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Voice of Pilot: (...) I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for selecting National Airlines. We bring people together.
You /cram/ people together.
Barrett: I'm sorry. Am I crowding your? Here, I'll move my jacket.
They really pile us on top of each other ~(indicate seatbelt)~ and strap us down. If they truly wanted to "ensure our comfort," they wouldn't strap us down.
Don't they have to? For safety's sake?
Do you feel safe bound up like a prisoner? I sure as hell don't.
Planes scare me no matter what.
~(return to magazine)~
Don't worry. You're safer up here than you are down there.
Do you live in New York?
I live about an hour's drive from Manhattan. Twenty minutes if you walk.
I've only lived there for three years. I'm originally from Rhode Island.
Quite a change.
Yeah, it was. The biggest I've made.
There'll be bigger.
What's the biggest change you've made?
I used to be your age. Now I'm mine.
Are you going to Charleston for anything special?
Not special, no.
Just divorcing. My divorce hearing is tomorrow.
Your family lives in Charleston?
Just my husband. Divorcing me isn't enough. He also had to move to a different climactic region.
Don't be. We had ten happy years of marriage... which isn't bad out of twenty-five.
You were married that long?
Yeah, well, what's twenty-five years?
Me. My birthday was last month.
Well, I hope the past twenty-five years have brought you more happiness than they've brought me.
I don't know that they have.
Unless the only things you have to show for them are bills from your lawyer and a tan line on your ring finger, I'd say they have.
Are those really the only things you have? Bills and-
And in a couple of weeks I won't even have a tan line.
You don't have any children?
I didn't say that.
Oh. So you do have something.
Divorces don't allow for much neutrality. At least not in my family. Good news is, if you know anyone at Hallmark,you can tell 'em to make one less Mother's Day card this year.
~(Barrett stares sympathetically, try to ignore her as long as possible and then)~
If you want to talk about anything, I'm a great listener. I wouldn't mind at all. Really. I don't know much about divorce, but I know a lot about being alone. Would you like to talk about being alone?
Not at the moment. Maybe when we reach cruising altitude.
Well you know where to find me.
Um... excuse me-
Nothing, I'm sorry.
No, no. Did you want to talk about something?
Go ahead. I'm listening.
It's just, well, I can't help it, the mother in me wants to tell you to turn on the light while you're reading.
What did you say?
You should turn the light on. You're destroying your eyes-
No, no before that. What did you say before that?
No. Something. "The mother in me." Right?
That's what I thought. Wow.
I'm just going to seize this opportunity, ok? Because who knows when it will ever come my way again.
I don't know what you're talking about.
I'll throw out a bunch of questions and you can answer them one at a time
I literally have hundreds- /thousands/ of- Oh, I know, if an invitation says "and guest-?
I just thought you should turn your light on.
~(turn on her light)~
I know you must think I'm a weirdo, but I'm not.
So I'm just gonna grab a hold of this before it floats away. Ok?
I don't think so.
But you offered-
I didn't offer anything.
Yes you did.
No I didn't.
How many children did you say you have?
~(I shake my head)~
Daughters. How many?
My name's Marie. What's yours?
~(I don't respond)~
Ok, I'll guess.
No. That's my name too. Marie.
Is that the truth? Is it?
Barrett: That's... phenomenal. My god! Can you believe it? Maybe that's how they seat us.
Virginia: Ladies and gentlemen the pilot has just turned off the fasten seat belts sign indicating that you are free to move about the cabin.
B: It's an amazing coincidence, don't you think?
V: However, for your safety, we recommend your seat belt fastened while you are seated.
Please refer to the "Flight" magazine in the seat pocket in front of you for your selections. Thank you.
B: Marie, there's something I really need to ask you-
Look, I don't know you-
My name is Marie Barrett. I live in Brooklyn, I'm 25 years old, I'm Episcopalian. I work for a small but reputable publishing company and... um... I'm allergic to birch trees. What else do you want to know?
I shouldn't have said anything about the light.
The mother in you couldn't help it.
