Flying is starting to get on my nerves lately. Don’t get me wrong, airports provide some of the best people-watching opportunities outside Las Vegas – today I saw a significantly overweight woman with green hair and a nose ring bursting out of a tank top that said “Do Epic Sh*t”, but without the asterisk; Classy! – and it does give me time to write these posts, which is nice. However, not having flown much in the past year means that all my statuses have expired, leaving me with frequently terrible seats, mostly sandwiched between people with the girth and grooming habits of cattle – and I am not talking here about your cleaner ‘Happy California Cows’, no, these are your low class, mud-covered Iowa cattle-yard cows; the kind of cows that constantly shoo flies away from their matted rumps by lazily flipping their tails, and insist on using both armrests so I’m stuck tucking my elbows tightly into my sides to keep from making awkward contact. This makes me hate middle seats even more. I actually don’t care for windows either – I hate being locked in that far from the aisle – not because I have any particular fear of flying, though if anything happens to that airplane, you can bet your backside I’m going to be the first one out the doors no matter where I’m sitting – no pretense of heroism here! I simply prefer the benefits of sitting on the aisle; such as the feeling of openness, the opportunity to have the beverage cart slammed into my shoulder a couple of times per flight, and getting whacked with every purse and carry on that ambles past during the boarding process. However, I didn’t have that luxury on my most recent flight, and as a result, I got felt up by a stranger who was NOT of the female gender! (Though perhaps he identified as a woman that day – I didn’t see which restroom he used after the flight) This left me with many questions, the most pressing being: “Where are we, Bangkok?!” There are rules in this society! Etiquette! And first and foremost among those rules is that NO ONE outside beautiful women – and occasionally family – touches Dan!
This guy apparently hadn’t gotten that memo, and the scene played out like this:
Flight #1, fade in on the innocent victim (me) in the middle seat, a large man in his mid-to-late-forties sits on the aisle to my left, sleeping – or ACTING like he’s sleeping. We haven’t said a word to each other, or even made eye contact beyond the pleasantries required to obtain the awful middle seat. I’m staring straight ahead, fuming about the indignity of being forced into a center seat when – out of nowhere – I see the guy’s hand lift off the armrest and slowly reach over towards me. Several thoughts race through my mind as I helplessly watch the situation unfold: “No way is he going to actually touch me.”, “What if he’s totally asleep and thinks he’s sitting next to his wife or something??”, “That freaking S.O.B had BETTER be asleep or I’m slugging him right into the beverage cart…”. But before I can react, his hand lands on my knee – AND STAYS THERE – violating me in a way that no amount of showering can wash away.
Me: “Uhhhhh…” looking over at him
(Dirty creep-o violator slowly opens his eyes and looks over – maybe groggily realizing what’s happening, maybe looking for permission – it’s unclear) “Oh, sorry.” (slowly removing hand)
Me: “It’s fine…a little disconcerting maybe. ‘Maybe he doesn’t like to fly??’, I thought…”
(Dirty creep-o violator chuckles and turns away, closing his eyes again as I squeeze my knees together tightly and hold my magazine violently down on top of them.)
So yeah, there’s that. And you’re also stuck breathing recycled farts for several hours, though I suppose you could make that same complaint about any seat on an airplane. You could probably also argue the possibility that I was not entirely inculpable in the creation of that situation…but I digress.
Some of you may be thinking, “Oh Dan, you’re such a drama queen – flying isn’t all bad!”, and for once, you’d be right. It turns out I was compensated for these ingratitudes on the second leg of my flight, by being sat next to a lovely blonde, who took up no armrest space, and stared intently out the window for the entire flight until the final descent, when she initiated a lovely conversation.
Not lovely enough to make up for the sexual predator (who should be on a LIST!) from the first flight, but nice just the same.
However, just to make sure we weren’t too comfortable, the pilot did come on the intercom before takeoff to announce that the crew was aware of the “Inch of standing water outside the aft lav”, and that they were “waiting for Stanley Steamer to come clean that up” before we could take off. THAT sounds sanitary! I’m sure it was just club soda, and not the result of some 5 year old who had accident while waiting for the door to fold open…at least that’s what I told myself, because I have another flight in a couple of weeks. Maybe I should look into trains?