This is Why Mindy Doesn't Blog About Vacations: France Edition

The Pretty Reckless are rocking my world.  Thanks, Casey the Human.

And speaking of pretty reckless (I swear, I'm only listening to Baby Panda Taylor Momsen's seminal Courtney Love tribute band so that I may make epically bad puns), remember that one time I went to France?

No, say you?  Well sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Once, on a whim, I went to one of those sex toy parties with my mom and future sister-in-law.  I know, sometimes I make really good choices.   Anyway, the party was being held at a family friend's home, so of course it was teeming with middle-aged women chomping at the bit to down their first blow-job shots.  Believe me when I say there was a chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs" when the hostess brought those suckers out.  Wanting nothing more than to crawl into my sweater and disappear, I quietly ducked out of the room and parked myself in front of a computer.  My friend Dawn, of Leg Lamp fame, had been hassling me to book another trip abroad for a few weeks. (Although truth be told, I can't imagine why -- our last foray had been fraught with fuck-ups.)  I logged onto Yahoo Travel and tentatively searched flights to Europe. Luck was definitely a lady that night as I found a round-trip ticket from BFE Idaho to Paris for less than $500.  I booked two tickets immediately.

Unbeknownst to me, flying to Western Europe at that price is basically unheard of.  Four months later I found out why: Boise --> Minneapolis --> Detroit --> Paris.  No sweat off my back, I had my ladies to keep me company.  That was until we boarded in Detroit. Our boarding passes had no seat assignments.  We watched in horror as the entire jet was seated before the flight attendant even glanced our way.  With a plastic smile and a saccharine voice, she politely informed us that we may take whatever seats were leftover.


Anji headed for the rear, Dawn somewhere in the middle.  Not wanting to be separated, Vivi and I plopped down in two choice spots: front and center aisle with plenty of leg room for the eight hour flight.  Not five seconds after buckling in, did I realize why these seats were conveniently vacant.  A portly man of about 50 years came ambling our way.  He parked himself next to me, then politely turned and asked me to buckle his seat belt.  WTF?

The man had no arms!  Like literally, no fucking arms!  All he had were two tiny, misshapen hands sprouting from his shoulders! 

*Now. In these types of situations I suppose there are really only two paths one can take.  1) You can play the foreigner card and feign any understanding of the English language, in which case you are a total prat, or 2) You can man up and help a brutha out.

So I reached over, and oh-so-delicately fastened my new friend's seat belt.  This being a trans-Atlantic flight and all, that was just the beginning.  Soon, the beverage cart came bustling down the aisle.  Coke for me, Orange Fanta for my new friend, who in my head I'd already coined Lieutenant Dan.  I politely popped my tab, took a swig, then popped his and held it to his mouth while he took a grateful chug. (Why the flight attendant never offered us a straw or why we never thought to ask is beyond me...)

Then came dinner service.  I can imagine what must have been running through Lieutenant Dan's head as he worked up the courage to ask me, a total stranger, to feed him dinner.  He was a perfect gentleman.  He turned to me and politely asked if, when I had finished my meal, might I be willing to do him a solid?  Being the non-douche that I am, I obliged.

And on it went through movie time, snack service, bathroom time, and breakfast service the next morning.  

Becoming so intimate so quickly is rarely how I operate.  I loathe the entire act of flying and almost never strike up conversations with my seat mates.  I certainly never expected to be feeding a middle-aged man so early in my adult-life, let alone on a Boeing 757.  But Lieutenant Dan was endearing and so was his story.  Apparently the Wifey, who was a Frenchie, had booked her flight home months prior.  Dan had no interest in seeing the In-Laws, so he declined her offer and opted to stay home.  After months of wifely nagging he decided to make the trek, but alas, Wifey's flight was all full.  And that was how he wound up on a plane unaided.  To make matter's worse, Genius Delta Flight Attendant had further emasculated him when she ordered he stow his Magic Wand Flex Grabber.  (Actually I have no idea what it was called, but multiple internet searches led me here and here.)

*Side note: google search "arm amputees" and you get this:

Anyway, that Flex Grabber was his ticket to freedom.  With it he could have easily unbuckled his seat belt, used the remote, and popped his own tab.

Nearing the end of our flight, he expressed his gratitude and invited the girlfriends and me to the In-Laws for a home cooked French meal.  I laughed and secretly hoped I'd get to see the Magic Wand Flex Grabber in action.  Soon after, we landed, I grabbed our luggage and we parted ways at the gate, but not before the Genius Delta Flight Attendant pulled me aside.

"I saw what you were doing there," she conspiratorially whispered in my ear.  "I wanted to say 'thank you' and to give you these coupons."  Then she thrust a grip of papers into my hands.  I was doing your fucking job, I thought to myself, but kept my mouth shut when I saw the coupons: $100 off my next flight and $50 in drink coupons!  WAHOO! Feeding Lieutenant Dan paid somewhere around $18 an hour -- better than my day job.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you never buy plane tickets online whilst at a sex party with your mom and sister-in-law.

BTW, I never asked how he managed to unbutton his pants and hold his hooha all those times he got up to pee.  Methinks he sat, I suppose...

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