I write this as I sit on what will most likely be my last flight ever.
A little over a year ago, my best friend (Nancy) and her husband (Brett) moved to Florida. Nancy grew up in Florida and always insisted she was moving back. I never thought it would actually happen, though, because Brett grew up in New Jersey and agreed with me that Florida is, quite possibly, the worst place on the planet.
Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t mean to disparage the good citizens of Florida. I really don’t. I know there are beautiful beaches, lovely towns and wonderful people within its borders. There’s just no denying the fact that it’s full of nut jobs and pedophiles. It’s like society’s dregs gathered for a debauchery convention and never left. What else would you expect from a state that looks like America is vomiting it? Seriously. If you don’t believe me, just google ‘Florida crime’, grab yourself a drink (something strong, like maybe tequila) and try not to think too much about the fact that evil like that exists so close to Disneyworld.
I kid Florida because I love it. (except not really)
Oh, hey! Speaking of Disneyworld, here’s a little tip: When traveling to Orlando, do NOT, under any circumstances, book a flight that departs at 10:00 in the morning. In fact, try to avoid any flight departing earlier than 10:00pm. More on that later.
I figured there was no way Nancy would ever get Brett to agree to move to Florida. I should have known better.
Nancy is nothing short of masterful when it comes to getting her way. I’ve long believed she could be a multi-millionaire the if she would just throw together a PowerPoint presentation entitled ‘Manipulating Your Mate Into Thinking It Was His Idea’ and tour the world Tony Robbins-style teaching her craft to those of us who, while capable of ultimately getting our way, find the ledger tipped uncomfortably in our mate’s favor when we do.
So, in December 2009, Nancy convinced Brett to convince her to pack their bags and their three crazy dogs and move to Ormond Beach.
Side note: If Ormond Beach sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason. You know that movie, Monster? The one where a scary-looking Charlize Theron plays a truck-driving serial killer? The one based on a true story? Yeah, that took place in Ormond Beach.
See what I mean? Crawling with crazies.
‘Puh,’ I thought to myself, ‘They’ll be back by August. They’ve obviously forgotten that Florida is a quarter mile from the sun in the dead of summer and, while Nancy absolutely LOVES the feeling of blistering skin, Brett won’t tolerate it. He’s a Jersey boy! He’ll make her so miserable she’ll have no choice but to move back!’
Then something awful happened. Brett fell in love with Florida. I totally didn’t see that one coming. Et tu, Brett? I thought we were on the same team!
So that was that.
When they first moved down there, they lived in a small townhouse that wasn’t big enough to comfortably accommodate guests, so visiting wasn’t really an option (not that it mattered because, in addition to not being a fan of Florida, I have an acute fear of flying.) Everything changed in November when Nancy convinced Brett to convince her that buying a bigger house was the best idea EVER.
And so the pressure to visit was on.
I love Nancy. You know why? Because, like me, she’s kind of like a guy on the inside. She’s the most low-maintenance girl I know. If she asks me to go somewhere – lunch, dinner, the mall, a party, a concert, whatever – and I don’t feel like going, I don’t need to make up excuses. I can just say no.
No hissy-fits, no guilt, no pressure, nothing. Women like that are few and far between.
Also, she’s a TV junkie who, like me, if confronted with the choice of having to give up either her husband or her sofa and DVR, would have to sleep on it before making a decision.
Finally, like me, she’s a bit of a mess. Her nickname was once Dirty Spice because she was always covered with dog hair, cigarette ash, coffee stains and/or food particles.
Side note: One time (in band camp) Nancy’s laptop keyboard mysteriously stopped working. It turned out that there was so much dog hair and food debris under the keys that they were unable to function. My heart grew three times its normal size when I heard that story. I had never felt closer to anyone than I did to her in that moment.
There are few things I cherish more than my friendship with Nancy. I mean, honestly? How do you not absolutely fall in love with someone like that??
So, here I sit on a flight to Florida that is packed to the gills with (loud, hyperactive, obnoxious) children, thinking that I should have opted for the full Xanax rather than wimping out and splitting it in half.
Directly across the aisle from me sit a cute little girl (5ish?), her adorable little brother (3ish?) and their hapless father. I didn’t even realize they were there until I turned to the right to say something to Jack and 3ish made a sound that traveled like a knife through my left temple, twisted a few times and proceeded to exit through my right temple. Evidently, that’s what Buzz Lightyear’s spaceship sounds like. I stopped mid-sentence, took a breath, checked for blood dripping from my ears and said to Jack, ‘Seriously? No, seriously??’
I turned my head slowly to the left and saw the hapless father reading a magazine as though the sound barrier hadn’t been broken directly to his left. I guess it’s like living near a fire station; he probably doesn’t even notice it anymore.
‘DADDY!!!! DADDY!!!! ARE WE IN DISNEYWORLD YET?!?!?!?!?!
DADDYYYYY!!!!!! SHE KICKED ME!!!!!!!!
Oh. My. Christ.
What was I thinking?!?! In addition to unwittingly booking a return flight that departs at 7:00 – approximately 30 minutes after the Superbowl kickoff (oh, no she did-ent!) – I booked a late-morning flight that was sure to be packed with children because it’s going to DISNEYWORLD.
Worst. Trip. Planner. EVER.
I’m hoping Nancy meets me at the airport with alcohol. Like maybe a gallon of bourbon.