Marie, in twenty-four hours I have to stand in front of a judge and a bunch of other strangers and bicker with my husband about how much of an allowance he'll give me per month so at forty-nine years old, and having acquired no marketable skills, I won't have to beg anyone to give me my first job-
You've never had a job?
V: Hello, ladies. What would you like to drink today?
B: You paint? I work for a children's book publisher. I could help you find a job.
Are there any empty seats?
B: Please don't.
V: No ma'am, there are no vacancies. And as far as I can tell, that seat you got there is perfectly fine, so let's not make complaints just to hear the sound of our own voices, ok?
B: Is your name Marie?
[skipping a lot of barrett and virginia]
B: Orange juice please. Wait. No. My stomach feels a little weird. All this excitement's got it doing somersaults. Is it ok to have the acid? What does the mother in you say about that?
V: What's your call on the OJ?
Oh good god- have ginger ale.
B: Excellent. Ginger ale please.
Are they salted?
Skip the nuts.
V: And what would you like for yourself?
A Bloody Mary.
~(Virginia looks at her watch)~
Believe me, I'm entitled to it today.
B: She certainly is. Her divorce hearing is tomorrow.
V: Do you really think alcohol is an answer?
No. Alcohol is a beverage. You asked me if I wanted one and that's the one I chose.
V: Suit yourself. But remember, I do have the authority to cut you off at any time.
Don't worry, I found a designated driver to fly the plane.
V: I'm only doing my job. Four dollars, please.
I don't suppose I could start a tab?
V: That's not in keeping with our policy.
~(I pay her and she pours the ginger ale)~
When I was a little girl, and my tummy felt funny, my mother would stir up my ginger ale until all the bubbles were gone.
B: Oh yeah? Why?
V: Strangely enough, I never asked.
~(They look at me)~
I am not stirring your ginger ale.
V: Would you like me to stir it for you?
B: Yes please.
V: Whoops. There is no tomato juice on my cart. Be right back.
~(stirring the ginger ale)~
It prevents gas.
B: Thank you. ~(Beat)~ Could I ask you just one thing? Just answer this one question and then you can go back to your magazine, which I can tell you're just /pretending/ to read. Marie? Could you put that down, please? Please?
Are you working for my husband? Did he hire you to drive me mad?
~(Virginia returns, hands me the drink)~
V: You sip this slowly now, understand? Did you stir that for her?
V: Good. Lord knows I can't do it all.
B: I wouldn't bother you like this if I hadn't been waiting what feels like my whole entire life to ask someone this quest-
In approximately five minutes, this Bloody Mary will kick in, allowing me to pretend I don't have to do tomorrow what I have to do tomorrow. So if I enlighten you with some motherly advice now, you'll leave me alone for the rest of the flight, agreed? Minimal interaction only, right? Right?
B: Well, I might-
I'll sweeten the deal. Stop asking questions and the entire armrest is yours. Ok? Maternal advice. Here goes. If you ~have~ to get married, marry a lawyer... surround yourself with people you can tolerate but don't particularly like and most importantly- never, /ever/ have any children. Lovely meeting you- have a good trip.
Why shouldn't I have kids? Because I didn't have a mother of my own? Am I missing something essential that all other women have? Like some internal instruction book?
Just do what I did- read Dr. Spock and then hire a nanny.
Did your daughter inherit your sense of humor?
No, just my nervous condition.
You see? Really? What do you see? Do I have an "I've-driven-my-child-to-seek-extensive-psychotherapy" look to me? I've also driven her to an aroma therapist, a scalp masseuse, an herbalist, a dog psychologist... an astrologist... and a marriage counselor. And every godd@mn one of them tells her it's all my fault.
Even the dog psychologist?
Apparently even little Snowcake isn't immune to the tension my visits create.
You're really very funny.
Well, I'm glad you've enjoyed our little time together. Goodbye.
