Make Music With The Chatter In Here

the writings of Liz Riggs, @riggser

Category: Miscellaneous

Three of The Strangest Friends I’ve Made on Planes

Airplane seats.

Being an anxious flyer and a “social” drinker, flying has left me with no other choice: Drink an airplane cocktail(s?) and make a friend. Over the past several years of panic-ridden flights, I’ve met some people that are, in fact, real, despite everything you will want to believe. Here are three of the strangest friends I’ve made on planes.

1.Troy, the guy with two (yes, two) blind parents

Troy and I met on a tiny plane during a blizzard, where we each discovered as soon as soon as we sat down that neither enjoyed flying. Great, Troy, really great. Look out the window: It’s a blizzard and we’re both going to die. No, I don’t know what de-icing the plane means, but it certainly can’t be safe.

Troy was about thirteen feet too tall for the entire plane, and he had so many questions about de-icing that we had to turn to the deer hunter in the cut off tee across the aisle, Joe, to get them answered. I quickly learned that Troy was a sophomore? Junior? Enrolled student? at a division II college in the middle of God’s forsaken land somewhere in Indiana, and that he had a tattoo that read, “Love is blind,” across the center of his chest. Naturally, I revered this tattoo choice as wholeheartedly douchey, and assumed the recipient got the tattoo in his preteens.

I asked him what the tattoo meant, and he told me that both of his parents were blind.

My baby brain exploded.

BOTH of your parents are blind? Like, they can’t see anything with their eyes? At all? Both of them? Is that even…possible? Yup. Mom was born with a degenerative eye disease and dad was in a shooting accident when he was fourteen.

The story doesn’t end there, though. Troy’s dad is since remarried, and his stepmom is also blind. I hate to say it, guys, but you’d have to see it to believe it.

2. The Disney King

On a recent flight to Orlando during which I was not visiting Disney World, I met the world’s most confused thirty year old. To save his embarrassment when he discovers the Internet and finds this article, we’ll call him Joe. Uhhhh, maybe that’s actually his name. Either way, Joe was sitting directly behind me in an aisle seat when our flight started to get unexpectedly bumpy. Naturally, I turned to the nearest stranger who was willing to make eye contact with me. Joe, who smelled horridly of B.O., caught my glance. Not because he was a looker or anything, but simply because he was looking. Joe and I launched into a conversation about music, based solely on the fact that he was listening to his Ipod and it seemed easier to talk about Metallica than to imagine myself plummeting to my untimely death.

Next thing I knew, Joe had switched seats with the person next to me. Time to buddy up! I soon found out that Joe flew back and forth to Nashville and Orlando because he was a graphic designer. I assumed he had some artistic skills or maybe was good with computers. “Nah,” he told me. What? Huh? How? Next, I come to find out that Joe visits Disney World every single weekend. That’s right, dude has season passes that he uses religiously, and clearly more often than a stick of deodorant. He told me he loves it. He goes with his dad. Every week. Rain or shine. No matter what. I should have asked if he was still single.

Also, his timeline picture on Facebook is the Magic Kingdom.

3. The Moonshine-Making, Motorcycle-Enthusiast Recovering Alcoholic

I just got an email from him a few days ago, re-extending an invitation to his farm in Middle Tennessee so we could drink moonshine and “hang out.” He was a man in, presumably, his late sixties, who noticed my teddy bear on our flight and struck up a conversation across the aisle. Apparently, he’d been a raging alcoholic in his youth, but had been sober for nearly as long as I’d been alive. Yet, he and his son like to make moonshine out on his farm. Sure, sure. That makes perfect sense.

The other incongruous detail about this older gentleman’s life? He spends most of his time motorcycling across the country. And other countries. Later this month, he’s sailing to Europe so that he can go motorcycle in Spain. Or France. Or somewhere. He’s probably ridden across more states than you’ve even heard of, and he looks like he shouldn’t even be allowed behind the wheel of a car. No offense, Nick. You’re truly wonderful.

Five Types Of People to NEVER Play Mario Kart With

Super Mario Kart

1. The Person Who Always Plays With Princess Peach

Being the sole female character in an otherwise male dominated fictional world is no small feat. Especially when you’re a princess. But Princess Peach’s coy little giggle is a horrible nuisance, and her silly little pink dress has no place on the race track. The friend that always wants to be Princess Peach is no friend of mine.

