I’ve come to believe that there is a God and that even he enjoys a good joke from time to time. My life seems to be the punchline.
Someone once said that to make God laugh, all you have to do is to tell him your plans. Well, I’m a bit short on plans, per se, but I am long on things like dreams. Like if someone were to ask me what the ideal way I’d like to meet the girl I’d eventually fall in love with was, I’d probably say that I want to meet her in a coffee shop. She’d be reading Steinbeck, and when I asked her how she likes it, she would respond in some far-away, sweet-scented accent that it was “a touch romantic for my liking, but lovely in the end.”
But alas, dreams are dreams because they aren’t reality. A more likely scenario is that I’ll be minding my own business in a Starbucks, when the girl reading Twilight will accidently spill coffee on me while reaching to answer her iPhone. “Sorry” she’ll say, in her Jersey accent.
This is why I suppress these futile thoughts. As best as I can. But every once in a while, I’ll let one slip, and that’s usually when God decides to uncork a timely practical joke.
It happens on long plane rides. Most of the time, I’ll just board the plane thinking about how I’m going to spend the next 8-10 hours. But on more than one occasion, my mind will drift into fantasy land and I’ll indulge myself by hoping that the far-away, sweet-scent accent Steinbeck coffee girl will be transplanted into seat 21B, next to my 21C. Then all the best laid plans of mice, men, and Christopher will be whisked away for the next 8 hours while I’m busy finishing haikus with my future wife.
I would smile at the thought. Smile until the fat, balding man stops in front of my seat, glances up at the seat number and brusquely asks if he can get through. Somewhere between the time his ass brushes my face as he passes through to the time when his elbows are digging into my rib cage, I can hear the unmistakable roar of heavenly laughter, camouflaged as it might be by the sound of the jet engine.
So as I boarded my plane to Rome yesterday, I was filled with both hope and dread when the thought returned to me. Maybe this time, she’d be a young adventure seeker traveling to Italy for the first time in her life. Maybe this time, she’d be a post-grad struggling to find a job who decided, what the hey…I’m going to use this time to travel instead
I’ve got to get lucky one of these days right? What would it be this time?
This time it was a nun. And not the cute nun who sings really well in Sister Act. It was the old nun. The headmistress. The “I’m making my annual pilgrimage to the Vatican” nun.
And to make matters worse, she was sitting in my seat…21C, an aisle seat. Everyone wants the aisle seat. But how am I supposed to tell a nun to please move to her assigned window seat? Isn’t it written in the Bible somewhere to extend every sort of comfort and courtesy to nuns?
Probably…but in this case, comfort trumped decency and in the most gentle voice I could muster (my nun voice), I informed her that she was sitting in my seat. She simply shook her head and closed her eyes. I was flabbergasted.
Not knowing what to do, I had to tell on a nun. I turned to the stewardess and showed her my ticket which clearly indicated that I had the assigned aisle seat. The two started squabbling in hand-waving Italiano. When they were done, the nun gave me a stare which either meant that she was cursing me to purgatory or forgiving me for my wretchedness.
Eventually she moved, but she wasn’t happy.
Not. One. Bit.
But I’ve got to admit it God, you got me there. That’s a pretty good one.