Posted by: jility | October 17, 2011

Don’t Diss The Black Mary

Flying at sunrise to Amsterdam

It was pitch black when we got up to get ready to leave for the airport. Why wouldn’t it be? It was three freakin o’clock in the morning! The cab was to pick us up at 4:15; plenty of time for the 6:25 flight to Amsterdam.

The hotel packed us a box breakfast consisting of a cheese sandwich, a KitKat bar, banana yogurt, juice, water, an apple and a pear. We put the apples, pears and drinks into one box and handed the rest of the non vegan things back to the concierge. It didn’t really matter as we had ordered vegan meals for the plane. RIGHT!

How the taxi driver managed to get all those suitcases into the tiny trunk is beyond me but he did it! We piled cozily into the midget car and off we went into the darkness towards the Barcelona International Airport. It was a brief ten minute drive – so far so good.

We unloaded, paid and made our way into the surprisingly crowded terminal. It was only 4:30 in the morning but it was already bustling with travelers. We had a hell of a time finding the KLM counter. Evidently, even with guidance from two different employees and signs all over the place, our brains don’t work at that ungodly hour! Finally, after a scenic tour of the airport, we figured out where to go. Boarding passes in hand, we stood in the baggage check line.

“How many?” the efficient looking older woman behind the counter asked.

“Two each,” I responded.

“Did you pay?” she asked curtly.

“No,” I said. “There was no place on the screen to pay when I checked in.”

“Well you must take this piece of paper and go around the corner to the ticket counter and pay before I can give you boarding passes.”

Off we went in search of the ticket counter. Meanwhile Bert and Ernie were waiting for us. Sir Cussalot went back and told them to go on to the gate and we would catch up later.

The line for tickets was long and SLOW! It seemed the only people there had issues with tickets and that took some time to resolve. It also appeared that most of the passengers were deaf because the agents kept repeating the same thing to them over and over and over but the passengers just looked at them blankly. This happened to more than a few! Evidently, they were as dull at this hour as we were.

Finally it was our turn. I handed her the slip of paper and my American Express card: NO LIMIT – NO HASSLE! RIGHT! It was declined! We had used it all through our cruise with no problems but now it seemed they had decided that the card might be stolen so they turned it off. The message was, “Call American Express for verification.” Of course, they wouldn’t do that so I handed her my debit card. I knew that would work. There was plenty of money in the account AND Sir C had gotten out cash the night before with no problems. RIGHT! I turned to Sir C and said, “SEE! That’s what you get for dissing the Black Mary up in Montserrat yesterday!” He laughed.

DECLINED! WTF? Our debit card has been hijacked no less than a half dozen times in the past ten years. It started when we were on a trip to South America and has continued ever since. It was stolen just this spring! Every time those assholes get it, we have to cancel the card, do a ton of paperwork and start all over with a new card. It is a royal PITA, especially, if you happen to be 5,000 miles away from home with no way to call them and tell them it really was US trying to use the card!  I looked at Sir C and said, “Never Diss the Black Mary!”

Now, I appreciate that they have our best interests in mind but we were down to one more card. Sir C, who, by design, had used up most of his Euros so he wouldn’t have to exchange them at home, tried to offer them US dollars but NOOOOOOOO! “EUROS ONLY PLEASE!” So I handed her my last card, this one IS usually maxed out, held my breath and hoped for the best. SUCCESS!!! It was on 99 Euros for Pete’s sake! So, unless we need a credit card between now and tomorrow, we are OK.

The 2 hour window until our flight was due to depart had now dwindled to about 45 minutes and we had security to pass and a gate to find. Luckily, the lines weren’t that long through security and we didn’t have to remove our shoes! We got to the gate with plenty of time to spare and boarded the plane shortly after.

We have a running joke that Jane (aka Bert) is a screaming baby magnet. Sure enough, there was a balling brat in line to board right in front of us. We looked at each other and laughed. Surely the chances of that kid being near us were slim. RIGHT!

Sure enough, the kid was right behind Bert and Ernie. We were laughing at them until we realized that we were right behind the kid! Not so funny now! Then ANOTHER kid, about 2 and not happy, showed up and sat right in front of them! Sir C roared loudly to make sure Bert and Ernie heard him making fun of them and their sad luck.

Just then, somebody showed up and said we were in their seats. Knowing better than to argue, we looked at our tickets and sure enough, we were. So, we packed up our crap and moved one row back. SUCKAS! Now THEY HAD TO DEAL WITH THE BALLING BRAT IN FRONT OF THEM!

