In flight spectacle

While sightseeing over New Years in Paris it became obvious that I need to wear my reading glasses. Trying to navigate through the city, riding the subways, I discovered that my eyes could not focus on the small print of the subway map, especially in the dim light of the train stations. Holding the map up to my face, I was reminded of my Dad trying to read the paper in the den. All I needed was for my mother to cry out, “Angelo, open a light and put on your glasses. You’re going to go blind.”

At 43 years old, I’m starting to lose my vision.

So why don’t I wear my reading glasses? I own a pair. In fact it took forever to find the perfect ones, something different, yet classic. Something that says, here is a smart, sexy guy. I searched for months to find a pair of unique and special frames and not those stupid nerdy glasses Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher wear. No, my glasses were cool in their own way. But like many things I desperately need and spend way too much money on, I grew tired of my glasses. It didn’t take long. I don’t think I’ve owned them for a year, but wearing them always seemed like such a pain in the ass. They have to be kept in their case otherwise they’ll get destroyed. Then I had to keep them in my bag or murse, which meant that I had to carry my murse every where I went. Not that I don’t already.

At the end of my vacation, I found my glasses along with the two books I brought and never opened, sitting at the bottom of my carry on. So that it wasn’t a complete waste of time and energy to carry those books and glasses all the way to Europe, I decided that I would read for an hour on the plane while wearing my glasses. Within 30 minutes I grew tired and so I placed my glasses in my front shirt pocket and took a nap. After I awoke, I got up to use the toilet. Still groggy from my nap and several cocktails, I used the restroom and just as I leaned forward to flush the toilet, I felt something slip out of my front pocket. Before I had a chance to realize what it was, I saw my nearly new pair of way too cool reading glasses fall into the toilet and through the circular metal flap into the abyss of the airplane septic tank.

What took seconds felt like hours as the realization of what just happened sank into my consciousness. This horrifying event sobered me up pretty quickly and many things began to race in my mind. For one, how was I going to explain this to Chad? Second, how deep is an airplane septic tank anyway? And finally, who would know if I slipped my hand in there to see just how deep an airplane septic tank is?

I suppose you could say I was crazed or drunk for thinking in such a way, but you have to understand that it was the principle of the matter. All I could think about was what Chad said to me once the 4G iPhone came out and I had just fallen down and accidentally smashed my 3G iPhone. “Oh, I suppose you accidentally dropped your iPhone so that you could buy the new 4G one?”

“No,” I said. “That was the furthest thing from my mind.”

But was it? Had I just lost my pair of reading glasses because I subconsciously wanted a new pair? During our stay in Paris, I noticed how the Parisians wear the most unusual and artsy frames. Every time we went shopping I took notice of the different types of frames and even tried on several pairs. Had I just lost my old glasses so that I had an excuse to buy a new pair? Maybe. But at that very moment all I could think about was Chad. I couldn’t go back to my seat and tell him what had just happened. I knew he would roll his eyes and say something condescending like, “Yeah, right,” or “Sure, what ever you say.”

So I quickly scanned the small confines of the restroom until my eyes landed on something that made my decision very easy: a vomit bag.

You know I’ve always been intrigued by vomit bags and never had the opportunity to use one. Suddenly here was a golden opportunity. All I had to do was slip the bag over my hand and use it like a paper bag puppet to search for my glasses in that sea of poop and piss. It seemed like a stroke of genius. Now I know what your thinking, what if my hand got caught in that small circular drain? How was I going to explain this to the flight attendants. What if I couldn’t get my hand out and I had to remain in the restroom with my hand stuck in the toilet until the end of the flight at which point they would have to get an engineer or mechanic to set me free. I would certainly be detained for questioning or psychiatric evaluation, but before I had the chance to talk myself out of it, there was my hand sheathed in waxy paper digging through the muck to locate my glasses. Now you’re thinking, what if I had found those glasses? Would I have simply rinsed them off and placed them back on my face so that I could finish reading my book? Again, I hadn’t thought that far ahead. All I was thinking at that moment was that I had invested way too much money and time to find those glasses, and I was not about to lose them to some stupid, foreign toilet because of my own stupidity. Yet, after several seconds it was clear that an airplane septic tank is much larger and deeper than I had imagined. As I withdrew my hand and threw the vomit bag into the trash receptacle, I thought, you’ve really gone too far this time Frank, but at least I had a reason to go shopping for a new pair of glasses.

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4 Comments

  1. FortWorthGuy
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Try dropping your father’s borrowed cars’ key into the toilet…just as it started a major flush. Happened one day in grad school. That was a hard one to explain.

  2. Mich
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    is this the first chapter of the next david sedaris book?

  3. Posted January 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh my God, are you serious?? This is hilarious and I can’t believe you actually did that!

    You’re about 5 years behind me. I think you’ll find that a 20$ pair of Foster Grants from the variety store are good enough…

    I’m on like my 6th or 7th pair and I refuse to get a granny chain to wear around my neck. I lose them and break them every couple of months…

  4. Siddharth
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I loved this post and loved how frank you were, I dont think I would have done that but I dont own a pair of expensive glasses either, all I own are a pair of fake Vogue glasses. I hope you had a good time in Paris.


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