A Synchronicity while Revisiting ‘American Psycho’ en route to Canada (2018)
The Newark-based flight to Toronto was overwhelming delayed. And one can only spend so much time looking at a portable screen. Luckily, I brought one of my treasured objects with me — my signed copy of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
People cursed out the folks manning the gate. Called Customer Service on their smartphones to bitch. Said they “sucked.” Damned them in all kinds of uncreative, hapless customer-focused ways.
Being raised Buddhist for a portion of my life—as well as a victim of the ever-delayed New York MTA—I could not really remotely care.
With other people driving, it’s half to be expected you might be late for this or that. I was likely one of the most congenial smilers that the poor airport staff dealt with.
Me: “IDGAF. I’ll get there eventually, right?! Have a nice day! I’m gonna pour into Patrick Bateman’s psychotic adventures while I wait. Love and Light!” What I didn’t expect was I’d be seated beside a living extra from American Psycho, the novel itself!
Beside me, for the seventy-minute flight was a 30-ish something lady reading a hardback (and therefore pricey) edition of Donald J. Trump’s The Art of the Deal. She even looked like one of the women in Ellis’s text. A blonde Fox News “hardbody” (as Bateman and his cronies describe the women that are so abused throughout the Psycho text) in an appropriately designer dress.
Before we took off, she called whoever she planned on meeting in Toronto to bitch and sob about the delay. She mentioned designers, famous people, TV personalities, whined — all of whom she sounded like she just finished commiserating with from wherever she was coming from, like a milieu she wanted to be One with. Eventually.
Throughout the flight, I half hoped she would peer over to the book I was reading, and be at least moderately curious overseeing a read deal copy of the famously transgressive text American Psycho.
Yet, my fantasy did not materialize. Nevertheless, I revelled. Obviously this was the wit of the Goddess, or the Cosmic Trickster, mashing us up together. Side-by-side.
Here we were, together. Her reading her pro-Trump, me reading my Trump satire.
I read the name, the word “Trump” four or five times while engaged in American Psycho. “Where do you think Donald Trump thinks the best pizza in Manhattan is served?” A date at Trump Plaza.
On The Art of The Deal, Bateman himself says, “It’s very good.”
Our flight was terrifying. That is not a lie. Later, I would describe the flight as like riding in a lawnmower that should not have ever been able to achieve lift. Bu the goddamned plane did. I have been to Asia and Australia, and it was the first time I flew in a plane without jet engines.
Instead, it was a jostling tin can with propellers — something I didn’t realize 150 people still flew in in this year of 2018. The take off and landing was far more unnerving than any turbulence I ever gritted and sweated through before. It was a propeller-proper plane taking us from New Jersey to Toronto.
When the crew came by to offer refreshments, I asked for two beers, but was told I could only have one at a time, which was a bummer; but I was given a tall-can to my great relief.
My Tump-humping travel-partner took a wine. Desperate to say something to her, anything, just to let the universe know that indeed I had caught the wicked irony of it all, said; “You know when you fly Russian, they will give you two cups of wine at a time. And they will give you another two as soon as they see you’re wrapping up. And they refuse to take a tip.” She might have well been talking to a mannequin with a voice .
Megyn Kelly clone snorted, “You’d think they’d give you whatever you want after that shitty wait we all went through.” I grinned, not a ‘fuck you’ grin, but a genuine ‘why not?’ grin. We quietly went back into our books, tuning into our respective literary epics, sipping between plot points and rough air.
When we landed.
She was wrapping up a chapter called The Cincinnati Kid, while I wrapped a chapter a called Tries to Cook and Eat Girl, followed by the unsettling but only paragraph-long chapter, Taking an Uzi to the Gym. She jumped on her headset phone the moment. We touched terra firma, only to hear get on the wireless horn and bitch and moan again. Forever irritated. Forever hungry.
As the landing wrapped up, I needed a bookmarker. I quickly grabbed the nearest flat sheet of paper within reach, as we were all rising awkwardly to exit the tube of terror that made up the jet-less plane.
While we single-file in a molasses-slow shuffle out into the ice-chilled airport, I realized I had saved my place in American Psycho with a conspicuously blank Canadian vomit bag.
And we had landed. And parted ways. And I never looked over my shoulder to see if the Fox News maybe-one-day-famous blonde was behind me with her awful Art of the Deal.
As far as I was concerned, I had my anecdote for the ride. Instead, I met Toronto. Which was like New York — insofar as I was offered crack within hours by a homeless person, after giving him a cigarette (which would not be considered a fair exchange in any borough of NYC) — but it was remarkably cleaner. And cheaper. And subtly extraordinary.