Tuesday, September 9, 2008


This morning the little lady and I hopped on a New York-bound plane to begin our apartment-hunting adventure. But more about that later, because that actually doesn’t begin until tomorrow morning. Right now we’re lounging around in Crissy’s friend Meghan’s apartment…in silence. Why are we not talking right now, you ask?

It’s not because we were tired from getting up early. It’s not because our flight was cancelled. It’s not because we were put on a later flight, which was also delayed.

It’s because we were sitting in front of Phil.

Phil was a fire hydrant of a man in his mid-50’s with a flat-top haircut, a finely trimmed mustache, and three buttons open on his shirt. I knew his name was Phil two reasons:

The first being that almost every story he told began with, “So the guy says to me he says, Phil…”

The second being that the three-inch medallion dangling from his neck read, “Phil.”

Phil didn’t stop talking for 2.5 hours. He didn’t stop to eat. He didn’t stop to go to the bathroom. He didn’t stop to breathe. It was an all-out verbal assault on a wide-eyed, pixie of a woman sitting next to him who, by introducing herself to Phil, unwittingly entered a tank battle with a spear.

“Phil, they says to me, Phil, lemme tellya, you look great in that red hat, and I says to them I says, I tellya what, me and the wife we bought matching red hats, so it’s part of a set that we bought for a party, and I’ll tell you what, this party we went to, you woulnta believed it, you hadda be there to understand, …”

Sadly, Phil wasn’t about to leave anything to the imagination. Whether or not you had to be at that party to understand, Phil was gonna take a crack at explaining it. The woman sat in shock as Phil bounced word after pointless word off her face, periodically remembering to gasp for air like an auctioneer or a high school spread debater.

Though I’m not sure the woman wasn’t at least partially to blame for locking in a rictal smile and nodding just enough to keep the corners of his mouth frothy. “So funny,” she’d say. “Hilarious.” “Wow, that’s so neat.”

And all the while, Phil’s bugged out eyes were framed by his permanently arched eyebrows, as if to suggest that the things coming out of his mouth were shocking or awe-inspiring. Instead, it was, “You woulnta believed the way people looked at this red hat.”

Phil was in heaven, and he wasn’t about to let it go. Every story his wife wanted to murder him for repeating for the billionth time was fresh, every pointless anecdote new, every non-joke ripe for virgin ears.

Phil talked so long that he ran out of stories and began scrambling for material. He gasped and fumbled for the in-flight magazine. “Sky Mall? What’s that supposed to be? Some kinda mall up in the sky? I tellya, one time me and the wife went to the mall, lemme tellya, you woulnta believed the selection of hats they had at this mall, you just woulnta believed it…”

The second we got off that plane, we sprinted to the bathroom, wiped the blood from our ears, collected our luggage, and got right to not talking for hours. It’s been glorious.

But I gotta say, after an experience like that, I hope we know what we’ve gotten ourselves into.

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