

so, just to recap the insanity of my day up to that point. i had woken up at 4:30 AM, got myself showered and dressed, left for the airport at 5:30 AM, left on the plane at 6:30 AM, arrived in newark, nj at 8:12 AM, caught a taxi that got me to montclair, nj at 9:00 AM, met with a client all day, took a break to bring in some indian cuisine, met some more, played a computer game we built for the client with the client, got sufficiently schooled by said client on said computer game, left for the airport again at 7:30 PM, boarded the plane at 9:30 PM (i'm feeling exhausted just recapping this day)... and this is where the crazy lady enters.

it was one of those little planes. the kind with two seats on one side, and a single seat on the other. i took my place in seat 4A, with two empty seats next to me across the aisle. everyone had boarded, but this one little old hispanic woman. she had pin straight, stringy bright-white hair, pulled back in a ponytail with a little blue scrunchy. she was carrying a purse the size of a small suitcase in one hand and a grease soaked chili's to-go bag in the other as she boarded the plane, and was mumbling something in spanish as she threw herself down into a seat across the aisle from me. the male flight attendant had tried to make this slightly frazzled woman feel a little more comfortable by throwing out a few spanish phrases as she walked passed him and on to the plane, but it was clear something was bothering her. all of a sudden she turned to me and said something that i could only imagine was "do you speak spanish?" and i responded "no, i'm sorry." she suddenly jumps up out of her seat, mumbling much louder and i definitely heard her say "they think i'm crazy!" (why she knew this phrase in english and nothing else, i'm not quite sure) and frantically barrels down the aisle towards the back of the plane asking if anyone spoke spanish. apparently no one did. she runs back up to the front of the plane where the flight attendant had just closed the door and sent the walkway thing (that's a technical term) away, and she starts yelling in spanish about something that seemed to have to do with her luggage that had been checked at the gate. the flight attendant wasn't as cool with his fancy spanish phrases this time, so he calls someone to come to the plane. they bring the walkway thing back, open the plane door again, and an airport employee who speaks spanish comes on to the plane. they have a very loud discussion in spanish right next to me, and the crazy lady calms down (sorta). the flight attendant is clearly getting paranoid about having this crazy woman on the plane, and tells the airport employee to pass along the following information VERY CLEARLY: "once we are in the air, under NO circumstances can she get out of her seat, as there is a federal regulation prohibiting anyone from moving about the cabin within 30 minutes of our nations capital... if she does, we will divert the plane and she will be arrested on the spot when we touch down." she relays the information, the crazy lady shakes her hands and laughs "oh no no no!" and nods in agreement that she understands. yes. i have total confidence that this crazy woman understands.

everyone takes their seat (oh wait... just the crazy woman. the rest of us had been patiently waiting with our seatbelts securely fastened for some time now), the door closes, and the plane taxis on to the runway where we wait for an hour to take off. i love newark. blah.

so while the crazy woman sits, sprawled between the two seats, her 72-hour survival kit (aka purse) on one side and the random chili's bag on the other, i watch her. i can't help myself. she is mesmerizing. her tiny little legs dangling above the floor. her dark brown plastic flip flops, that clearly met their match with a bedazzler at some point, just hanging on her big toes. she is fussing with her 3 boarding passes. she takes them out, flips through them. examines them. flips through them again. puts them away. a few minutes pass, and she goes through it all over again. i'm not sure if she was having trouble remembering where she was. or where she was going. or what planet she had landed on. but she was definitely obsessive about the boarding passes. at one point, the flight attendant walked passed and noticed she didn't have her seatbelt on, and commented to her that she needed to wear it. she proceeded to amaze me. who knew, people!? for YEARS i have made fun of the flight attendants for showing all of us "idiots" how to use a seatbelt. i have been known to say on more than one occasion to the person sitting next to me (which is usually burton)... "seriously... who doesn't know how to put on a seatbelt... and if they don't, how in the world do they have money for a plane ticket?" well folks... we had a winner. she took the same two ends of different seat belts and like a square peg and a round hole, tried to make them fit together. at this exact moment, i smiled and suddenly loved her. throughout the duration of the 32 minute flight, she shifted between seat 4B and 4C a few times, but nothing worthy of diverting the plane. she continued to check and recheck her boarding passes. and she continued to talk to herself in spanish... i'm sure mumbling about the crazy white girl to her left who was trying to sleep with her legs curled up on the arm rest in front of her and scribbling notes in the dark every few minutes.

p.s. if you're ever flying into DC, fly in at night and fly in to reagan national, and sit on the left side of the plane. holy beautiful view, batman!

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Anonymous Kateastrophe said...

You are hilarious. Phrase of the day "clearly met their match with a bedazzler at some point"


How boring would life be without crazy people??

August 15, 2008 6:00 PM

Blogger Kadi said...

Janaya, I believe the term would be "loco"...she is spanish...you are too funny. What an exhausting day...I hope you will have a relaxing weekend. I have an awesome story about a weird Indian man who sat next to me on a plane...but I can't tell it now...sorry...

August 15, 2008 7:16 PM

Blogger i'm jackie. he's doug. said...

Oh man! I think flying on a small plane is a completely different experience, and I appreciate you sharing it with us.

Every time I end up on one of those smaller planes, the pilot always looks like he's 15 years old. Always.

August 19, 2008 2:58 PM

Blogger emilie s. d. p. said...

I so wish you had a picture!

You're entire day sounds so exhausting...I'm glad you could end it on a high note?!?

August 20, 2008 6:49 PM

Blogger Natalie said...

Oh Janaya, you're too funny. I think that i would have had just as much fun observing you observing her as I would have had just observing her. I love people watching. It's an art, don't you think?

August 24, 2008 1:16 AM

Blogger Melinda and Taylor said...

Thank you. Thank you for making me laugh out loud after a long day of cleaning up after two poopy diapers, making five onesie-wardrobe changes, and dodging handfuls of sweet potato flying at my face...who thought that life with Taylor would be so eventful? J/K, I can't wait to see you guys in 2 days, 8 hours, and 23 minutes...I think I will need for you to reenact this plane ride.

August 26, 2008 10:26 PM

Blogger Alisha and Dave said...

The only thing that really left me baffled was the fact that no one can get out of their seats 30 minutes from the capital. Isn't anyone else baffled by this. Or maybe this guy was just saying it to get her to sit down and keep quiet.

September 05, 2008 12:45 AM

Blogger janaya said...

no, it's true. since 9/11 they've restricted movement in the plane's cabin within 30 minutes of DC (or Reagan National Airport, at least). I can actually understand this, since you're literally flying right over (and very closely, i might add) the White House, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, all the memorials, the Pentagon, etc. as you're coming in to land. in fact, everytime i fly into Reagan i think "i can't believe how close we fly to all of this stuff", and obviously other people have realized this too. i assume the fact that flight 77 (on 9/11) was highjacked just 35 minutes into the flight outside DC and then ended up in the side of the Pentagon, is where the concern originates.

September 05, 2008 8:01 AM


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