Monday, March 15, 2010

Sardines in a Can...

Having just flown back from Florida, a plane trip that is about 3 hours too long for a man about to hit 64, I reflect upon something that is quite funny in hindsight. With some pretty bad luck, I was destined to fly from Ft. Myers, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia in that center seat that we all dread. It's the sardine seat that leaves you with your shoulders scrunched in and your elbows at your side in hopes of not making any physical contact with the dreaded human next door.

I was assigned seat number 20E, a rather benign seat assignment until you realize that you're about to be sardined between two perfect strangers. As I approached seat 20 E, I did the usual count down, 17, 18, 19, ah, there it is and sitting in the window seat is an extremely petite woman, quietly looking out the window. A woman about 55 years old, a frequent flyer as it turned out, that had already removed her shoes for the 2 hours fight to Atlanta. I announced, Hello, I'm your new roommate, as she smiled a warm hello and then proceeded to mind her own business, which was perfect.

As I sat there in my assigned seat, I analyzed who should be my next seat mate and as young pretty girls would pass me by, I'd think, "Hmm..., she would have been perfect", not over a hundred pounds, I'll bet. Strange how certain shapes take on a whole new purpose when you're shopping for a seat mate. Next was an over sized elephant, with a drop of sweat on his brow and his clothes disheveled and his carry-on bag coming open and I prayed he'd just keep walking. He did, whew! That's when I spotted him. He was enormous and he was doing the same countdown that I did, God no!!! He was travelling with his wife and fat daughter. His teenaged daughter was bigger than me and he was like the size of a doorway! What did I do to deserve him? 17, 18, 19, here he comes.... He smiled and sat down next to me. Both my petite seat mate and I went airborne for just a second from the impact of his sitting. He was about 6' 6" and wearing shorts and a jersey shirt with his favorite player's number on it, along with his baseball cap for travelling, you know, the good one..

At some point during our flight, my teeny seat mate offered me her uneaten peanuts and I declined. Then I heard the roar come from my other side, "I'll take them", he answered. The peanuts were passed to the giant and all was quiet again. When they announced that we should prepare for landing in Atlanta, about 2 hours later, I was one happy sardine!

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