Monday, November 23, 2009

Open Letters to My Co-Passengers on Flights 127 and 157 As Well As a Few People at the Denver Airport

Dear Frontier Airlines,

This is my first time flying with you. The bold green slogan printed at the top of your jets exterior promises that you're "a whole different animal." Just wondering though, which animals are you trying to distance yourself from? Maybe a turtle? If so, I can see the rationale. No wise airline would use a slogan like "a more or less slow-paced animal" or "about the same kind of animal as your 5-year-old son's class pet." No, times are tough, and you've got to stand out. Speaking of standing out, may I make a suggestion? It would be edgy and unique to give me back my $20 checked luggage fee. Maybe in the process you could also have a little chat with the FAA about the 3 oz. liquids rule. Do you know how many bottles of conditioner I've had to throw out in the security line? It's always the expensive stuff too. One time, I cried.

Animalistically,
Rachel

***

Dear Lady Sitting Next to Me on the First Leg,

Judging by your facial expression, I feel like you're bothered by my beverage selection. I'll admit that tomato juice is an unusual choice. But hear me out. It doesn't get the credit it deserves. Most people only ever think of tomato juice when they're mixing it with vodka. Don't misunderstand me, I love a bloody mary. You can mix orange juice with vodka too, but you don't see the world abandoning it in its natural form. Give tomato juice a chance. I drink it every time I fly; I'm pretty sure the plane would crash the first time I didn't.

You Say Tomato,
Rachel

***

Dear Guy Who Ordered Jack and Coke,

Until today, when flight attendants would announce that beer, wine, and cocktails were available for purchase at 6:00 a.m., it always made me laugh a little inside. But you, sir, proved that boozing before breakfast can be done, and you showed us how to do it. And that enthusiasm! "Gimme a jack and coke, sweetheart." Kudos to you and your nonconformist attitude. Who cares what these people think? Most of them are passed out anyway, and soon you will be too, albeit for a different reason. Quick question though: If jack and coke is breakfast, what's for dinner?

Abstaining a Few More Hours,
Rachel

***

Dear Patrons of Denver International Airport's Terminal A,

Allow me to respectfully suggest that when on the moving walkway, you consider in fact walking.

Trapped,
Rachel

***

Dear Large Crowd at Panda Express,

Beef and broccoli, breakfast of champions!

Love in MSG,
Rachel

***

Dear Three Frontier Employees Who Asked I Wanted to Open a Frontier Credit Card,

No thanks, no thanks, and no thanks. We're in a recession, remember? You guys make the zealots who sell sea salts at the kiosk at Fashion Valley look passive.

Non-aggressively,
Rachel

***

Dear Two Older Guys Sitting Across from me at Terminal A,

Are either of your names Larry? You both look like Larrys. I may never know your names, but I do know that the waiting area was completely empty yet you sat yourselves right here. Maybe it was fate. Our faces are ten inches apart, and I just felt my chair faintly vibrate when you, Larry on the left, laughed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad. I mean, this is Denver, you may be concerned about hypothermia should the heat go out or something. I know that accent, Alabama? Happy Thanksgiving.

Catching Your Vibes,
Rachel

***

Dear Little Girl in Tears About to Board the Plane Alone,

Don't worry! Airplanes are fun. Once you're settled in, you'll be happy as a clam! Your mom and little brother look like they'll really miss you while you're gone. I like your pigtails, I used to wear those elastic bands with the little balls too. Nooo, don't cry. Is it your mom's full sleeve of tattoos that's scaring you? Look, this nice Frontier employee will take you to your seat. He looks like Mr. Rogers. Well, it's last call for UMs; my guess is that UM stands for unaccompanied minors. Keep walking, you're doing great. Oh no, don't turn around! Probably best you keep walking. OK, you're crying again. This is excruciating. Are we being punk'd?

Also Unaccompanied,
Rachel

***

Dear Teenage Girl Next to Me on the Denver to San Diego Flight Reading a Library Copy of Twilight:

I bet you're reading that for like the 37th time, right? Can I tell you a secret? I've never read these books or seen the movies. Any of them. I know, my cool factor just dropped below Larry King's. Please try not to notice, but I'm going to read over your shoulder so I can feel a little more connected to the rest of the world, if only for a few seconds.

"I should be tan, sporty, blonde, a cheerleader perhaps. All the things that go with living in the valley of the sun."

Yeah, vampires totally hate valleys. And suns.

Still Resisting,
Rachel

***

Dear All Addressees:

It's been a joy flying with you, studying the backs of your heads, and eavesdropping on your conversations. You make flying fun. Happy holidays!

Still a Southwest Girl,
Rachel

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dear Diary

Nothing says "introspective" like my first diary. Bound in glossy cardboard and covered in trains, I found it while cleaning out my closet the other day and had no choice but to revisit the tumultuous era that was 1990. This makes it sound like I wrote in it consistently, but I didn't. My entries are quite infrequent.

My diary had a lock, which was a major source of pride at the time. Owning anything with a lock before you've ditched training wheels made you legit. You think you can read my diary? Well, per this lock right here, think AGAIN.

I learned about these top secret keepers of inner thoughts from my way older and way cooler cousin Leah. I remember sitting in her bedroom with The Cure blasting while she scribbled with the furious angst only a 16-year-old who listens to The Cure can. I asked what she was doing and she said she was writing about her boyfriend. She had lots of boyfriends.

I was already intrigued with the concept when I saw the Punky Brewster episode about the diary. Need a reference point? Let me know, I own the entire series on DVD. Punky was my idol and if she had one of these, then I had to have one too. Christmas came around and my dreams were answered. In my stocking, alongside a Wilson Phillips' cassette tape (yes, "a" Wilson Phillips tape -- they made two) there she sat, that shiny white thing.

The first entry appears on Feb. 3, 1990 -- grammar, spelling and punctuation untouched:

Dear Diary,

Today's My Birthday
You're Pal,
Rachel!

I was obviously entrenched in serious scandal from Feb. 19th until the 24th. Each page in this diary had the printed date at the top, but all five of these are ripped out.

April 1, 1990:

Dear Diary Today is April Fools day I think that's all I have to say right now.
xxoo you're pal Rachel!

You'll notice we hadn't had the your vs. you're lesson yet.

The rest of that week included accounts of a church fish fry and a couple of playground shenanigans. Compelling stuff.

May 9th was super exciting:

Dear Diary -

Today I spent the night at Jill's house. We tried to stay up all night but we (note: I inexplicably skip one line here) couldn't. I brought jelly beans and we ate em and played in her backyard. It was fun. Well I gotta go
Love, (smiley face)
Rachel L. Williams

What this entry does not tell you is that we did make it all the way to 4:00 A.M. when Jill sat up on our sleeping bag fort, said in defeat, "it didn't work," rolled back over and re-passed out.

May 31st = pure elation:

Dear Diary,

I'm so exsided, today school's out! I'll probly do over 100 things during summer!!! I will have a lot, doble! to say tomarrow! XXOO
You're Nurvis Pal
Rachel

June 1st's blankness indicates that I didn't have anything, let alone "doble," to say. Also, why was I "Nurvis?"

It was another couple of months before I paused to make an inaugural address to the 2nd grade:

Dear Diary,

Well school starts tomarrow. My teacher is Miss Chantilis. Second grade is going to be cool! My lunch box has Punky Bruster on it! Love, Goodnight, Rachel Williams!

Life was so complicated.