The sub-moronic ramblings of a semi-functioning illiterate

Hellis Loses Her Mind on an Airplane

3216573-2967628339-ren-2The Universe is trying to convince me that I am a hot bubblin’ cauldron of crazy, I shit you not. The story I am about to tell to you actually happened to me on a flight not too long ago.

Let’s take a moment to set the stage:

Picture a long line of passengers all crammed together as they board an airplane. I am one of those passengers. My progress down the center aisle is measured in hours, which means that there are moments where I am paused at a particular row long enough to notice quirks and peculiarities of the people who have already taken a seat. For example, the woman seated in 6D. Let’s call her Joan, and let’s imagine she looks like this:

Not Actually Joan

Not Actually Joan

(I found this pic by typing “pics of women who won first prize for casseroles at county fairs”)

Since I am only 4’11” tall, the view of the seated passengers is obstructed by the line of normal sized humans in front of me. This means that I can only see the people who occupy my peripheral vision, namely, people who are seated in window seats. People like Joan. Only when I move forward and the horde in front of me moves away am I able to see anyone positioned in an aisle seat. Hold onto that fact, folks. You are going to need it for later. Now let’s get back to the plane:

I make my way down the aisle toward Joan and notice that she appears sweaty and panicked. Rocking back and forth and wringing her hands, she demonstrates the classic signs of someone with a fear of flying. I also notice that taped up over the window at her side is an 8X10 photo of a man about her age. Let’s call him Paul, and let’s say he looks like this (I found this pic by typing “Dudes named Paul”):

Actually Named Paul

Actually Named Paul

Since my line is at a stand still I have time to ponder the reason as to why there is a picture of a man taped over Joan’s window. I watch her steal glances at the photo (when she’s not busy trying to rip her fingers off), and decide that this photo must function as a focal point for Joan in those moments when her fear of flying threaten to overtake her. This man Paul must be a source of comfort to Joan in her life, and it makes me smile to imagine the warmth and happiness he surely brings her. I think to myself that it would be quite an honor to know Paul in real life. 

Well it didn’t take long for me to find out, because as the line moved forward the man in aisle seat 6C was revealed. A man who looked exactly like this:

Still Named Paul

Still Named Paul

No, I did not accidentally put up a pic of the same man twice, because the man seated in the aisle seat was none other than Paul, the same man whose face was taped over the window (if you had to read that sentence twice, you are not alone. I was there and I had to reread it to make sure it made sense). I’ll paint the picture once more for clarity:

Blue ribbon winning, casserole baking, pasty-faced Joan is seated in window seat 6D, flanked by a real-life dude named Paul to her left and a pic of the same dude named Paul to her right- his two-dimensional mug beaming proudly in all its comb-over glory. 

Now some of you may be thinking, “So what, Hellis? She’s got a pic of the man sitting next to her. What’s the big deal? I’ve got pictures of people I know in my wallet. Did you really think there was enough meat in this moment to justify a blog post? I’ve just wasted three minutes of my life reading the sub-moronic ramblings of a semi-functioning illiterate. Eat shit and die.”

To which I answer, “But WHY did she tape up the picture?!? She didn’t need the photo as a proxy for comfort, THE DUDE WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE!” Oh, and also, “Fuck you. That last bit was harsh.”

By the time it truly registers what I’ve just seen I’m seated confined to my own window seat three rows behind them, the winner of the annual John Goodman look-alike contest blocking my way to the aisle. Now I can’t even fake a bout of explosive diarrhea as an excuse to pass their seats on my way to the lavatory. Since I am not free to roam around the cabin I spend the next 2 hours and 45 minutes with my right temple pressed against the window, staring down the space between the seats and the fuselage, straining to catch a glimpse of Joan interacting with the photo taped over the glass. I am desperate for a clue as to why this woman has gone to the trouble of hanging a pic of a man to her right when that same man sits inches to her left. 

Naturally, my mind tried to solve that puzzle but created more questions than answers.

Maybe she has neck issues and cannot turn her head to the left. But why didn’t they just switch seats? Maybe the picture was actually of Paul’s twin brother Peter, and maybe Joan was Peter’s wife. But why was Paul accompanying Joan and not Peter? Maybe Peter is dead and they were flying to his funeral. Or maybe, just maybe, they did this on purpose just to fuck with my head, to which I respond, “Mission. Accomplished.”

