you say ‘hilarious’, i say…less so. yeah, still got nothing.

Not exactly like this. But close.

I like to think it’s possible to walk outside and not make myself ridiculous on some days, and yet all evidence and Magic 8 balls point to the contrary.

I arrive at the Dayton airport last week and, because I have finished my novel on the plane and have a little time to kill before my shuttle departs, I stop in one of the book stores by the gate. This is one of the stores that carries a mix of things – magazines, t-shirts, candy, shot glasses. I don’t see anything that appeals to me on the bestsellers’ shelf, so I wheel myself out and start down the hallway toward Ground Transportation. As I’m walking out of the store I notice, distantly, an echo-ey cackling noise; sort of a high-pitched giggle, but over and over; a hilariously, insanely, spookily funny laugh. It’s not a person. It sounds vaguely canned or mechanical. Someone’s ring tone? I look over my shoulder as I walk – who knows, there are dozens of people passing me staring at the phones in their hands.

But several steps more and I still hear it. I stop, look up. Is it from the announcement speakers? I don’t know why they would be broadcasting crazy laughter, but it’s so close by! No? I keep walking… and hear it again. Where is it? I stop again. What IS that? Now I’m looking frantically in all directions. NO ONE else seems to be hearing this. I start walking. I hear the laugh. I stop. Now I am starting to doubt myself. DO I hear this? Am I having a breakdown? Is this how it starts? The Voices cackle evilly before they start to form sentences? I set my suitcase upright while I ponder the implications of insanity right on the eve of attending a humor conference. Perhaps this is the right career move after all.

But the suitcase doesn’t sit evenly, and when I look down I solve two mysteries at once. A cackling, wriggling mechanical dog, which I now vaguely recall noticing writhing around on the floor of the bookstore, has caught its tail around the wheel of my suitcase. I have been dragging this ridiculous animal down the hallway of the Dayton airport as it sways and screeches hysterically behind me. Awesome. This might be worse than going insane.

I untangle it from the wheels and pick it up, not without difficulty because it writhes back and forth and I only have one arm since I still have my shoulder bag and suitcase to carry with my other hand (sudden flashback of wrestling an armadillo named Irma several years ago…don’t ask), and start back to the store from which I accidentally shoplifted this screechy little monster. Outside the store sit a row of about 8 airline crew – pilots, flight attendants – studiously gazing at their handheld smartphones, until I pass them, and at once all 8 of them break out into giggles.

“That was hilarious!” one of them tells me with glee.

“I was going to stop you,” adds another one, “but you figured it out pretty soon.”

Thanks a lot, schmucks. Pretty soon? 30 yards! At what point were you going to intervene? “At least I’m not crazy,” is my halfhearted response. It’s lame, I know. I got nothing. I’ll just be off to baggage claim now to track down some dignity.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 3 pups in a pop-up
    Apr 27, 2012 @ 15:41:01

    That’s hysterical! You didn’t tell me about this. Or maybe you did, and I didn’t have my hearing aids in yet. Seriously? I’d have brought it to the Erma conference for giggles and shits!


  2. Trackback: apparently, i have some kind of bad airport karma. « angelaperalta

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