I write this at 30,000 feet, “lucky” enough to have grabbed a seat on a last-minute flight to Tampa to go look at another stupid horse.
You know I must be in misery to refer to a horse as stupid. But I am presently so uncomfortable that I would be second-guessing any reason to subject my pipe cleaner body to this torture again, including a necessary flight to pick up millions in lottery winnings.
It’s not this airline’s fault in particular. All airlines offer cramped seating — especially those like this one offering only one-class service. Like a comedy bit, I am in the last seat, against the bathroom wall, in the middle seat between two hulking men. I’ve not seen my arms since I sat down. The armrests have been commandeered. Seriously, I cannot sit up straight because my shoulders are being smashed on either side. I’m obliged to hunch.
And so I resemble a Praying Mantis, pecking away with one finger, elbow crushed into my rib cage. “For the love of Pete,” I am screaming inwardly, “how can a one hour flight feel as though it’s been applied to dog years?” Give me an inch of armrest, will ya, pal? I try to nudge my right elbow, now numb from loss of circulation, to claim a square inch of space. I am immediately rebuffed. No problem. You think you’re the only one who can do some “manspreading?” Watch this — with a 36-inch inseam. Ha!!
The seat directly in front of me has an infant, and clearly surmising what lies ahead for him in adulthood he’s just begun to wail. Oops, my bad, I mean scream. And he’s just lost his lunch all over his daddy’s shoulder.
If he smokes, I’ve hit the trifecta.
There are two nuns to my right. Completely at ease, flipping through an in-flight magazine. Inch by inch I crane my head to glance at the one closest to me and I see that her eyes are locked on a page featuring a lingerie ad.
The flight attendant, bless her, is pushing the trolley down the aisle, handing out drinks and snacks. She has to lean far forward to make eye contact with me in this middle seat.
“Would you like pretzels?” she asks, holding a tiny crinkling bag aloft as if she wants me to leap up like a Jack Russell and seize it from her hand.
“No thanks, I already am one,” I reply. She doesn’t smile. Neither do I.
Lord, have mercy, 40 minutes to go. Pray for me, I beg silently of the nuns, pray me out of this purgatory. I’ll be good—I promise I’m not going to create an instance of air rage. Yet.
Her gaze remains fixed on the lingerie ad.