I have enjoyed it. That's actually what I wanted to ask you about. You see, I always hoped I could find someone... like you... who I could talk to from time to time. You know, like if I have any questions, maybe I could call you-
I'm just so tired of never knowing where to find answers. I need someone... a woman... an older woman, who I can go to when I need help-
Are you asking me to be your mother?
No. It would be more like freelancing.
Good god- don't give yourself away to a stranger.
See- you're giving me advice already- you're a natural.
You're going too far. Now leave me alone.
I don't mean to imply that I'd call you constantly, just on occasion-
I'm not listening to this.
We both live in New York. We could meet for coffee from time to time.
Your own daughter would have first dibs of course, but we could all work out a schedule I'm sure-
Not another word.
Only when it's-
/I mean it!/
I'm sorry. This isn't a good time for you.
~(finish drink, shake ice, look up and down aisle)~
I spend so much time trying to acquire family I can't imagine having to give any up. I'm sorry.
Don't be. My husband and I were happy for twenty years. And then we met.
~(she doesn't laugh)~
Would you like to talk about how your're feeling?
I'm feeling annoyed.
I mean about your divorce. Would you like to talk about that?
Yes. But to someone I've known for longer than five minutes.
Well that's unfair.
What is unfair?
Shutting me out like that. It's not my fault we're only known each other for five minutes.
You shouldn't take it personally. I don't like talking to strangers.
Because they end up asking you to be their mother.
This has happened to you before? Has it?
I was speaking figuratively.
That's a relief. You're the first person I've asked. I would be just my lick it you had like a waiting list or something.
/I'm/ the first person?
Why on earth would /I/ be the first person you've asked?
Because of what you said- "the mother in me." [...] You're who I've been searching for. You've got the right stuff.
I don't have any stuff.
Exactly. Your're alone like me. I mean, you're going to get divorced tomorrow, and do one's coming with you. It seems like... maybe... you have no one to ask. Hey- would you like me to go with you?
You don't want to be there alone, do you?
Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe next time.
I think you're looking for someone as much as I am.
Oh god, I'm in Hell, I'm in sheer Hell.
Truthfully, I don't believe for a second that you want me to stop talking to you.
Then make believe. Please.
Virginia: Now don't y'all push these too far into your ears. With the cabin pressure being as high as it is, we don't want any of your heads exploding. Just a joke.
V: You shouldn't drink that fast.
I wouldn't drink at all if you could suggest another way to get it down.
V: Sarcasm will not get you better service.
I want to change my seat.
V: One at the bar perhaps?
B: Don't change your seat. I-
V: Duty calls.
~(push call button)~
Oh, for crying out loud.
B: Please don't do that. I wasn't finished talking-
~(close my eyes, lean back)~
I'm sorry to bother you, but there are things I have to talk to someone about. [...] Or.. or about... about lumps. You know, as in what if you feel something in your body you know wasn't there before?
[...] Does a lump always mean cancer? Does it? Marie? Answer me. ANSWER ME PLEASE!
V: Is there something I can help with here?
B: Does a lump always mean cancer?
V: Ma'am, I think I'll defer to you on that one.
B: Excuse me. I feel sick.
Oh, brilliant. Is that how they teach you to handle crises in stewardess school? To defer?
V: Does she have cancer?
I don't know. She said she found a lump.
Does a lump always mean cancer?
Why is everybody asking /me/ that?
Well go on and tell her that.
I don't know who she is.
She seems to have formed an attachment to you.
Yes. However, I can't have her attached.
Look, before she comes back, I need you- I /want/ you- to change my seat.
Tell her she's alright and then we'll discuss seating arrangements.
I bought a ticket for this plane so I could get from point A to point B. That's it. As far as I know, I'm not required to adopt anyone. So move my seat, please.
That's against policy.
No it's not.
And how would you know? I don't see any wings pinned to your chest.
Don't force me to make demands-
Oh, we're threatening to make demands, are we? I guess our morning cocktail wasn't such a good idea after all, was it?
She won't leave me alone despite numerous requests-
Requests? No demands? I see, it's only airline personnel that are threatened with demands.
