Wednesday, November 17, 2004


A week ago Monday I needed to be in New York City for the United States Court of International Trade Judicial Conference. In keeping with my general rule about not writing about work, the substance of the conference will not be inflicted upon you. However, the trip out is not technically "work." I'll try to write about the trip back later.

Anyway, I flew Continental from Midway to Newark Liberty. Newark is in New Jersey. I have often heard from our friends U and M about New Jersey people, but I'm not sure that I really understood what they were telling me.

The flight was full. Every seat, front to back. I was in the next to last row, on the aisle. A family walked up. They had the middle seat in my row and the three behind me. They were with another family that had four seats in the middle of coach. The kids all talked like they had never been out of New Jersey in their lives. The dad was awesomely tanned with well coiffed hair. The mom was the product of three kids, a boob job, lip injections, and a serious tanning booth. Mom and Dad talked like the kids. The plane left the tarmac in Chicago. The Loop appeared below us. The middle kid (maybe seven) asked if that was Joisey. Dad said he'd pop him if he said anything that stupid again.

The fasten seatbelt light was extinguished. The other family's mom walked back by her friends. She was a bottle blond, also with fake lips and a preternatural tan. She had probably seen the same boob doctor as the first mom, but she packaged them in a mesh see-through shirt with a little sweater covering the outer portions to the nipples. She made me think of the line in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure when the kid tells Freud he's sane, with a minor Oedipal complex because his dad married a cheerleader who was a senior when he was a freshman.

In any case, the parents decided to all sit together up front and let the kids sit in back. This was probably a net gain, since it freed the middle seat in our aisle. Still, the kids got in a water fight, on an airplane. The flight attendants actually went and got the parents. Dad came back and asked the kids whether they were a "bunch of knuckleheads, or what." Apparently that was the extent of his parenting skills, because he then walked back up front. The kids settled down enough that they just wrestled and banged the younger one's head off the tray table behind my seat for the remainder of the flight.

The strangest thing was this. The flight was full. Every seat. When we landed, Dad stayed up front with the Desparate Joisey Housewives. The kids stayed behind us. Nobody ever returned to the seat in our row. The flight attendant looked at the seat, shrugged and went to put her own seat belt on. I can only assume that the kids killed one of their own and crammed him into the toilet to be discovered later.

Truly things are different in Joisey.


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