Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How Much Baggage Will You Be Checking?

It's been a week since I came home from the Orange Bowl, which means it's been a week since the most awkward event I've had the pleasure of enduring since I told one of my coworkers that she had something on her face only to realize that it was a mole.

My flight was at 11:30 last Wednesday morning and I was, of course, running late to the airport. Not only was traffic on I-95 more snarled than Kirsten Dunst's front teeth, I also had to both stop and fill the tank of my rental car and argue with the Hertz attendant who charged me $14 because I used a gallon of that gas to drive back to the airport. Not having time to engage in a serious debate where I would employ some clever, infinitely bloggable insult to question not only his lineage but also his mother’s integrity, I had to fall back on the standard “stomp my foot and make an angry noise” move I’ve almost perfected. Definitely intimidating, in a ‘puppy’s squeaky chew toy’ kind of way.

I raced to the terminal and while I scanned the insanely long check-in line, I spotted my former boyfriend at the kiosk. Not only that, but standing beside him looking ancient and impatient was his new girlfriend, Flipper, the one he left me for. [Note: She has a name that's just as ridiculous with an equal number of P's.] I use the term 'girlfriend' loosely, because, well, she was a girl about the time people were classified as either hunters or gatherers. I froze. It's not that I was surprised; I knew he was going to the game but he was flying out of Miami, not Lauderdale. And despite living in the same two-Target town, I'd managed to not ever have to see the two of them together, especially not when he looked tan and she looked well-rested—as well-rested as someone who lived through the Crusades could look—and had likely just spent four days doing things in their hotel room that even impressed the Housekeeping staff ("Flora, get in here! Look what they did to the ice bucket!").

There was nowhere for me to go, except home. I stood in line backwards so he wouldn't turn around and see me pointing out Flipper's excess neck skin to my stuffed dinosaur. The guy behind me was talkative and didn't at all question why I was sweating profusely and walking the wrong way, thank God, so we chatted about--what else--traffic and waiting in line and other things that were irritating and did not at all involve me conjuring horrible mental images of my former boyfriend (MFB) clearing the rockslide blocking Flipper's ladyparts so they could have sex inside the minibar. The guy's four-year-old daughter was chatty too, despite the fact that surely she knew that I didn't give a shit who her favorite Wiggle was. But I listened and somewhere between "Yellow is the funnest" and "Purple is a big sillypants" I heard someone yelling for me.

I turned to see MFB waving as Flipper stood behind him looking sullen and no doubt wondering why he'd put her luggage down. (He carries her luggage? I thought surely she could manage both her makeup bag and her walker.) I half-heartedly waved back and turned quickly around, hoping he'd think that maybe I was with the guy behind me and not just clammy, nauseous, and alone...like when we first met. Oh, and that he didn't see the kid. Unless that would make him think that I'd gone all Angelina and was slowly replacing my Starting Lineup collection with other people's babies. (On a side note, Angelina reminds me of a game of Katamari Damacy, but instead of thumbtacks and mountains she just sucks up third-world orphans.)

I hurriedly got my ticket and raced toward the security line where--no, you've got to be kidding me--where MFB and Flipper were waiting. He gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and wished me what seemed to be a very sincere Happy New Year, even though by this point my New Year was eating a big bowl of dicks. We talked for a minute or two and I have absolutely no recollection of what was said, although I'm sure it involved the game, the view from our seats, and what a great job Flipper did as the baby-eater in Pan's Labyrinth.

See, it's not that I want him back. I'm totally OK with the quiet, frozen meal-heavy life I share with my stuffed dinosaur. It's just that of all the people he had to leave me for, it had to be her, this heinous twice-divorced goblin who'd done nothing but campaign for his affections since she met him. It didn't matter what his interests were, she liked that too. Dancing? She loves to dance. Art galleries? She adores art galleries! Other things that actually kind of make him sound kind of gay, like collecting vases and using moisturizer? Her favorites too! She pretended that she wasn't after him but she's a horrible actress and I'm not retarded, even though I totally fall for that "got your nose" thing every single time.

I know that love's not a competitive sport, but there's part of me that thinks that she won. And I lost. So what can I do? Except hope that eventually the pretenses fade and they see each other's true selves, which in her case probably looks a lot like Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2 and I can only hope that their eventual breakup will end with him crouching on all fours, covered in slime and asking "Why am I drippings with goo?".

The security line was a blur. I don't recall removing my shoes or my belt or surrendering my hair product, but I did. And when I finally boarded the plane, as they were giving the last call for Zone 68 or whichever cargo-hold my Hotwired ticket was in, I threw my backpack in the overhead, collapsed in my seat, and asked the guy beside me very sincerely if he'd like to hear about the purple Wiggle.

Which in retrospect, sounds kind of dirty.

4 comments:

Nate said...

I read this, and all I can think is, "Thanks. Now I have the Katamari Damacy song stuck in my head."

Oh yeah, and sorry about your ex and blah blah blah.

- Nate

The Bird Man said...

I have met MFB, and eaten several Thai dinners with him, and J-money my friend I have to sincerely say that I think you won.

where's my mom said...

I'm with the bird man, even though I've only had one Thai dinner with MFB but lots of Diet Mountain Dew. You definitely won, big time.

There are TWO Targets in W-S? Now that's livin'!

August said...

I have lots of baggage to check in . . . and then there's my luggage, lol!

I avoid this kind of stuff by deciding to make friends w/my ex's in Texas. Once the negative stuff subsides I just can't be hateful--I'm too much of a nice guy I guess.