I apologize if I've offended you. I'm /asking/ you, politely, could I possibly change seats with someone?
What would you like me to do? Walk up to a passenger and say, "Excuse me, that woman up there is sitting next to someone who is driving her crazy. Would you mind switching seats with her?"
Surely you could find another way to phrase it.
Go tell her she's alright.
I'd prefer it if you told her.
You know, I chose this profession so I could help people on a daily basis. But all it usually entails is passing out drinks and pillows. I know that. However, you have a real opportunity here to help someone. And for that I envy you.
If you want her, you can have her. She's currently accepting applications for a mother.
Not anymore. So. What kind of arrangement did you all work out?
We didn't work out an arrangement. She's a total stranger-
But "stranger" is a relative term. Compared to say, that gentleman right there, she isn't such a stranger, is she? You know her name, where she works... her current medical situation...
She's allergic to birch trees.
See there? Seems to me the two of you could have a nice little relationship.
There's no such thing as a nice little relationship.
V: Ma'am, I'm a recent divorcee myself, and currently the amount of people exiting my life is greater than the amount of people boarding, if you know what I mean. Lucky for you if that's not your situation. Oops, she's coming back. Try talking to her. You never know-
~(Barrett comes back)~
How are you feeling, dear?
B: Fine, thank you. Could I have another pillow, please?
V: Would you like a pillow also?
Just another Bloody Mary.
V: Are you su-
V: A lump doesn't always mean cancer, you know. Does it?
V: Tell her.
Are you ok?
I'm sure there isn't anything wrong. But go to a doctor as soon as you get home. Usually, a woman your age has nothing to worry about.
Usually. The women in my family aren't really known for their longevity. So... I get scared.
Don't get so scared.
If this is bad, I won't be able to do it without... a mother.
I'm not who you want for a mother. Truth is, that's an item my own daughter is currently debating.
There's something unbelievable to me about a mother and a daughter not getting along.
It's unbelievable to me that any do. If the truth be told, you've asked me more questions in the past ten minutes than my own daughter has asked me in the past ten years. I'm not as adept at mothering as you'd think.
B: I don't care. In fact, I prefer it that way. If you've been waiting for someone to ask you for advice for the past ten years, you must have a lot of it to give. Right?
Hey, and just think, you'd be getting me at the best possible time. No teething, no toilet training... I've had all my shots.
V: Here's your /second/ drink. FYI, regulations do not permit us to serve more than three.
V: My hands are full. Would you put this behind her? Lean forward honey. So, is it settled? Are you two gonna go out and buy matching outfits?
Go away. Shoo.
V: Don't blow this.
B: You did tell me that all you have are lawyer bills and a tan line. [part about the quote] That's how you feel too, isn't it?
Well, like I said... I paint. That's my trinket.
Maybe I'll buy some watercolors.
I'm sure you have something.
Books, I guess. Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, George Eliot. Anything written by a woman, I've read. But Virginia, Willa, and George, god bless 'em, have little to say about yeast infections and monthly mood swings. I can't find my mother in a book.
So now you're looking for her on airplanes?
I'm looking for her everywhere. [part about aliens and body parts] That's why I start conversations with strangers.
I don't have a tremendous heart.
How about three fallopian tubes?
I'm sorry. This arrangement you want, it's not possible.
Is there anything that could make it possible?
Marie, I need to get through the divorce tomorrow before I can think about any... acquisitions.
I understand. Could I just ask you one more thing?
A lump can really be something else besides cancer?
Yes. It can be just a cyst. Which I'm sure it is.
What's a duvet?
It's like a giant pillowcase- for a comforter. When you want a new look.
Does it hurt to breast feed a baby?
It sort of feels like jogging without a bra.
Will I ever enjoy sex as much as the man?
Probably not. But sometimes.
It's when you boil something for a short time- to prepare it for roasting.
B: I keep getting canker sores on my gums.
VoP: Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain. We're experiencing some minor turbulence. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while we find you a smoother ride.
You probably have too much acid in your diet.
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