PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES (1987) is a comedy film starring Steve Martin and John Candy concerning the mishaps of travelling.
12/08/09 | Film

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

by Matthew Savoca

I’m in a car. Someone is driving it. There’s a suitcase in the trunk.

I’m wheeling my suitcase up a ramp. The ramp is made for suitcase wheeling. I feel stupid wheeling my suitcase on the ramp. I pick up my suitcase and carry it up the stairs.

I’m on a train. There’s an overhead luggage rack but my suitcase is on the seat next to me. A woman asks to sit down. She is old. I slide my suitcase to the floor, between my legs. It is uncomfortable.

There’s a rack up there for it, she says. She talks like a Southerner but we’re not in the South. While you put yours there, you could put mine up too, she says.

I look up at the rack and then at her. I take her bag and put it on the rack. I sit back down and put my feet on top of my suitcase. I look out the window.

I’m on a subway. My suitcase is on the floor in the middle and I’m sitting on it. The subway car starts with a jolt and I fall down. People look at me. They don’t laugh because they are New Yorkers. I hold on to the bar.

I’m on an air tram. The air tram is full of people. A man in an Army uniform walks towards my end of the tram and stands at ease. I look out the window. There are factories with factory smoke coming out of them.

I’m in a chair. Everyone around me is in a chair that looks like the one I am in. Everyone has headphones on. I can hear all of the sounds coming out of everyone’s headphones. I look out the window. There are planes lined up in a row.

I’m on one of them. The plane is on the ground and then it is in the air. I am in the air. There are other passengers and some flight attendants. Everyone thinks about crashing but they are talking about Patagonia or somewhere.

The woman next to me is Irish. She is drinking wine and alternating between telling me about Ireland and intestinal track cancer.

Snow Dogs is playing on the televisions. I look up and see Cuba Gooding Jr. on the screen. Oh, I want to watch this part, I say.

Yeah, I love this movie, she says.

I put my airline headphones on and play Mozart on the airline radio station. The woman next to me starts talking again. She is much louder now. Everyone around us looks at us. I look out the window. I see the wing of the plane and sometimes the ocean.

I am in a cab. The driver doesn’t speak my language. I point to something on a map. He starts to drive.

I am in a bed in a room. There are many other beds in this room and I don’t know any of the people in them. Someone starts to cough. Now more people are coughing. I sleep.

I am walking around. It starts raining. I don’t have an umbrella. There is a man on the street selling umbrellas for money. I give him some money and he gives me an umbrella. I open the umbrella and stand under it. When the rain stops, I buy a sandwich from a street vendor.

I do similar things for the next one to three months.

I go home.

Everyone asks me where I’ve been. I tell them I was abducted by aliens. They laugh and say, no, really, where’ve you been.

I say Europe.