The Expert

I’m writing this from the runway of the Nashville International Airport, where we’ve been parked for three hours. Evidently, the toilets won’t flush, which is a first - after thousands of flights, I’m impressed when I encounter new ways for the thing to shit all over itself. My favorite’s still “ladies and gentlemen, we’ve put the gas in the wrong tank,” courtesy of US Airways. I mean, the pilot said “gas.” Gas is something I put in my 2003 Toyota Corolla. And I’ll just go ahead and leave the “wrong tank” part alone. 

On runway delays, one encounters the usual suspects: New Parents Mortified By Their Toddler’s Crying (it’s ok, we understand), the Compulsive Instagram Checker and, increasingly, the Retiree Who Unashamedly Watches Graphic Sex Scenes On His Laptop. I’m sitting next to the Expert. 

The Expert knows exactly why one of the most complex machines ever invented, one that defies the laws of fucking nature, is still parked on the asphalt. “You gotta understand,” he says, “a plane’s just like any other thing. You always check the breakers first. ALWAYS.”

Firstly, no. A plane is not just like any other thing, and I’d like to think the checklist for airline maintenance is more thorough than the “if this, then that” for when my bathroom lights won’t turn on. Secondly, he’s pontificating in between sips of Mountain Dew. I can’t take a man seriously who slurps down the same shit I and fellow pimple-faced lady killers used to crush while playing Magic the Gathering. 

We’re finally given the OK to take off, and the Expert’s settled into nervously re-adjusting his wedding ring. He's a young dude: maybe he’s newly married, excited to return to his betrothed for a revivifying bounce in the sack? I cringe at the thought of his no doubt a-rhythmic pelvic thrusting. I bet they have a shitty little yip-yip dog.