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April 17, 2011

Neal’s Orange Juice Splash

Neal sat in economy class, in the very last row, on the left aisle, flying to South Africa. It was a long tiring trip with several connections and hours of waiting around. The extremely friendly African stewardesses made Neal fall in love over and over. He asked them unnecessary questions, grinned a lot, and probably made them roll their eyes. Eventually, he collapsed over Tanzania.

Neal snores very loudly, which normally is not a problem since he lives alone. But on board the SAA jet his snoring could be heard by all 157 passengers, the crew and the pilots. Each time he sputtered or whistled or roared through the nose, someone cracked up. It was a source of constant delight for all. People would walk to the back of the plane just to marvel at the hi-fi snoring machine. Neal, of course, knew nothing of his fame.

The small black man next to Neal practiced Zen patience; the little old lady sitting in front of him focused on her novel. When the stewardess decided it was time to serve a drink, Neal’s fellow passengers were thankful that Neal would be awakened and quieted down.

The airlines in Africa are very elegant. They serve drinks in nice wine glasses, real glass. They give you real silverware with your food (well, not real silver). Excellent fresh food, I might add. The women and men are dressed more fashionably than in Europe or North America. They seem much more pleased with their jobs too. You’d almost want to spend your life flying over the Motherland.

Neal was dreaming. In his dream, he was thirsty. He dreamed of a lovely woman offering him a drink. Ahhh.

So when the cutest stewardess on the flight, Amara, came to Neal and said, “Sir, excuse me, sir, would you like a drink, would you like to wake up? We have orange juice.” Neal confused his blissful reverie with what was happening in the eyes-open world. The passengers only knew they were grateful the noise machine was turned off.

“Would you like some orange juice, sir?”
“Sir, would you like some fresh orange juice?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, sure. Uh, what? Oh, orange juice. Yeah, my favorite.”

Amara leaned the clear glass tray with the nice tall glasses of orange juice over Neal’s lap about chest high. She was leaning forward and smiling. Neal was still half-asleep but also smiling. His brain was cob-webby, not quite connecting yet. You know, when you’re in a deep overdue traveling sleep and someone wakes you and offers you something, it’s weird, you know?

So Neal looked at the twenty tall glasses full of orange juice near his nose on the clear-glass tray, and looked at Amara, grinned, and reached up from his lap … and tried to grab a glass from under the tray! This was a violation of all the laws of physics.

Neal’s hand pushed the entire tray up and up and higher into the air over his head as he jerked his arm upwards, and the whole array of glasses and juice went flying. Flying, splashing all over Amara, all over the little old lady and her book in the seat in front, all over the guy in the seat in front of her, all over Neal and his seatmate, in the aisle, on everyone’s shoes. Glasses broke, people screamed, Neal jumped a couple feet and cried out like a girl. It was a mess; it took to Johannesburg just to clean it all up.

Neal’s mouth started saying: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to do it!”

Amara would not let Neal help to clean up or wash off the little old lady whose hair was ruined by orange juice shampoo, and she was visibly angry with him, as were all the other passengers and crew. One big African steward came back as if to beat someone up, but Neal just repeated: “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.”

Of course, in reality, it was all the stewardess’s fault for holding a glass-bottomed tray of thin-stemmed top-heavy glasses in front of the nose of a sleeping man, waking him with a jolt (from or to a sweet dream), and challenging him to grab a glass without spilling a drop, much less sending all twenty glasses flying several rows forward. Her fault. I could testify to that in court.

Happy trials, Martin

Mutt: You know, Jeffery, my first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned because I couldn't concentrate.
Jeff: Oowah. You don’t say. My first job was in a gym. I tried to make the plump ladies see the error of their weighs.
Mutt: Later, I thought of becoming a candle maker, but I wasn't sure wick end was up.
Jeff: I’m sorry to hear that. You know, doctors tell us there are over seven million people who are overweight. These, of course, are only round figures.
Mutt: You’re a mint of information, my friend. Like a boiled egg in the morning.
Jeff: Come again?
Mutt: Hard to beat.
Jeff: Can I tell you a musical story?
Mutt: For the love of Mike, YES!
Jeff: Many years ago there was a small town that had several bakeries. One of these was run by the aunts of a man named Penn. He and his aunts baked the best pies in the state. Not only that, but they were also the least expensive. Now the other bakers could make equally delicious pies, but Penn always sold more, for no one could beat ... the 'pie rates of Penn's aunts'.
Mutt: Y'know, Sullivan, that may be the worst story I’ve ever heard. No, I take that back. I’ve heard worse.
Jeff: You’ve told worse, Gilbert.
Mutt: G’night, David.
Jeff: G’night, Chet.