Taking my seat for a flight from LAX, I put my messenger bag under the chair in front of me as I’ve done a thousand times before. Perhaps not surprising, there was an intoxicated and/or crazy woman in front of me who took offense to the fact that the strap from my bag pushed out into her “personal space.”
The surprising part occurred when she proceeded to pull my bag, full of about $4,000 worth of various Apple products and other assorted electronics, through the front of her seat, lifting it back over her head and dropping it in my lap.
“There. Now keep that fucking thing away from me.”
In fifteen years of frequent flying, I’ve never seen a flight attendant speechless until that moment.
I’ve been on a steady diet of rice and wine since I got here. Things were going well until I discovered my neighborhood El Compadre has happy hour, a live mariachi band, and the World Series in Spanish.
The nanny show talent bookers would like everyone to know that they, “Like, totally don’t have a problem with dudes who have disabilities. Some of them are even, like, cute. Or sorta smart, or whatever.”
A flight from LAX to Paducah is reasonably priced. Also, I’m told by locals in Paducah to “Try the Chili’s. It’s clean.”
Driving in total gridlock on the 405 this afternoon, I thought of a moment I had on the same route, a few years ago. I was taking legendary basketball coach and all-around sage, John Wooden, to an interview we were scheduled to shoot for ESPN at UCLA. I had picked him up at his home in Encino and we talked about my hometown in Indiana, the then-current state of college basketball, and life in general the entire way there. The man oozed wisdom and could remember stats and records from high school sports dating back to the 20s.
As we sat in traffic Coach looked out at the many lanes of traffic and said, “I came to Los Angeles from Indiana in 1948. This road had only two lanes at the time and it scared me even then. I quit driving on it when it went to four lanes.”
The head of Media Relations at UCLA told me that if Coach liked me, he would invite me in when I dropped him off at home. Later, as we pulled up to his home he leaned over and said, “Wanna come in?”
The condo was like a museum of his life. The walls and every available surface covered with photos, letters, and awards. Coach Wooden’s wife, Nelly, died of cancer in 1985 yet he still kept her side of the bed as a shrine to her. Her nightgown was laid out next to photos and, on the pillow, there was a stack of letters that Coach wrote to his wife every month after her death. He was emotional, even on that day, when I asked him about her.
Coach Wooden was about 94 at the time. He died a few years later. As a kid who grew up playing basketball in a small town in Indiana, I count that experience as one of the most treasured of my career.