Wow, I never imagined I’d get such a dramatic response for a TBC post. Really, it was getting too long, and I thought, no one is going to read this if I don’t cut it into parts. Besides, my parents are in town for the weekend, and I wanted to hurry up and post something in case I didn’t have time to get back on the ‘puter later on.
Which has, in fact, been the case. The only reason I’m on now is that my parents took my kids to get ice cream, and I begged off on account of my waistline is spilling over the top of my pants. (WHEN will medium rise pants come back in style? Designers, I’m BEGGING you…)
In spite of the fact that I honestly do not need the 1300 calories in that ice cream cone, the REAL reason I stayed behind is that I wanted to get this post up before I get any more hate mail.
So where were we? Yes, I had just boarded Southwest flight 1234 with questionably reliable service to Philadelphia. And right there in the front row, in the window seat, sat my friend Kim. The seat beside her was free, and in the isle seat was a very large, overly friendly gentleman wearing a cheap black suit.
In his lap was a paper wrapper containing the second half of a large, odoriferous roast beef sandwich. He was holding the first half, and there were remnants of sandwich (mayonnaise, perhaps?) on his face. On the seat in between him and Kim sat a half-melted, drippy bowl of ice cream.
I assessed the situation, briefly considered nodding politely to Kim and pretending that I had never made her acquaintance in pursuit of a more desirable seat. But rather, I made the fateful decision to claim the ice-cream laden seat.
The gentleman looked up at me, his mouth full of food that spewed slightly as he spoke, and made some apologetic noises about the ice cream on my seat as he reached for a napkin and sloppily began to clean it up.
I laughed politely and said dryly, "Don’t worry. I have three children. I feel right at home." He thought that was uproariously funny and proceeded to laugh as if it were.
I sat down gingerly and cast a sideways glance at Kim, who was laughing silently in her haven by the window. In a loud, booming voice, my seat mate announced that he was quite glad that someone my size was seated beside him, because on the connecting flight from Austin, he had been forced to sit next to a very large man. He readily admitted his own size challenges but informed me that the other man, although a very nice man, was even larger.
I could not imagine how two large men managed to sit side-by-side in these seats. As it was, I was smushed as close as possible to Kim, trying in vain to maintain some semblance of a personal bubble.
As the remaining passengers boarded the plane and got themselves situated, my seat mate made small talk while eating his sandwich and balancing his ice cream. Food continued to spew, and he seemed to think himself quite the comedian.
I tried to act politely disinterested, and when I cast a despairing look to Kim, she whispered discreetly, "Maybe he’ll fall asleep."
"I just hope he doesn’t drool on my shoulder," was my reply. We stifled our giggles and continued to try to avoid conversation with our seat mate without appearing impolite.
Finally, we were ready to take off, and a young male flight attendant picked up the microphone and immediately launched into his spiel. But his were not the ordinary rote lines they are required to memorize at Southwest Airlines flight attendant training. This guy is a flight attendant by day and a stand-up comic by night. But I hope he never quits his day job because seriously, the ONLY thing that got me through that seemingly endless flight was him wise-cracking the whole way through.
His timing and voice inflection were perfect, and Kim and I, who were beyond tired from our action-packed trip, tried to quell our instinct to laugh ourselves into hysteria. I only wish I could remember some of his lines, but even if I could, I fear the humor would be lost in translation.
Fortunately the friendly man beside me eventually fell asleep — after he finished the remainder of the sandwich, the ice cream, a 20-ounce root beer, and two plastic tubs of mixed nuts (which he offered to Kim and me and the flight attendants repeatedly, proudly proclaiming, "This is the good stuff! Not the old stale stuff they’ll be passing out in a few minutes."), as well as reading about fifteen comic books that he bent down and took in and out of his bag one by one (each time upsetting my precarious grasp on my own personal space), AND getting up to go to the bathroom before the plane was even at cruising altitude. He was unphased when the flight attendant/comedian informed him that it was not safe to be up moving around.
I wish I could say that the rest of the flight was uneventful, but unfortunately it was not. To be continued…
(I know, you hate me now.)