Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Will Never Again Buy A Red Sweater

As you can tell from yesterday’s post, flying isn’t the most fun thing for Husband. Or me, when I’m flying with him. So we always approach a flight with a teensy bit of fear and trepidation and lots of good drugs to make him sleep. And this trip was no different. Things went smoothly on our connecting flight to Dallas. After, that is, they pulled two guys off the plane for “reasons unknown” to the flight attendant. We arrived on time and hoofed it to our gate two terminals away.

We were on a big plane, a 737, with two rows of three seats. It was a full flight, and we were among the last to get on.

By the way, I thought they had separated the “boarding groups” by row, because it would only make sense to allow the people on the back of the plane to get on first. But no, apparently that’s not the way it’s done, and we wiggled our way down the aisle to row 18, trying not to step on anyone.

We had the middle and window seats, which was fine with us. Husband wanted to sleep, and I was planning to read or squish him against the bulkhead and sleep.

As we approached our row, I realized there was already someone in the aisle seat. She was wearing a red sweater, and she was going to have to get up to let us in. She figured out we were headed for her row, and slowly stood and moved so we could take our seats. And as I saw her figure looming in the aisle, I knew I was in trouble.

Let’s just say Red Sweater was not a small lady. I think describing her as “pear shaped” would be the kindest way I could put her dimensions into words. I didn’t think she was one of the people you hear about having to buy two seats. Until I sat down and found out she was taking up a third of my seat.

I somehow managed to put the armrest down between us, but her thigh rolls were still brushing against my leg, pushing me into the nether regions of what little seat I had left. I thought maybe she’d realize what was up and scoot herself over. Except that there was nowhere for her to scoot. And as soon as she got the chance, she put the armrest up. Great.

Honestly, my first thought was that I hoped I didn’t have to go to the bathroom during this flight, because the logistics would be a nightmare. A nightmare, I tell you. I replayed scenes from this Seinfeld in my head where Elaine gets stuck in a similar situation. So I immediately put down my delicious hot chocolate from a nice little bistro in DFW and decided it wouldn’t be worth it.

After takeoff, Red Sweater finally got herself situated…with her purse in her lap, the tray table down (I say it was down; it was at a strange angle due to her size and purse), Kindle propped so she and everyone around her could read some Poe, and headphones on. And all the while, her bottom half seemed to be spreading even farther into the realm of my seat, thigh bulge pushing against my leg.

Did I mention this was a four hour and fifteen minute flight?

I read for a while, watching Red Sweater bob her head to her music, talk to her small, mousey husband with glasses from circa 1983 who was seated across the aisle, read, and randomly fall asleep for a few micro naps. She’d wake up and go back a page on her Kindle, because you know, when you fall asleep while reading, you need to catch up again. I tried to nap for a while. But with what had slowly become half of my own seat, there wasn’t much I could do.

And then the singing started. I never could figure out who she was listening to, but she sure was enjoying it.

It was over. There was no more rest for me. I wrote a note to Husband that said, “This lady’s going on the blog.” And then he sneakily pulled out his iPhone and took this picture, also showing me making a list on a postcard from a magazine of things I wanted to remember about the experience. Just for ya’ll. Plane PhotoThen I leaned over to get a magazine out of my purse and saw that Red Sweater had not only taken her shoes off, but her socks as well. Yes, really.

Finally, mercifully, she stowed the Kindle and headphones, put the tray table up, handed her knit rainbow-colored purse to her husband, wedged herself up out of the seat, stood unsteadily, and slowly made her way to the restroom. I wasted no time in reclaiming my entire seat, and put the armrest down. It’s amazing the freedom you feel when you get your whole seat.

Red Sweater returned all too soon and wiggled down into her seat and spilled over into mine again. But this time, I wasn’t scooting. She was going to have to deal with it. She dealt with it, alright. The millisecond I moved my elbow off the armrest, she raised it. Oh yes she did. And with her encroaching into my seat yet again, there was no way I could put it back down. Thankfully, the flight was almost over.

When we landed, she moved quicker than I thought possible. She was ready to get off that plane. And we let her go.

I was in no hurry to stand next to Red Sweater in the customs line.

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  1. Any time I need a good laugh I just head over to your blog to check out the latest post and today is no exception....I love the fact that now both you and "husband" are in cahoots together ( I must give him some credit...for a picture is worth a thousand words!). Sorry for the aweful flight but it makes for a good blog entry!

  2. I've said it before and I'll say again that if I ever for whatever reason receive a large amount of money my first purchase will be an airplane. Even if there would be absolutely no other changes to our lifestyle. I hate that in order to do what is supposed to be the most relaxing thing you can do (vacation), you have to do one of the most stressful things on this planet (fly).
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. That was FUNNY!! I was crying reading it! You are the best story teller there is.
    Thanks for the story and a great belly laugh!

  4. so sorry for you, but that's hilarious! thanks for sharing!