The following is the "Missed Connections" letter I posted on Craigslist following my trip to Chicago for my 2007 college homecoming weekend. To date, none of my fellow airplane passengers have contacted me.
Dear Passengers of the October 14th's United flight 233: I am so, so sorry for the barfing marathon I forced you all to witness Sunday morning during our 4 hour Chicago-to-Orange-County plane ride together.
I would like to particularly apologize to the nice lady to my left and the nice gentleman to my right (of course I had a middle seat), who were forced to rub shoulders with me while I chundered my brains out within minutes of getting on the plane. To the gentlemen: thank you for lending me your air-sickness bag after I quickly dispatched mine - yours would be the second of five bags I would sentence to gristly liquid death over the course of the flight. To the lady: I'm sorry for tapping you on the shoulder after my first round of violent hurling and promising you that this would "be more of an exception than a rule". The horrified look on your face told me that my reassurance was meaningless; you had already been scarred for life by having to sit 6 inches from a stranger trying to eject his stomach.
My promise to you also made me a liar, of course, as I proceeded to spent the next 4 hours throwing up more than anyone has ever thrown up in the history of commercial aviation.
I was relieved when I awoke from my first pass-out session to find you both gone; lady: I'm not sure how exactly how crawled over my lifeless carcass and into the isle to escape, but I'm really glad they had an extra seat to put you in.
I would also like to apologize to everyone within 5 rows of me who was undoubtedly traumatized by some of the most raucous yakking ever to take place over three time zones. The sound of someone vomiting their very soul out is never a pleasant noise, and I imagine it was made 10 times worse by the face that we were all crammed in a tiny metal tube together.
And then there was the smell. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for all of you: I was passed out for 95% of the flight. But for that 5% I was awake, there was an absolute cloud of foulness lingering around me. Perhaps this was because I generally had my face ear-deep into a barf bag, but I doubt even the double-thick United air-sickness sacks could have held in the evil that was pouring forth from my depths. I hope the stewardesses sprayed me with Lysol when I was asleep; I can't imagine they would have just sad idly by and let me fester. I hope that most of the time it was tolerable for you… most of the time, except for the regular 30 minute intervals where I would wake up, and you would be punched in the face by the smelly fist of fresh chuck.
To the stewardesses: thank you for the water, and the blankets, and the croissant(?), which I groggily stuffed into my backpack and found when I got home. Thank you too for the oxygen tank, which I found sitting in the seat next to me when I woke up once, leaning against me like a cylindrical steel buddy, with its tentacle-like mask strapped to my face. I'm not really sure what this was for; perhaps you thought (rightly) that I was dying, and simply wanted to make my last minutes more comfortable. I didn't even know you carried such apparatuses on an airplane, but regardless, it definitely helped push the experience to a level of comic absurdity that my friends would later laugh hysterically about.
I told you I had the flu. This, too, was a lie; the real story was much more embarrassing. You see, it was my five-year college reunion, and I'd spent all day drinking enough alcohol to kill a walrus. I promise, I'm not usually given to such licentious behavior - it was just that we'd won our homecoming game in an epic, double-over-time comeback, which was of course followed by chugging sprinting races and mandatory Caps at our old fraternity. I was doing so well - I might have even survived had it not been for the multi-hour game of Flip-Cup that started at 2am and lasted until somebody threw me in a cab for the airport with a bag of McDonald's.
The McDonalds didn't help the smell.
What's worse is that the logo of my supposedly prestigious university, (one not normally known for producing chunder-machines of the echelon I reached Sunday morning) was displayed prominently on my baseball cap, forever sullying the name of my dear alma-mater
. I hope you understand: I had to lie, or they probably would have kicked me off the plane and arrested me for being drunker than life itself. And I really needed to get back to California for a relaxing day of laying on my bathroom floor retching my guts out and wishing for death.
And so, to my patient fellow passengers and the compassionate crew: my deepest apologies. Thank you for your forgiveness, your extra barf bags, and your kind ignorance the fact that I'm the most disgusting person to ever set foot on an airplane. Should we ever fly the friend skies together again, I promise I'll give you my peanuts. They skipped me this time, so I think I have an extra bag coming.