We smugly settled into our new seats that would be home for the next two hours. Sir C had the window and I got the middle. WAHHHHHHH. I hate the middle seat! There was a very large woman in the aisle seat. She was larger than I am and that is saying something. We were going to be quite close for the ride to Amsterdam. She was very nice and at least she didn’t stink of perfume like so many on the cruise ship tours!

My hyper sense of smell is a blessing and a curse. I love the smell of flowers and lemons and eucalyptus and other pleasant odors courtesy of Mother Nature. However, I HATE the smell of perfume, or most anyway, especially the fruity kind. It makes me sick to my stomach! I don’t know why anyone wears it! On the train ride we took on Mallorca, I am not sure what was worse; the strong musty smell of the long tunnels through which we passed or the strong smell of musk on the woman in the seat behind me. I think I liked the tunnel stench better.

But I digress, as usual.

Just when we thought all would be well, a family moved into the row across from us with two young kids. One was barely a year and the other about the minimum he could be older than that. The wife was an almost attractive, tiny bleached blond with enormous store bought bosoms, dripping in diamonds and other expensive jewelry (the woman not the bosoms). She looked like Barbie with a large nose and a very short chin. Her expression was sullen or sad or hopeless. I am not sure which.

Her husband was a large, scary looking guy with extensive acne scaring on his stern face. He looked like a hit man (not that I know what hit men look like); the kind you see in all the movies. Maybe it is the same actor who plays them all and that is why they all look alike. Anyway, when he spoke, it was obvious he was Russian or some other former USSR Country. He sounded exactly like the Russian pilot in the movie 2012.

Their children were surprisingly beautiful. Both had almost white hair, cut like the early Beatles. The older one, less than two years, was screaming. I looked at Sir C and muttered something again about dissing the Black Mary.

The kid wanted his little computer to watch cartoons. Momma, holding the littler one in her arms as it suckled a pacifier, ignored him, so Daddy got his computer and started a cartoon for him. Soon he forgot about crying and quietly settled in to watch Bugs Bunny. When the flight attendant came around and made them turn it off for take-off, I expected all hell to break loose. Surprisingly, it didn’t! They explained to him that he could watch it after they were in the air, which he seemed to accept.

Momma, sat, expressionless, holding the youngest as if she were not even part of the family. It was very odd. I was fascinated and wanted to know the whole story. Perhaps she was just tired but she looked so sad and so uninvolved. It was as if she were their hostage. I mentioned this to Sir C and he responded, “Wouldn’t you be sad too if you had two screaming rug rats under two?” Yes, yes I would.

I wanted to take a photo of them but thought the hit man might pull out his revolver and shoot me. So, I waited until they were asleep, turned off my flash and snuck a photo. CRAP! It was too dark! I set it to night shot, expecting it to hold the shutter open longer and not turn the flash back on! RIGHT! I clicked the shot and the bright flash startled the hit man. I tried to get the camera away so he wouldn’t see it but he caught sight of it and glared. I looked away and set the camera on Sir C’s tray table. If there were repercussions, Sir C is bigger than I am, OK, he is NOT bigger, he is taller. WHATEVER!

The hit man closed his eyes and dozed off. I think I dodged a bullet; literally. When I looked at the photo I had stolen, it became obvious that he was watching my every move. You can see his eye is directly on me. I tried to think of something clever to say just in case. Let’s see, how about I was mesmerized by your wife’s fake tits? No, that might sound a tad rude. I KNOW I KNOW! I have never seen kids as beautiful as yours! I just HAD to take their photo! Surely he would buy that line. RIGHT!

Sometimes having a good imagination is awesome but it can also be troubling. It does keep me entertained, however.

We were nearing the end of the flight when the captain announced that there was heavy fog so we had to circle in a holding pattern until we could feel our way down to the ground. We only had an hour to get to our connecting flight and the distance between gates was huge! CRAP! The attendant kept us posted on whether we would make our connections or not. Evidently, those going to Glasgow, Helsinki and some other places like that, were screwed. Their flights had left them. We, however, were still safe she said.

It seemed like we circled for hours but, in reality it was only about 30 minutes. We had made up time in the air but lost more time to the fog. It was going to be very close. We would have to run or at least walk fast. RIGHT!

Landing in the fog

As we finally approached the ground, I thought we were still in the clouds and had a long way to go. The next second, there was the ground! the fog was so thick, we were  only about 4 feet off the tarmac before we could see it. I didn’t think they could land in fog that thick!

It took an eternity to taxi to the gate, then another freaking eternity to get off the damn plane! We gathered our crap and took off walking when we passed through the cabin door. We followed the signs on the never ending trek to find Gate E 19. We had come in to the D gates but the airport is so big, it took forever to make it to the E Gates.

