Returning home from a glorious trip to New York, I have the usual return-flight-dread as I board the cattle wagon Continental airways from Newark, bound for Seattle. This is the home leg of a $200 roundtrip ticket. When I booked the flight I choose the window seat 1 row from the back as it seemed the best available. Boy was I wrong.
The flight is packed, as evidenced by Continental’s aggressively offering $300 and hotel room if you’d give up your seat. However, until almost at the time for takeoff, no one has sat in front of me.
I almost never board early, but had on this trip, and I wait and watch anxiously as people sit down. Some very tall men approach, but luckily, all take other seats but the one in front of me.
When I first got to my seat, an older man is sitting in the middle seat waiting for me. He has very smelly breath, but seems fairly lucid, but also, not. He is average height and a little overweight (even for an old guy), and he has the armrest down and has instantly decided that we are the bestest of friends. He shows this friendship by moving his arm all the way over the armrest so that it is nestling into my ribcage.
He turns and asks innocently enough, “You going to Seattle?” As this is a Seattle-bound flight my nicest response is a clench-teethed, “Yes,” and an immediate glare at the heavens.
To be continued…