Universal problems.

There’s nothing that bonds two people more quickly and superficially than commiserating over shared petty problems.  For example, I was sitting in the Columbus airport today, waiting for my flight to La Guardia to board–the flight was delayed because, and only because, I have the worst airport karma ever. I said these very words to the guy sitting next to me, and because I italicized them, he listened and found them amusing.
We swapped stories about our flight misfortunes, and before long, we had struck up quite a rapport! It turned out he had also once studied abroad in Madrid, owned a terrier as a child, and hated kids! Unfortunately, I have to use the past tense when it comes to his opinions and experiences, because he promptly turned into a Candarian Demon.

Worst airport karma ever.
(46th Google image result. Guy Sitting Next to Me at the Airport deserved better.)

I’m always intimidated by people who dress up to get on planes.  Why would they do that when you can use air travel as an excuse to wear a sports bra and stretchy pants somewhere other than the gym?  I always get on a plane fully expecting to die, and if I’m going to die violently, I’d like to be comfortable when it happens.
This hot biddy is gonna die in discomfort:Even the tots brought their disco book bags:

A few minutes later, their mom took the oldest one aside and said, “The time has come,” then tried to rip her stomach out through her throat.

Luckily, we started boarding before she could finish.

The last thing I did in my hometown of Athens, Ohio was go to the local community recreation center, find the most secluded elliptical machine I could, and sweat from the stress of possibly being spotted by a former classmate.

Wait, that’s a lie.  The very last thing I did in my hometown of Athens, Ohio was get hunted by Oscar.

So the second to last thing I did in my hometown of Athens, Ohio was go to the local community recreation center, find the most secluded elliptical machine I could, and sweat from the stress of possibly being spotted by a former classmate.
But as I pedaled away on the elliptical–with much more zeal, I might add, than I usually do, in case someone was watching–I relaxed a bit.

I started thinking about the person I was in high school compared to the person I am now.  In hindsight, most of us are a little douchey in high school, and I am no exception.  I didn’t exactly keep one headphone cemented in my ear at all times and blast Blue Monday or wear a trench coat at all times, but my Douche Level was higher between the ages of fourteen and eighteen than it is now.  I made some dumb mistakes, like feeling painfully hip for loving the Garden State soundtrack.  I also drove a purple toaster (that I will love fiercely until the day we both die at the same moment, something like Thelma and Louise).



But come on, my DL has lowered considerably since high school.  I live in New York City.  I know people who have made out with minor celebrities.  I have to resist eating the world’s best bagels every day, and sometimes I succeed.
I was thinking all of this as I pedaled away on the elliptical, imagining myself as Diane Lane in the final scene of Under the Tuscan Sun: comfortable in her skin, looking positively radiant in a floral sundress, covered in ladybugs and happy about it.

I was so sold on this daydream, that as I reached for my water bottle and unscrewed the cap–ready to take a big cleansing swig, straight from that old stone well I have in the backyard of my Italian villa–I forgot all about the moving elliptical handle, which slammed into my elbow, and unleashed the wrath of Poland Spring.
I was immediately face-tsunami’ed, water soaked my shirt and shorts, the plastic rim of the bottle scraped along my gums, splashed all over my glasses (yes, I was wearing my hipster glasses to the gym) and rushed up my nose and down my throat so fast that I began violently choking.

I stopped pedaling, and realized that I was choking so violently, I was triggering my gag reflex.  I sprinted over to the nearest trashcan and dry heaved into it, dripping bloody drool from my mouth where the bottle had hit my gum.  I finish vomiting-without-the-vomit to look up and see a large man in a red Praise Him: Christ! shirt looking at me with concern.  I didn’t see any AHS grads, and bowed out as quietly as I could, still spluterring a little, like that broken sprinkler that just won’t give up.

These shoes comprise the first 20 Google image results for “bloody gums”:

This is the 21st:

This is much closer to what my mouth looked like.

Five minutes later, sitting in the front seat of my boxcar with a tissue stuck in my upper lip to stop my bleeding gum/eager ‘n busty beach woman, I exasperatedly began peeling off my soaking wet spandex.  I threw them in the back and grabbed my jean shorts.  Just as I began awkwardly shimmying them on, I looked up to see a fellow member of my graduating class standing outside my highly recognizable car, waving at me.
I’m sure he, yes he, got an eyeful of my ratty cotton undies, decorated with tiny purple elephants, that are only slightly less humiliating than these:

(This is the first Google image result for “elephant underwear.”  Why?)

I waved back and smiled as my inner Diane Lane withered and died, much like Walter Donovan in the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Walter Donovan and I are very similar.  We both have abnormally high DL Levels, him for supporting the Nazis and me for supporting Zach Braff.  He chose the wrong Jesus-cup at a pivotal moment in his life, and I was aided by a man in a Jesus t-shirt in a not-so-pivotal moment of mine.  The parallels are uncanny.

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