Dear guy who is asleep on me on this flight to Cleveland,
I know we’re both going to Cleveland, so clearly we’ve both made some poor choices somewhere along the line. With that acknowledged, I’d just like to note some of the choices you’ve made today.
6:50 AM: The sun was just stretching its rays over the horizon and peaking its head over Toronto. As I sat in my window seat, glancing over the Pearson tarmac, for a moment I dared to dream. I dared to dream that today would be the day I’d have nobody next to me on a flight; that I could stretch out and finally finish “The Casual Vacancy” as I sipped lukewarm coffee and revelled in my coach class seat that suddenly felt so much like business class. As the minutes ticked by, that hope grew. Then, all at once, it went away. Andrea, our gracious and altogether lovely hostess, went over the intercom and delivered the crushing blow: “We’re waiting on one more passenger.” My mind was swept with the sort of irrational rage that an only child who is told a new baby is coming into the family must feel: that rage of no longer being special. This is not your fault, I know. Perhaps if we had started the day on the right foot, I’d have found you charming. But when you stumbled onto the plane you’d held up for 15 minutes and immediately declared, “Oh fuck, this is a shitty small fucking plane,” I knew friendship was not our destiny.
7:15 AM: You sat down, and then lifted your elbows out as if you were about to do “The Chicken Dance,” knocking them into me. You then looked me dead in the eyes and said, “There’s nothing I can do. I’m a big guy.” I am not a physicist. My knowledge of space is minimal. I do, however, know enough to understand that there is space between your elbows and your body, so technically you could pull them in. Again, not a physicist, but also, not stupid.
7:19 AM: I have a guess as to why you were so late today: you are drunk. It seems you stopped at terminal three’s classy T.G.I. Friday’s for a beer or two—or ten, guessing by the smell. I could be wrong, of course, but given the fact that the small child across the aisle from us mastered the seatbelt in a fifth of the time it took you to fumble and swear at it, I’m gonna assume I’m right.
7:29 AM: Andrea, our flight attendant, told you (after several announcements) that your iPad had to be turned off. Most people would respond with, “Yes. Sorry.” Maybe the more belligerent would roll their eyes, but still comply. Your verbatim response: “What was 9/11 even for?” That sentence is stunning. It is a masterpiece of the moronic; I’m completely unable to unravel and decipher what your meaning is. All I have to respond that question is a question: What do you think you are talking about?
7:45 AM: You are currently asleep and drooling on my cardigan.
I realize that you could wake up from your drunken stupor at any moment and read this. I’d be stunned to find out you are literate, but I am nonetheless aware that it is a possibility. With that in mind, I’d like you to know that I wish you no ill will. Not even a little. An angrier version of me, from a few years ago, might wish a small paper cut on you—a small paper cut, just as a tanker truck full of lemon juice crashes and spills the juice all over your dumb cut. Angry me would wish that. But present day me is a vegetarian, does yoga, and gets it on the regular. So no ill will. Keep living your life.
With the kindest regards I can muster,
AUTHOR’S EDIT—8:51 AM: During turbulence, your face slipped from my shoulder down onto my breasts. You jolted up, pulled yourself together, winked at me and said, “Gooooood morning.” I wish a thousand paper-cuts on you, motherfucker.