First we had to stand in line to show our passports. They let us go through the First Class line because we were so late. Unfortunately, not only did they let a lot of other folks cut into line in front of us, there was a large family ahead of us and they took forever! By the time we got through the passport line, we had fifteen minutes to get to the gate, still a mile away, and go through yet ANOTHER dumb ass security check! This time the check included a body scan. I always wonder what they see when they scan people. Actually, it might be better if I didn’t know.

This security check was at the gate and they had three very tall, official men there as well as a woman guard. We must have looked frazzled because they said to calm down and go stand over there, pointing off in some obscure area. We started walking to where they had pointed when the guards started yelling at us to come back. WTF? Make up your stupid F#@K!^G MIND! Again, I looked at Sir C and just said, “BLACK MARY!” He smiled but I was starting to think there might be something to it! Perhaps, in the future, our humor should stop just short of religious irreverence.

“We are going to miss our flight!“ I protested. “No you won’t,” he said sternly in a thick Dutch accent. “They wait for you.” Then he pointed to where we were to go and wait while he and his equally suspicious colleague studied our passports and studied the words on a computer monitor. I swear we are on some kind of strip search list! Every time we enter the US, we have to go through the biggest PITA ordeal ever! We are always singled out and taken through weird lines to be scanned and searched. Ever since that time coming in from Canada when I was driving the car behind Sir C, who was in the Global Warmer and I said on the walkie talkie (trying to be funny), “We need to circumcise our reason for visiting Canada.” I always loved that Three Stooges line about “circumcising“ their watches.

Anyway, come to find out, they listen in on all the over the air talk at the border! WHO KNEW? I guess everyone but me! So, my innocent dumb ass smart mouth comment, put us on some idiotic list I guess. We must be known as “Gramma and Grampa Possible Terrorists.“ It is really quite ridiculous.

After the body scan, I then got a thorough pat down! “What’s you hurry?” the woman guard asked. “The plane will wait for you.”

“The plane might wait but the bathroom won’t! I really have to PEE!!!!” At least that got a smile out of her. I felt like we both should have smoked a cigarette after she had her way with me and I ran off to the bathroom just in the nick of time.

It turned out, there were lots of folks delayed due to the fog so the plane was a good forty minutes late taking off.

Our seats were in the 10th row. It was a bulkhead row! OMG! How did we luck out? Unfortunately, they weren’t together but one very nice young college student offered to switch with Sir C so we could sit together. Leg room AND nobody to either side of us (we had the odd middle row of seats that only contained two!), Sir C and I settled in for the ten plus hour flight to Portland.

There was a family behind us with three very young boys from about four or five down. The littlest one was about 6 months old and quiet as a church mouse. There was not so much as a whimper out of any of them! They had great parents who kept their kids happy! The middle boy, however, reminded me of me. He had to talk. It didn’t matter what he was saying as long as he could hear himself saying something. He counted. He said the alphabet. Then he sang the alphabet. Then he sang as he counted. He never stopped. His infinitely patient mother and father allowed him to be him and never once told him quiet or stop talking or anything else that would frustrate him. I tried to not let it get to me but I could see it was starting to get under Sir C’s skin. I looked at him and said, “Black Mary!” He grinned.

The flibbertigibbet quieted after a bit until he had to pee. His dad, just as patient as his very nice mom, got up, lifted him over his mom and carried him off to the bathroom. Once settled back into his seat, he was quiet for a bit then, out of the blue he said, “Mom?”

“Yes dear,” she answered.

“I looked at my penis in the bathroom and I think it grew.” he said quite proudly.

“Really?” Mom remarked.


And that was the end of that. Soon he fell proudly off to sleep.

The food cart rolled down the aisle, stopping every few rows. The woman across from us received her special vegan meal. I asked about ours but, alas, they had no record of it. She asked if we had received one on the way over. “YES!” She was baffled by the oversight. Then I realized exactly what had happened. When I tried to change our seats to first class using miles, they had cancelled our original reservation so when they finally figured out that we couldn’t upgrade after all, they had to reissue our seats but the special meal went down with the original reservation.

Whatever; airplane food sucks anyway and I had brought along those delicious corn cakes Sic C bitched about for the past 10 days! They’re not lookin so bad now are they Sir Cussalot! And THAT is what you get (or don’t get as the case may be) for dissin the Black Mary!

The Black Mary


  1. Bravo!

  2. Sorry to say but I am so sorry you are back home. I have enjoyed taking this adventure along with you.

  3. wonderful STory !!!!
    Where is the picture of the KGB ?????

  4. HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! You had ME wanting to run to the restroom. Almost pee’d in my pants :)))

  5. Glad to have you both home safe and sound – thanks for sharing your wonderful trip.

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