2.The Person Who Knows (AND ALWAYS MAKES) The Rainbow Road Shortcut

We get it. You couldn’t get laid as a teenager and so you learned to Rainbow Road shortcut. To be fair, we all know about it, but most of us didn’t have the time (or lack of social life) to devote to mastering the epic jump until we were in college. And by that time, nobody was playing the N64 version. So, eff off. Nobody wants to play with you.

3.The Person Who Talks About The Koopa Troopa Beach Short Cut (AND CAN’T DO IT)

Oh really? There’s a tunnel shortcut through the cave? And all you need is a mushroom for that extra boost? No shit? NO SHIT. Anyone who’s ever heard of Mario Kart knows about the Koopa Troopa Beach shortcut. It’s infamous for being easy enough to champion but just annoying enough to avoid. (Note: the same person who talks about the Koopa Troopa Beach Shortcut is probably the same person who demands to play with Princess Peach.)

4.The Person Who Suggests You Play in 50 CC Mode

What are we, blind babies?! Who the hell invited you to amateur hour? 50 CC is like bowling with bumpers. If you suggest we play in 50 CC, I will suggest you go home.

5.The Person Who Won’t Play Unless They Get To Be _________

“I’m only playing if I get to be Bowser, bitches!” shouts some wannabe Mario Kart allstar from the bowels of a dorm room. First of all, nobody else wants to be Bowser, so whatever. Second of all, somebody else is going to take Bowser now that you’ve presented this wonderful ultimatum. Perhaps I’d like to be Bowser this time; maybe I’d enjoy a jaunt with a giant spiky shell encompassing my body. Ah, an impasse.

(In order to remain transparent to my loyal fans and readers, it should be noted that I am, of course, almost all of the aforementioned people. Except I would never play with Princess Peach.)

7 Signs I Need to Cancel The Date Before The Date


1. He invites you to the suburbs.

Whoa.  What self-respecting 25 year old lives in the suburbs? Are we going to an Applebees?  Do I have to drive on the Interstate to get there?  Um. Not happening. I’m not driving my cousin to soccer practice, and I don’t have a MyPanera card.  (Well, I do, but every time they ask I say no because it’s attached to my car keys and that means I would have to take them out of the ignition in the drive-thru to use it.)

2. There’s an instinctive fear that he might show up wearing cargo shorts.

Since I met him through a friend of a friend of a friend and I don’t know his last name and he played on our 20-something dodgeball team one weekend, I didn’t really get a grasp on his style.  But I could kind of see his nipples through his shirt during that one game, and when we went to the bar afterwards it looked like he had product in his hair.  If he shows up wearing cargo shorts, I’ll have to pretend like someone just died and leave.  Or worse, what if he’s wearing breakaways? Or, the pants that zip off below the knees and turn into shorts but ALSO have cargo pockets?  This nightmare is getting worse.

3. He calls the day before to confirm “plans.”

Kickback.  I barely even realized we had plans.  I thought we were maybe going to get a drink.  And if that fell through, I’d just drink by myself.  In the city.  At a local place.  Not the back bar at Max and Erma’s (Do they even have a back bar?) So, when he calls at 4 pm on Tuesday to confirm your “dinner and drink plans” on Wednesday, you know you’re in too deep.

4. He suggests mini golf as an appropriate first date activity.

I’m not Tiger Woods and I’m not 8.  I don’t want to go to a putt-putt course.  He says he thinks you can bring booze?  Well, that’s simply not true because if there were an activity in this town that wasn’t bar-hopping and you could BYOB, I’d know about it.

5. He asks you to pick him up.

No Thank you.  There’s only a couple of reasons for this, and they’re all red flags.  He doesn’t have a car.  In which case, I’m not sure how I accepted this date in the first place, unless we live in Manhattan, which we don’t.  Maybe his license is suspended.  That can usually only mean he has a DUI or forgot to pay something to someone at some time, both of which are equally poor reasons for not having a valid license at age 25.  Or, he’s too embarrassed by his own car, which means you should be embarrassed of him.

6. He calls you “hun” in a text message.

No explanation needed.

