Alas, in a genuine tribute to Madame Trouble, I've been racking my brain to come up with a five-spot of what makes me weirder than most people actually reading this post. Judging by the scattered smattering of readership the HoB has amassed, I'd say that's a pretty tall order; and yet, by all accounts, I'm sure if I dig deep enough I can come up with nary a half-dozen. So I'm going to try -- and I'm also going to point out what I find weird about other people. So pfffffffffffft.
First, I've officially switched teams. No, I'm not gay -- I mean that when I was a wee lad, I loved playing baseball and tennis; and I derived endless distraction while being solely focused on football and hockey on TV. Now that I've gotten my pubes, I'd have to say that I almost always watch baseball and tennis when it's on TV, but my preference is to play football and hockey. As for basketball, I used to love it (both playing and watching) as a kid, and now I can't be bothered to do either. So...um...that might be a weird thing.
Second, I've got enough music occupying my apartment -- on CD, LP, hard drive, mp3, iPod, and now in FLAC -- to listen to songs for the next twelve years without repeating the same song twice. So why is it that, more and more, the only time I spend actually listening to music per se is when I'm commuting (via iPod) or in a lounge and just kicking back? I've gotten my PC setup so organized that it downloads stuff while I'm not around -- thank you, BitTorrent -- and yet I spend more time downloading and fussing over music than actually listening to it. The one caveat, of course, is that I spend more time these days with a guitar in my lap, a pick in my mouth and a blinking cursor at the ready in case I want to jot down some chord progressions, lyrics and/or a list of stuff I need to buy at Duane Reade tomorrow.
Third, based on my typical commute a decade ago, I would spend approximately three hours in a moving vehicle heading into or out of Manhattan en route to my apartment. Now, I spend about forty-five minutes -- albeit in a bus -- en route to the office or my apartment. I stopped racing when I got rid of my Audi, so I essentially went from spending my entire commute and a good chunk of my weekends driving to not driving at all. Ever. This is the longest stretch of being a non-driver (ie an owner/operator of my own car/Jeep) that I've ever endured. And while I love driving -- racing, especially (although the way I do the former it's pretty much the latter anyway) -- I don't really miss not having to bother with a car in NYC.
Weird. Sort of.
Fourth, I put garlic in my eggs.
Before anyone gags and subsequently damages his/her LCD display, I've known people to put some repulsive things in/on other foods. There are shitloads of people who flavor their cooked scrambled eggs/omelettes with ketchup; almost all of Europe eats french fries with mayonnaise. And the Irish regularly consume something called black and white pudding, which, in actuality, is code for "herb-tinged asshole." If you've ever tasted black and white pudding -- especially anywhere in the United Kingdom -- you will no doubt be in an excellent position to confirm this.
So me lopping a sliced-up clove of garlic amongst a three-some of Grade A Jumbo's right before they are crepe-i-fied and subsequently omelette-o-fied isn't as bad as it sounds. In fact, I think people who just douse their omelettes with a dab of cheese -- American, cheddar and Swiss for the librarians and the agoraphobes in the house -- are missing the point. Eggs are the unifier of all types of different cuisines, even if you have no idea you're consuming eggs. The fact is lots of savory items go really well with eggs: herbs like thyme, rosemary, garlic and chives; country sausage; sweet/roasted peppers; curry and/or tabasco (just a dash of either); salmon (with a hint of dill); and the ever-popular onion.
I apologize if I've inspired hunger in anyone visiting here; it's just that I've never encountered anyone who consciously admitted to using garlic when preparing eggs for breakfast, and I've always wondered why. If that makes me weird, well by gum, than I'm weird, loud and proud.
Finally, in the five-hole, I survived a plane hijacking.
Yep, you read right.
'Twas a flight from the Virgin Islands -- a two-part connector, the first in the late afternoon and the second in the early evening on a New Years Eve back in the 1980's -- when my family and I boarded a flight back to NYC. After about four or so hours in the air, about an hour out of New York, the captain announced that a gentleman -- a Mr. Ali -- wished to go to Havana, Cuba, and the plane was now en route thereto.
I was still in high school at the time -- in fact, my sister and I were both high school students at the time -- and we were sitting next to one another in the front bulkhead while my parents were across the aisle to our immediate right. Once this announcement hit the speakers, and the entire plane realized this was not a joke, most everyone dispensed -- quickly -- of all their jewelry, especially anything that identified them as jewish. This was right after a TWA jet had been hijacked by some Muslim extremists (as if a nice elderly presbyterian couple would hijack a jet to Chaos Central) and stayed on the ground for around 50 days in Beirut, and when we heard we were going to Cuba, we were sort of puzzled. Apparently, Mr. Ali, the lone hijacker, hadn't heard -- while he was in prison -- that Carter signed an extradition treaty with The Land of Fidel that no longer granted hijackers asylum if they landed a hijacked plane in Cuba. So after a relatively bizarre hour and change in the air -- during which we were first advised to keep our hands in the air, then on the seats in front of us (for us bulkhead passengers, this was a conundrum) and then in our laps -- we began our approach to Cuba.
...On fumes, the pilot observed over the complimentary headphones -- as Mr. Ali, a skinny asswipe who remarkably resembled the late Gregory Hines shimmied from the rear of the plane toward the cockpit with a stewardess in front of him and a .38 special service revolvers in each of his hands -- and when we landed (roughly, and quite certainly the least hospitable landing I've ever experienced as a passenger), we were ringed on the runway, on each side of the plane, with as many emergency vehicles -- lights, sirens, strobes, etc. -- that were viably mobile in the state of Cuba. The plane ground to a halt, and after about ten minutes, Cuban MP's (they were wearing armbands, Smartypants) with Uzis boarded the plane and asked us "Que Pasa?" Rather than rack our brains ("How the fuck do you say cockpit in Spanish?"), we pointed in the direction of the cockpit, so they went and removed from the plane their newest temporary citizen, and that was it. We were escorted off the plane -- reluctantly, we agreed to temporarily leave so they could check for explosives and refuel us -- and since I was still a yoot, I opted to partake of cheeseburgers and ice cream rather than the rapacious cleavage and the promise of free cigars, both of which were ample for us gringos.
Ahh, to be young and stupid.
In either case, the weirdness wasn't being a passenger in a hijacking. What's weird about the story is that I asked permission -- which was granted by Mr. Ali -- to take a leak mid-hijacking. I'm proud to say that everything came out okay that day.
Maybe it's weird that I'll never return to the Virgin Islands ever again. But I think the real weirdness was my unwillingness to hold it in until we were there. Perhaps if I had continually pestered Mr. Ali with a whiny, nasal "Are we there yet?" every thirty seconds, things might have turned out differently -- for better or worse. Or maybe it's just weird that I have a quasi-flashback every time I hit the airplane bathroom.
Is that weird? ;)