Well, I have been meaning to write this one for quite a while but today "Noreen made me do it."
I have known Noreen for 3 hours but her life is an open
mouth book to me. A 48-year old unnatural blonde travel agent from Bethlehem, I met her on her way to Montego Bay at around 745 this am in beautiful ABE Airport.
She sat down next to me at the world famous LA Cafe (with their great cleanliness record). It is so-called because its not a cafe nor in Los Angeles. "Vodka and orange juice", she said, "I need an eye opener."
I was working on my expense report and surfing with another laptop. Due to this I became "double-fisted George." Of course, when she asked my name, I became George.
As I got to the fifth receipt, I heard, "I'll have another." After the bartender made it she said, "I am headed to Jamaica, top it off for me!" The barkeep, fearing another 100 dB outburst, obliged by floaitng mor vodka on top. She then proceed to call a US Air ground guy over and said "how long have you worked here? I used to work here." "Six years", he said. She asked him to turn around, back toward her. Then she exclaimed, "now I know I knew you!" You can't make this stuff up.
Of course, I heard on her cell call, Noreen told a friend that she paid to upgrade to First Class all the way through to Jamaica. Having flown quite a bit this year, I too, was in first class. This should be fun; the cabin cant be big enough!
As you can see from the graphic, it was a Canadair CRJ900 with only 9 first class seats. I always try to get the "A" seat so I don't have a Noreen-mate to sit next to.
Well I guess I could've been the poor diabetic woman in 3F she invited to do shots 3-4 times before takeoff…but she was too close for comfort.
I sat down first, saw her coming, and did that long indeterminate gaze out my window onto the rainy runway.
Noreen, after sitting down, realized she had gate checked a carry-on and pleaded to have it returned to her (assumably cause it had a stash of booze). The flight attendant assured her it wouldn't fit in the overhead and it would be oh-so-safe in the hands of the USAirways baggage handling team.
I buried my head in my iPad and hoped that she would terrorize the other passengers. Come on, it was their turn. I did the 745-830AM shift! Of course, she had never seen an iPad. "Thats a strange laptop, let me see it" as she ripped it from my grasp. I told her I needed to work. Fifteen minutes and 20 questions later, she returned it to me after I showed her video that was "just like TV."
The flight attendant, not knowing her "pre-flight escapades with the vodka bottle", brought her a pre-flight vodka and orange juice prior to taxiing. Just what the doctor ordered!
Doreen was now chatting up "3F" and offering her some of her liquid refreshment even after she told her that she was a diabetic.
After we hit 10,000 feet I dove for my iPad and earbuds. "Don't ignore me George, " she says, "its your job to enterntain me for the next 90 minutes." George wasn't having any of this malarkey and continued to turn up the volume on the heaviest metal in my iTunes library. Doreen dealt with my shunning her by ordering #4!
I actually dozed off for a bit, an incredible feat of mind over matter. I awoke to her finishing #4 while #5 sat ominously on the tray table. She had a layover and another 3 hour flight.. OMG!
Thankfully, we had a tailwind and the flight was almost over.
As we went on final approach an arm-wrestling duel ensued between Noreen and the first flight attendant with #5 as the Grand Prize.
Noreen loosened her massive grip on the cup as the flight attendant assured her that there would be more drinks on her connecting flight. As the plane thumped onto to the tarmac, the rest of the alcohol thumped into Noreen's bloodstream. She was in rare form.
As the seatbelt sign came off she stood and broke into a terrific rendition of Moon River. Loud, real loud. Those in the back who were spared during the flight suddenly realized what we were dealing with up front.
As she reached into the left-hand overhead, she brushed "Mr. 2A" from behind."I am sorry," she said, I almost got a hold of your a$$, like this." With that she got a nice handful of Mr 2A's port-side butt cheek. I that wasnt bad enough she said, "I only got one!" and proceed to repeat the exercise on 2A's starboard side.
2A, obviously a veteran traveler in a Noreen-filled world said "its nice to meet you Noreen!" I never would've had the composure.
So Noreen was 1 in a million. But one of the benefits of frequent up and downs (short haul travel) is that the cast of characters changes like acts in a play. Many interesting and memorable actors in their own way, just like Noreen (not)!