The TSA agent looked down at my passport picture, then up at me, then back down again.
“Wow. You look…better now,” she offered, most likely in reference to the Jew fro that no longer inhabited my head space but still remained, forever ingrained in history, in my damn passport photo.
But I was too sad to let this subtly offensive comment (read: blatantly offensive comment) offend me as I prepared for my journey back to los Estados Unidos. The film festival was over and my Woody Allen, Ryan Gosling, and dragon encounters were all in the past, mere distant and fleeting memories temporarily immortalized on account of this here blog.
As I boarded the plane, I sulked to my seat and noticed there was no TV. Was the world against me? How was I going to watch a gross amount of consecutive 30 Rock episodes whilst reciting every character’s lines and subsequently pissing off everyone around me?! Then I noticed the funny German words on the back of the seat pocket and they made me chuckle and things got better. “Schwimmeste under ihrem sitz,” it said. (Rough translation: “Swimming pool under seat. Swim at own risk. Shark attack.”)
Thankfully the first in-flight movie began soon after takeoff. But then it turned out to be Green Hornet and everyone fell asleep except the douchebag next to me with the neck pillow and eye mask who kept said neck pillow around his neck whilst roaming the cabin like a…well like a proper douchebag. Being awake while (almost) everyone was sleeping kind of reminded me of elementary school sleepovers when I was the last one to fall asleep and the first one to wake up. So, considering Green Hornet had just ended, I obviously had the flight attendant put on No We Didn’t F-ing Hear About The Morgans! so the neck pillow douchebag would surely fall asleep in a timely manner. And then he did and I drew a large penis on his forehead. Things were getting even better.
As I finally let my hair down so I could rest in peace, I began dreaming about getting off the plane in D.C. and welcoming the smell of high-speed Internet and unwarranted levels of extreme confidence, 100% American verified and certified.
A shaky landing then woke me up. I turned to my left. Neck Pillow Douchebag had his eye mask removed. As I examined him closer, he began looking—eye mask aside—very, very familiar. Kind of like Dr. Bob Hartley from The Bob Newhart Show, the dude who showed up at the end of Newhart and made for the most memorable TV series finale ever. (Did You Know? In the last episode of Newhart, audiences watched as Dr. Hartley said to his wife, “Honey, you won’t believe the dream I just had,” revealing that the entire Newhart series was actually the dream of a character from another fictional series. Brilliant.)
My heart dropped. Something wasn’t right.
It was, in fact, Bob Newhart sitting next to me, but that wasn’t the problem: He didn’t have penises on his face. And we hadn’t just landed.
We were still sitting in the runway waiting to take off.
My whole trip was a dream.
I’d pulled a Newhart on myself, making for the worst self-inflicted April Fool’s joke. Ever.
But this couldn’t be, I thought to myself. I was 100% sure I’d met Woody Allen and given him my script. And I’d definitely ridden on a dragon with Ryan Gosling and given him my Spider-Man watch! Or had I not done those things?
I opened up my backpack: My script was still there.
I looked down at my wrist: My Spider-Man watch was still there.
I looked back up in horror. The German words stared me straight in the face, and I could’ve sworn they were now laughing at me. My whole trip was a dream. Cannes hadn’t even happened yet.
As the plane took off, I sunk down in my seat, closed my eyes, and prayed harder than I’d ever prayed before (I’d never prayed before.) that Woody Allen would take the seat next to me and hand-feed me red velvet cupcakes. I could feel my face slowly regaining color, and I smiled.
It was going to be a good trip. It just had to be.