Here was my inspiration:
Grey cardi? Check. Pencil-ish skirt? Check. White shirt? Yep.
Oh hold on.
Zombie Moms, represent.
What… You don’t think anyone’s going to notice, do you?
Her bobbing head softly nods my way and I can’t help but wonder if she’ll be using me as a pillow by the end of the flight.
“Ladies and …smelman..the sitbelt light is on your above yinnit.” I have no idea what the flight attendant is saying. I feel like I should.
Something is up in the row ahead across the aisle. I think they’ve taken E or Ex or whatever the kids are calling it these days. The guy keeps taking his shirt off and clenching his jaw. He’s gnawed through the top of a plastic cup until his lip is almost bloody. His girlfriend is high too. High enough not to really care, but not high enough to stop trying to mediate with the attendants.
“He’s ok.. I don’t know what’s going on with him..” But she has an irrepressible smirk on her face and is rubbing the chemical sweat off her palms into her brand new Lulu Lemons. I know they’re new because she has talked about it for the last hour. That and her breast implants, which are, even from my vantage point, pretty impressive.
“Sir you are going to have to put your shirt back on now. You’re disrupting the passengers.”
“C’mon Todd, please.. just for a while longer..c’mon Todd…” She is trying not to break into laughter.
The attendants look at each other with expressions that say “You have got to be freaking kidding me” and “Seriously” all mixed in with a dash of “There’s one on every flight..”
I have a momentary pang for them. Their deceptively crisp uniforms and sock buns; makeup pristinely done in colourful palettes, and perfume that smells like warm body and misted hairspray.
This particular smell reminds me of my friend Liz’s flat about 15 years ago. We’d always arrive at her place about an hour after she’d showered and done her hair. The heat of the hair dryer would still be radiating from the old ceramic tiles on her bathroom wall. I’d already be pleasantly buzzed from having walked through the haze of a smouldering joint in her living room; maybe from slugging back a sloppy group shot of bourbon.
Something about that smell.. the whiskey mingling with the hairspray and the heat; the high note of pot. Who knows. It was its own aromatic diffuser. We’d sit for hours in that cloud playing video games like Tekken and Zelda, occasionally breaking for the piano and show tunes; always punctuating with shots of Jack; maybe another joint if we were lucky.
“Sir. Shirt. Now.”
I snap out of Liz’s apartment and glance over at Todd in his full drug-glazed-haze. He’s standing now, drumming on the tops of two other rows of seats, grinding his teeth with a wide grin on his face.
“Yeah. Ok. Sorry. It’s just.. it’s really hot in here.”
More laughter from his girlfriend.
I shake my head and feel old.
The attendant bristles.
“Now. Or you will be detained on landing.”
“Ok. But it’s hot in here, right?” He is trying to find the hole in the shirt for his head. The attendant looks like she’s going to punch him.
I’d be down with that, I think sleepily.
The weighted roll of the food trolley adds a new dimension to negotiations.
I really want to watch the scene but feel like I shouldn’t. I make myself comfortable and plug in the headset to listen to a radio playlist I’m sure is from 1989.
Todd is saying something and trying not to laugh.
The attendant looks over her shoulder at the Trolley Guy with obvious frustration.
A man 2 rows down has decided that this is the only time he can go pee.
And just like that, 1460 km in to the trip, like a kid straining badly to stay up and see the end of the movie, I fall fast asleep.
When I wake up they’re announcing the descent.
I look around to see what I missed, but Todd is sitting demurely in his seat and not stuffed into the overhead compartment as I thought might be the case.
“You slept through the meal..did you want anything?” The attendant’s makeup is still perfect.
“No. I’m ok.” Actually, I’m dying to find out what the hell happened but don’t want to ask just in case I’m not supposed to. Really, what’s the protocol around plane drama? Are you allowed to talk about it after it’s happened? Did they taser him? Can you taser someone at 30,000 ft?
“Um.. actually.. some water would be great.”
She flitters off busily towards the front of the plane.
For the first time in hours I look to my left. Turns out I’ve been sleeping on the folds of my neighbour’s ample forearm.
“Oh I am so sorry. I am totally sorry – “
The Leaner looks me over and then snorts derisively before going back to the same page of her in-flight magazine that I could have sworn she had open at take-off. She licks her finger and noisily snaps the page over. I see a picture of fresh-water pearls and some expensive face cream before I’m handed my water like it’s a kind of baton as the attendant swoops past.
And then it’s tables and seats up, popping ears, and a rumbling roar right through my gut as we screech to a halt, 3 hours into the future.
My day is just about to begin.]]>
Social Media Activity – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
There is a social buzz that flanks the air of learning.. some kind of giddiness that all at once celebrates being away from home, meeting new people.. ahh. It’s the kind of feeling that summons the smell of fresh pencil shavings from a first day at school or the first whiff of an open package of loose-leaf paper; it’s the tingle in your gut when you don’t know if you’ll be dressed appropriately; the dryness in your mouth when you flounder to remember the name of someone you’ve been introduced to 10 times in a row.
Yep. I love conferences.
When I found out I was speaking at Social Capital Conference (#SoCapOtt), I was over the moon. Last year – the first year of the social media learnathon – was a smashing success and I couldn’t wait to be part of the atmosphere again. I just couldn’t believe that I was actually going to be speaking about something that came naturally to me, to boot.
I mean, we’ve all at various times had to speak in front of people. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. I personally love it, but I usually sweat profusely before I ‘go on’ and for the first 5 minutes awkwardly wrap my tongue around consonants and words that all of a sudden seem to be totally foreign as I try to come across super polished and together. Think Austin Powers (“Allow myself to introduce.. myself..”).
Of course usually I’m doing presentations about incredibly serious, professional, ‘grown-up’ stuff that makes me drop my voice 5 octaves and sound like Mira Sorvino in that movie with Chow Yun-Fat just so I can be taken as seriously as the subject at hand. That’s what happens when I talk about business, or strategy, or project management, or anything else where your combined life experience is on the line and makes you swallow hard and swat the word ‘expert’ away when it’s thrown at you. Gulp.
Luckily, I don’t consider myself an expert at blogging at all. I’m not a veteran. I’m not a pro.. the topic I was speaking about – Privacy – Where Do You Draw The Line - was really something I still struggle with everyday. So somehow, as I hobbled up to the front of the class I just kind of.. relaxed. I totally felt like I could have been in my PJs. And really, the fact that I had taken some pain meds for a torn hamstring may have had something to do with it, but I still want to credit the audience. It was less a presentation, and more a conversation. Their interaction and genuine interest was disarming and inspiring all at the same time.
I’m not saying I didn’t freeze up for a split second when I couldn’t get my presentation to load (a gazillion thanks to Bambi Blue), but then it hit me. I’ve been writing about my most personal, soul-baring life experiences over at YMC Trying Times, and frankly, the people in the room with me already knew.. everything.
I know generally you’re the one who’s supposed to picture your audience naked when you’re speaking. But somehow I took a great comfort in the fact that it was me baring it all up there.
Just to clarify, I was not actually naked.
I’d like to think that there would have been more people in attendance if that was the case.
Thanks so much to Lara Wellman, Karen Wilson, and the planning committee of Social Capital Conference 2012. It was an amazing experience, and I hope I get to be part of it again.
Here’s a peek at my presentation slides! (Beware. The word ‘vagina’ is in there.)
Also, take a look at my first, mobile-edited video, thanks to Anthony and Lara from Do More Video..(and Chevrolet Canada).