A drunk woman sat in front of me on the plane last night.
While I should be kind and forget the whole thing, it must be documented.
It’s essential to set the scene. We had just arrived in Seattle from London, and this flight was the last stretch of a long travel day. The plane was small— two seats on each side of a narrow aisle.
We board without incident. I sit next to Maggie. Michael is across from us on the aisle. In front of Michael sit two women, whom I overhear are professional golfers. In front of me sits a young guy. I learn later that he knows the other two women and is also a golfer.
Enter drunk lady. We’ll call her Scottsdale. Black Juicy-type sweatsuit, a massive rock on her manicured hand, dress flats, and a very large purse. Here’s what I learned in the fifteen minutes between Scottsdale taking her seat and the plane reaching for the sky.
Her shoes are Ferragamo, very expensive. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona and her husband has a Mercedes. She drives a Lexus because she likes things understated. They have three children, her husband is a “big deal” he pops up on Google, she says. Her parents were born in Norway, and she hopes someday her daughter will land a spot on American Idol. Her daughter is nine.
The guy sitting next to her, we’ll call him Golf, nods politely as she searches her enormous bag for her phone.
The plane takes off, and the lights dim. Michael falls asleep. Maggie falls asleep. I wrap my cozy travel sweater around me and assume the tired on a plane position.
I was there for you in your darkest times, I was there for you in your darkest night, but I wonder wheeeere were you — a young girl’s voice is screeching Maroon 5.
I open my eyes.
Michael and Maggie are somehow still out, so I decide I’m dreaming, but the voice won’t stop. I glance between the seats, and Scottsdale is showing Golf videos of her nine-year-old wrapped in a towel (pool party perhaps) singing into a microphone.
There are multiple videos. By the time Scottsdale’s daughter moves on to a startling rendition of All About that Bass, a young man sitting behind Michael approaches and, in his very Seattle-cool way, says, “Hey, guys could you put headphones on? Because the whole plane can hear that.”
I decide he’s my hero as he rejoins his lovely girlfriend.
Scottsdale is pissed. She looks back toward Seattle before whipping around to tell Golf that my hero’s girlfriend is probably fat. “Fat people always have an issue with me because I’m super hot for 42, and they can’t like take it, you know? And I’m rich. And my daughter is way talented.” She glares back again. “They’re missing out. Don’t you think they are missing out?” Golf nods. “You’re loss!” she bellows over her shoulder. “Their loss, right?” Golf nods again.
At this point, I am wondering what alternate universe I have slipped into.
I closed my eyes only to open them again. The flight proceeds as follows:
Scottsdale starts flirting with Golf, who I learn is 23. She tells him, and thanks to her volume me, all about her house and her daughters and that her husband is great, but she’s lonely.
Yeah, that’s original.
Scottsdale calls for the flight attendant to ask about drinks like she’s at a table for two instead of a damn plane. The flight attendant, bless her, politely explains that they are working their way up the aisle. When she leaves, Scottsdale complains about the poor service, the attendant’s big ass, and how she should have booked first class. This sequence happens two more times until finally, Scottsdale orders two glasses of “your best Chardonnay.”
Keepin’ it classy. I’m laughing into my cozy travel sweater now.
Golf orders a double rum and Coke. He’s going to need it. Scottsdale now engages the two golf women across the aisle and asks if they play tennis. They look at her like she’s, well, drunk. They’re friendly but dismissive, and Scottsdale mumbles that they’re bitches too. She rests her head on Golf’s shoulder and rambles about her illustrious tennis career at a club, some club she can’t remember the name. She eats one pretzel, “I usually limit myself to one, but whatever.” She eats another.
Things get quiet, and my tired eyes drift close. Moments later, here is what I think a coo might sound like, whispering and a giggle.
When I open my eyes, Golf is inhaling Scottsdale’s face while she flings her hair back and forth. These two are genuinely going at it.
I check to see if Maggie’s still asleep, and then I tap Michael who opens his eyes briefly and couldn’t care less.
How is anyone sleeping through this?
Scottsdale now leans over the armrest into the aisle, eyes closed and lips pursed. I have no idea where Golf, um, went.
I don’t mean to be a prude, but wasn’t she just showing awful videos of her kid? What the hell is happening? The flight attendants are nowhere, rightly scared off, I imagine.
On Scottsdale’s next moan, I close my eyes tightly and will the plane to land.
When we eventually do land, I open my eyes to Scottsdale applying her lip gloss. “Oooh, well that was fun,” she says.
The captain has turned off the seatbelt sign, not that these two care, and we all stand. Golf smiles at Scottsdale and says he’ll need to stay seated for a while until “his boy calms down.”
Thankfully off the plane, I try filling Michael and Maggie in as Scottsdale weaves up the gateway to her three daughters and into the arms of her waiting husband. His expression adequately represents the handful he’ll be loading into that expensive Mercedes.
Godspeed, Scottsdale’s husband.
Easily the longest flight of my life. Running through my mind, in no particular order:
Is this something she does all the time? Why is she wearing dress flats with a sweatsuit? Does she drink because she’s afraid to fly, and this one just got out of hand? She gave Golf her name, address, and phone number. Will he be calling her? Writing her a letter? Golf was a lean man with dark hair, and so was her husband. Was she so into her cups, as my grandmother would say, that she imagined she was sucking face with a younger version of her guy, and this will be a big whoopsie in the morning?
I will never know the answers or unsee the hot mess of that night, but I knew there was a reason I avoided Scottsdale, Arizona.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Lights Off.