Needless to say, I never got my answer. Both Paul and Joan exited the plane before I had a chance to ask. To this day only one person believes this story, and that’s only because crazier shit happens to this person on a daily basis (stay tuned for blog posts on shouting matches in supermarkets over someone named Patrick Swayze). I guess I am hoping this blog post might catch either Joan or Paul’s attention so that they can give me an answer to the question that keeps me up at night.

Watching Autopsy…


23 responses

  1. Haha….now I fully comprehend your comment! That is a mysterious situation. I hope the universe reveals an answer for you (and us)!!

    September 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

  2. I wish I could tell you that there is a week that goes where I don’t think about this event at least once. It quite literally has kept me up at night. Sadly, this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Yes, I’ve got another blog post brewing.

    September 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

  3. There are no explanations for a guy being named Paul. None.

    September 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    • Buahahaha! I know why that’s funny. 🙂

      September 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

  4. “…sub-moronic ramblings of a semi-functioning illiterate.” The light of this awesome would fill the known universe… holy shit. I think I know why you’re an awesome writer.

    September 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    • I keep good company. 🙂

      September 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

  5. Besides loving the way you write I love a good mystery. However, now I will be wondering for the rest of my life (because unsolved mysteries linger in my head forever) why…why…why this woman was being so weird.

    You are better than me because I would have either A) asked right then or B) told the stewardess I NEEDED to know and if she couldn’t find out I would have asked permission to ask….because WRITERS NEED to know. 🙂

    September 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    • I had considered walking right up and asking, but I am always afraid of setting off a potential lunatic on an plane. I can see it now- Air Marshals dragging me off the plane, kicking and screaming, “But I need to know why!!!”

      Oh, did I mention that the lunatic is me?

      September 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      • BUT it would be worth it if you got the story first…AND you would have another good story to tell about “why you can never ride in an airplane in the U.S. again” haha OK so maybe you are much smarter than I am 🙂

        September 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        • You’re right, though. I need to be more bold. So watch the news for a small lunatic being shoved into the back of a large squad car. You’ll know it’s me because I’ll be shouting, “Hastywords told me to do it!!!”

          September 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

          • Can you say made you do it???? 🙂

            September 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

            • Abso-friggin-lutely!

              September 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

  6. Obviously “Joan” had “Fear of Flying”–the phobia, not the religious self-help book by the shy ’70s girl (there’s a lame joke in there somewhere). Paul, assuming he was as hot as his internet stand-in, was her rock, her hot rock. Joan, being as hot as her internet stand-in, drove Paul to frequently visit the lavatory to masturbate on the flight, therefore leaving her alone with her fears, which were then alleviated by her looking at hot Paul’s hot pic. Oh my God, or I just realized we’re all total assholes and she has dementia and the picture is a reminder to her that she should look for someone who looks like the pic. But then how would she know the picture had such a meaning?
    Okay I’ll shut up now.
    You crack me up.

    September 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    • Or…maybe she is a reaper but is really bad at it, like probation bad, so she tapes pics of the people whose souls she needs to reap so she doesn’t make another mistake- kind of like writing notes on the back of her hand.

      There’s a book in there somewhere…

      September 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm

  7. So Poor Psychotic Joan is involved in a threesome with the same man. Does that make her crazy? Maybe she has a split personality, which could mean that the two of them are involved in a foursome or even a fivesome. By the way, your version of Paul sure has one wicked comb over!

    September 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

    • Imagine that- a three way with someone who has a split personality. Is that cheating, I wonder?

      I picked that picture because yeah, the dude on the plane was sporting some serious combage.

      September 25, 2014 at 10:08 am

  8. Curiosity can be such a bitch, can’t it? Like right now. I’m wondering about that damn casserole. Women who won first prize for casseroles at county fairs intrigue me.

    September 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

    • They intrigue me too! Like, how do you know if a casserole is good? Don’t they all taste the same? I just remember seeing her and thinking, “she looks like the kind of woman who wins blue ribbons for casseroles at county fairs.”

      I know, there is something very, very wrong with me.

      September 25, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  9. I have seen this exact thing at least 6 times before… and I could tell you what is going on… but where would the fun be in that?

    September 25, 2014 at 11:03 am


      September 25, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      • Well, it has something to do with the ‘mile high club’, an inner-ear malfunction, a rare form of kinky three-way, fear of flying, fear of commitment, fear of rejection, and a pathological disassociation with reality… but then again, what doesn’t?

        September 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm

        • Other than the inner-ear malfunction, that sounds like a fun Saturday night. Who knew Joan had it in her?

          September 26, 2014 at 9:32 am

          • If she had an electronic device with a video of that guy, she was going for the Trifecta challenge.

            September 26, 2014 at 10:21 am