7. You suggest a popular spot, and he’s never heard of it.

When a guy has to Yelp the restaurant you’ve suggested, there’s a very serious night-life knowledge problem.  If he says “never been, sounds good-been dying to go,” that’s one thing.  But to openly admit he has no idea that this cultural mainstay exists means he probably doesn’t realize a lot of other things exist—like regular shorts or non-chain restaurants.

What Your “Vintage” 2000’s Band T Shirt Says About You

Piano man

1. Brand New

Oh man. Have another drink and drive yourself home.  You got this t-shirt in 2004, a year after Deja Entendu was released, and approximately thirty seconds after you saw Jesse Lacey on Fuse.  You probably used to have gauged ears and your pallor is still recovering from the year you holed up in your parents basement writing an emotional poetry book for your high school girlfriend.  You’re still a little skinny these days and really dig the newest Manchester Orchestra album.

2. The Format

Your shirt probably has a rainbow on it, or some other sun-shiney color that reflects the melodies you love so much. You hate the band fun. just about as much as you love telling people you hate the band fun..  You’re not really that into music anymore, but you were “really hipster” when you were in college.  The last show you went to was when your girlfriend “dragged you” to go see The Fray, which you secretly enjoyed.

3. Bright Eyes

You’ve been crying in your bedroom for the last 8 years since you bought this t-shirt.  You think that Conor Oberst is the Messiah, and anyone who tells you that Jake Bugg is an amazing lyricist gets slapped in the face.  You’re into painting dreary pictures and trying to decide whether your feelings are justified or completely justified


You found this shirt in a drawer two years ago when you were visiting your parents’ house and decided it’d be hilarious to wear some of your little sister’s clothes.  You’re pretty into lifting weights and were a bona fide frat star in college, and this shirt shows your hilarious sense of humor and your total respect for Justin Timberlake.

5. Coldplay

You were a douche when you bought this shirt and you’re still a douche now. (But also, “Til Kingdom Come” is such a great song, dontchathink?)

6. Counting Crows

You’ve always had strong music taste with no shame for your guilty pleasures.  You recently moved to the Pacific Northwest and on Saturdays you can be found slacklining barefoot in someone’s backyard sipping on some beer we’ve never heard of.

7. Dave Matthews Band

In high school, you either played lots of sports/smoked lots of weed/got lots of blow jobs and/or all of the above.  Now, you’re a little burnt out and working a totally boring job but making more money than most of your peers. You still follow DMB as much as possible, but you only bring this shirt out for bedtime. There’s also a chance you’re a bigger douche than the Coldplay guy.

8. Death Cab For Cutie

You were the renaissance man in high school who had just enough feelings to be considered sensitive but was hot enough to get by with it.  You probably bought the shirt after hearing Seth Cohen talk about Death Cab on The O.C., but to anyone who asks: you’ve never seen the show.  You maybe do something either artistic or philanthropic, like work for a non profit, teach in the inner city, or write for Thought Catalog.

9. Guster

You bought this shirt with the left over money you had after your DMB purchase, but you wear it with much more pride.  You smoke occasionally and work two or three jobs for shit money. You don’t care though; you’re happy.

10. Modest Mouse

You were light years ahead of your peers in terms of musical taste progression, and you know Modest Mouse is still great. You’re probably a freelance photographer who won battle of the bands a few times in high school with your mediocre emo band.  You’ve moved to Brooklyn and mostly listen to The National and a slew of Daytrotter artists no one’s ever heard of.

11. Rooney

Lolz. We can’t.

12.Taking Back Sunday

You’re still mad, and it’s usually at anyone who starts raving about Brand New.  You enjoy hanging out at sports bars and talking to girls who are dumber than you.

13. Something Corporate

The shirt you own is probably idiotic looking, but you’re not afraid to wear it out and about. You have no problem doing whatever it is you feel like doing, and you secretly still follow Andrew McMahon’s career but only talk about it with your cousins. You pursue your actual dream job after you get home from the office every day, and you’ve been trying to learn “Konstantine” on piano every summer since 2002.

14. Dashboard Confessional

You have the most feelings, and you’re still trying to learn how to play an acoustic guitar so you can pretend you don’t know these songs when girls at parties start talking about how they love musicians. You probably listen to a lot of folk music now and are into keeping in shape by doing things like racquetball, parcour, or, like, rock climbing.