A JetBlue Beef

11 Jun

It is two Wednesdays ago. The hour is 9pm.

I’m sitting comfortably in the middle seat of an airplane, swaddled in the travel blanket my mom bought be for Christmas and blinded by the eye mask I wear on airplanes so people mistake me for a mysterious celebrity or an extremely successful businesswoman for whom a five hour plane ride is basically a trip to the spa.

(I’m sure all extremely successful businesswomen opt for eye masks and middle seats instead of business class. Who needs the perks of business class – where they probably feed you seedless grapes and let you walk around without pants – when you can have the gentle scratch of polyester against your eyelids?)

I’m also wearing my Beats headphones, so all I can hear is the dull roar of “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” from Hairspray…the John Travolta version, of course.

Actually, strike the “comfortable” part from the record. I’m really not that comfortable. Our flight is three hours delayed and my mouth tastes like a potent cocktail of gin and tonic and mystery cheese.

That’s what I get for spontaneously purchasing the “Beef Up” JetBlue boxed meal special, complete with an assortment of cheeses and packaged salami.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 6.39.14 PM


It didn’t even taste good while I was eating it! I’m pretty sure the “herbs” in the “herb infused” spreadable cheese were just specks of dust. (It’s like my mom always says: if it doesn’t look herb infused, and it doesn’t taste herb-infused, then it’s probably just dust…she’s also always telling me something about paying my credit card bills on time, but I have a selective, cheese-oriented memory.)

If this is what body builders eat to get “like, super ripped, man,” then I guess I’m just not cut out for body building.

(Yes, my food preferences are the only obstacles between me and absurdly large muscles that can dance and do other cool tricks.)

I like to think I’m not one of those people who make a habit of ordering food boxes from the airplane.

But I like to think a lot of things.

Anyway, things are going moderately well for me…given all the givens.

The only thing that’s really bothersome is the smell of onions that keeps wafting in my direction. I assume it’s coming from the man sitting to my right. He looked like he would eat onions on an airplane.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good onion. But  they are just not cut out for air travel. Sushi or hardboiled eggs are much more appropriate options.

(For a complete list of flight appropriate snacks, please check out my up-and-coming pamphlet, “What to Eat When You’re Airborne.”)

Onions aside, I’m having a mediocre flight experience.

And then…I feel it.

Something has landed on my right leg.

I try not to panic.

What could it be? I wonder.

Maybe I imagined it?

Maybe it’s a puff of air from the fan above my seat?

Maybe the chord of my Beats has shifted position?

Maybe the man next to me found my Turkish pants so intriguing that he couldn’t stop himself from poking my leg?

I’m hoping for the second option.

But, given the fact that the pressure I feel on my leg is not dissipating, I know it’s probably none of the above.

I force myself to lift my air mask and investigate, Harriet the Spy: Celebrity/Intense Business Woman Airplane Edition style.

And that’s when I see it.

A GIANT chunk of roast beef – the size of an unfortunately large birth mark and covered in some sort of creamy cheese sauce – is sitting on my leg. My poor, innocent, unexpecting, youthful, relatively short, moderately toned leg.

This. Cannot. Be. Happening.

I am really reluctant to discover the source of this unwelcome meat.

Part of me wants to just flick it off and pretend this whole scene never happened…But another part of me feels like, if I’m going to have meat on my leg, I should probably know who’s behind it…

So, I fully remove my eye mask and force myself to turn to my left.

Whoop, there it is.


This cannot be happening.

Many people don’t know this about me, but I am really sensitive when it comes to foreign objects invading my space.

Someone spits on me while talking? I smile outwardly and cry inwardly as I Google “showers near here.”

Someone sneezes on my back while I’m waiting in line to ride Space Mountain at Disneyland? You now have a free shirt, ma’am. Thanks for playing!

Someone vomits within five feet of me on a boat tour through Prague? Looks like today is the day I finally learn how to swim…

Anyway, I do not respond well to these types of situations.

And being trapped in the middle seat of a plane makes things especially dicey because there is no easy way to access the showers and washing machines in the back of the plane.

What? There aren’t SHOWERS AND WASHING MACHINES on this plane??


I try to remember the calming techniques I learned that time I went to yoga four years ago.

I slowly inhale and exhale four times.

I prepare myself to enter Downward Dog pose.

I attempt to contact my inner Chia Pet.

Or maybe it’s “chi”? That could be…

I can’t be bothered with these details. I still have beef on my leg.

I decide that my Chia Pet can suck it and I quickly flick the beef off of my leg and in the direction of its mother ship.

Beef Man doesn’t even seem to notice the suffering he’s caused me.

Just as I am building up enough courage to ask him to pay for my Turkish pants to be dry cleaned, Beef Man pulls out his four pack of Twinkies – which has dwindled down to one – and asks me if I want the last one.

Now, I may not be a seasoned member of the Twinkie Community, but I’m pretty sure that – and correct me if I’m wrong – offering someone your last Twinkie is akin to offering someone your firstborn child and a chance to meet the 1990s Leonardo DiCaprio on a secluded island resort.

Although I refuse the Twinkie, I feel touched by Beef Man’s offering. So touched, that I momentarily forget that the beef is now festering next to my foot, which is wearing an open toed flip flop.

I consider faking childbirth so the plane is forced to land early.

But that seems a little too drastic…

“Hey, is that Twinkie still up for grabs?”

Because if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well eat a Twinkie.








4 Responses to “A JetBlue Beef”

  1. lameadventures June 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    I don’t eat onions, roast beef sandwiches or Twinkies anywhere, but common sense, which seems painfully uncommon to your chowing dunderhead seatmate, screams to at least have the brain cells to hold the onions – especially while traveling on what sounds like a cross-country flight. Which is exactly what I’m doing tomorrow. On JetBlue. But I would sooner ingest a box of straight salt than one of their pre-made boxes, since I am at that age where thoughts of high blood pressure have replaced any thoughts of food porn. Back to your beef-dropping seatmate, you might want to wear something less special the next time you fly the obnoxious skies and trade in the sleep mask for nose plugs.

    • sophpearl June 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      Yes, I learned several important lessons whilst on this flight to CA, but I’d have to say a major take-away was never wear Turkish pants whilst traveling cross country. I hope you have a much better flight experience! Just remember: if anyone pulls out a roast beef sandwich with onions, knock it to the ground and blame your actions on “Restless Hand Syndrome.”

      • lameadventures June 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

        Or I can just quote my peer, John McEnroe, and say, “You can’t be serious.”

      • sophpearl June 13, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

        Perfect! Intense yet composed.

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