No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn

It’s almost one in the morning. I’ve now given up on the theory that I could get a tiny bit of sleep. I’m on an airplane, you see, headed towards New York City. We took off close to an hour ago. We land in not too long — about four hours. Will I get a second’s rest before it’s eight in the morning on the East Coast? Probably not. You see, for some reason this red eye’s the worst damn red eye ever made.

I should say right here that I’m not good on a packed flight. I hate a crowded row. We’re all fighting for arm rests and seat space, our asses and elbows flirting with each other when all we want to do is seal ourselves up in individual bubbles. I’m a wiggler. I’ll just come right out and admit it. Sitting still like this makes my skin crawl. I get itchy and I’m always uncomfortable. I feel like I’m sliding off the seat. My neck hurts. I can’t get comfortable for more than fifteen minutes, which makes it even more difficult to fall asleep. But if the Radiohead is set at just the right volume and the guy next to me doesn’t mind that I’m fidgeting for a good thirty minutes before I settle down and the flight attendant doesn’t slam into my shoulder every fifteen minutes as she passes by, then sometimes… sometimes I can fall asleep. But not usually.

And boy am I not falling asleep tonight. It seems they’ve decided one in the morning is a good time to start a movie. They think that we want to watch Life, or Something Like It, starring Ed Burns and Angelina Jolie. I’m on a one-way flight to Hell, obviously.

Wait. The televisions, they all just turned off. The movie was only about fifteen minutes in. Could they figure out that nobody ever would want to watch this movie? Maybe they’ve decided to be merciful and let us sleep, let it be dark here on this back row where I can recline my seat and I can’t open my laptop all the way. Here in the dark where I’m trying to be quiet (if my fingers are moving to type, I’m less fidgety). I’m looking at half a screen because I don’t want to turn on my overhead light — I’d have to touch the guy next to me to do it — so I can’t read a book. I just replaced my walkman batteries and the computer’s freshly charged, so I can sit here and type in the near-dark for a good three hours or so, and then I just might be exhausted enough to sleep for an hour before we land and a very busy week begins.

Oh, they turned the movie back on. Apparently there’s no mercy for the America West passengers. Now it turns out I can’t have water since there’s no place for a glass while I’m using my computer and they don’t have bottles. How do they not have bottles? What are they containing their fluids in? They can’t have running tap water at 35,000 feet, can they?

There are many things that I don’t understand that have happened to me lately. Unfortunate things that are adding stress to my life. Like, last Saturday night, the worst thing happened. I’ve been pretty busy so I didn’t have time to log on and fire up an entry to stop you from doing this horrible thing I did, but I ran out of time. I hope I’m not too late to stop some of you.

I saw Simone. Please don’t you do it too. It’ll be the worst mistake of your life.

It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. They don’t even try. They’re not even trying to make it good. It’s laughably horrible in parts. Many parts. Just about all parts. I can’t even break it down anymore because I lack the strength stuck here in 34C with my no-water and Ed Burns acting horribly just inches from my face. But let me say that Simone is one of the worst movie-going experiences I’ve ever had. And yes I saw Blue Crush the week before. Somehow this was even worse. I didn’t even pay for it, but I wanted a refund.

I’m gonna tell you the end of Simone, as I’m trusting you’re going to follow my advice and never, ever, ever see this movie. So Al Pacino has this computer actress superstar that he was willed from a crazy scientist computer geek Elias Koteas (or however you spell “The Skinhead from Some Kind of Wonderful“) and she somehow charms the pants off of everyone in the world even though she’s about as facially dead as Charlize Theron and Catherine Keener having a Botox-off. And yes, Catherine Keener is in this movie for no reason at all other than to make Wing Chun have to site a film with Catherine Keener in it that she hates. Anyway, blah, blah, out of control, blah, blah, fame and fortune proved to be too much, unexplained breakdown, total suspension of disbelief, subplot A that means nothing, subplot B that goes nowhere and is never explained, random Winona Ryder crying scene, blah, blah, Pacino prances and hoo-wah’s through an empty soundstage in a moment reminiscent of Willem Defoe’s “Gobby” monologue where he crawls towards his mask in Spider-Man. Blah, blah, blah, Pacino visits the grave of the skinhead from Some Kind of Wonderful who has died of eye cancer (three years or something have to have passed — Simone has shot three movies and won two Oscars before Pacino’s kid has finished her summer vacation). For some reason the grave is elaborate and expensive and has a picture of the skinhead taken just days before he kicked it, so he’s wearing an eye patch in the photo that will be on his headstone for all eternity. I’m not even at the dumb part yet. So Pacino has this meltdown that involves him slamming his face into the headstone just as you point at the screen and say, “Here’s where he smacks his head repeatedly and begs Dead Skinhead to tell him what to do.”

For no real reason at all, Dead Skinhead somehow communicates from beyond that Pacino has to kill Simone. Not just throw away the disks or turn the computer off or anything reasonable like that. He has to give her a “Plague.” Not a virus. And not in some kind of attachment that appears to be from Peggy in Accounts Receivable. No. It’s called “Plague 3.0” and it comes in a gigantic floppy disk not seen since Joshua asked Matthew Broderick if he’d like to play a nice game of chess. State of the art computer has a gigantic floppy disk. One swipe of “Plague 3.0” and Simone literally disintegrates in a cloud of pixels. It’s so fucking stupid that it’s just insulting to anyone who’s ever used a computer. And computers. And floppy disks. And pixels.

But don’t worry. Apparently any ten-year old can fix a computer if she hits the “Esc” key often enough. You know, like how we fix any other “Plague” that might hit our machines.

Fucking stupid waste of time. Don’t go. Don’t.

Then other things happen that I can’t explain, like how unfunny one Jimmy Fallon video can be, and how that’s followed by a Jennifer Love Hewitt video that makes me laugh from the first line of lyrics.

There’s also the fact that I’m right now on a flight to New York City, a place i haven’t been since I was about three. I only have one memory of that trip: a giant (to me at the time) billboard advertising the Broadway show of Annie.

So I’m spending a few days in New York to see friends, family, shows, and to do some book stuff. I’m also going to be on television, something that has suddenly come up. I’m not even sure exactly when, but either Wednesday night/ Thursday morning or the next night, look for Sars and me on ABC World News Now. It’s on at a million o’ clock, your time. Set your TiVos. TiVoes?

Why are they showing a movie at this hour? Why do I always get seated near a farter? I think it might be a baby in front of me getting changed. Gross, y’all. Changing a baby right there in the seat? It’s one in the morning, fuckers. Can’t some of us even try to get some sleep? I’m so tired. I’m so tired and I’m not going to get sleep until some month that begins with the letter “J.”

Okay, I’m going to force myself to read something. Maybe that’ll tire me out and maybe that movie will only be another hour long. I can’t believe how much everybody’s up at this hour. Why isn’t everyone just asleep? Why can’t it be quiet and sleepy in here? So much moving and running around. Does everyone need a glass of water right now? Ooh, I’m cranky.

I just watched a flight attendant wake someone up for leaning too far into the aisle. They’re just going to keep waking us every time we fall asleep. What’s the point? Oh, wait… there’s the turbulence. Perfect. I’m just seconds away from sleeping like that diaper-less kid thirty-six inches away from me.

Hello, New York. I’m in Long Island. The first thing I’ve learned about New York? Penn Station isn’t in Pennsylvania. Soon we take “the train” into “the city,” and then we see “the Jeff” and “the Andi” and then we see “Hairspray.” Yay.

But first: shower. I’m nasty.

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