Monday, May 12, 2008

Air Curmudgeon

I spent the weekend in Chicago for a variety of reasons, and though none involved my upcoming wedding, many conversations with friends and family centered around the celebration and the general future. The following questions were posed by family members during the trip:

"Are you pregnant?" This, I think, was inspired by the fact that the main reason I was in town was Amanda's baby shower. Though by definition that makes Amanda pregnant. Not me.

"What is the point of getting married if you're keeping your name and not having a traditional wedding?" To which the only response is a smile and a lengthy sip of one's Bloody Mary.

"What do you want to name your kids?" What kids?

After a Mother's Day brunch involving said Bloody Marys, I passed out for an hour and then prepared to go to the airport. The 3:20pm flight was delayed, then it was delayed again, and again, and by the time we boarded the plane at 5pm and I discovered I had a middle seat, I was really ready to leave. The girl next to me tried to start a conversation, but I quickly shut her down, either with my blank stare or my chicken pesto sandwich breath. Not sure, don't care. She opened the airline magazine.

Two hours later, we found ourselves still in Chicago and being asked to deplane due to a mechanical problem with the aircraft. I handled this well, mostly because I would rather be inconvenienced on the ground than airborne in a defective plane. And another bonus of not dying in a potential plane crash, I was able to get my seat reassigned to an aisle.

I was making myself comfortable in my freedom seat on the new plane when the older woman assigned to the middle seat showed up. Her lips seemed puckered into permanent disapproval, all aimed at me. What had I done with the girl in 11D?

"They told us we couldn't switch seats," she said accusingly.

"Really. Well, I have a new boarding pass and everything," I told her, resisting the urge to wave it around as proof.

She settled in and looked at the young girl in the window seat. "Here we are again," she said amiably enough, though I could feel her staring at me, and then across the aisle at two empty seats.

"I'm going to move over there."

"You should," I said. "Be comfortable."

"I'll just ask first," she said pointedly.

The flight attendant confirmed that the seats were in fact available, and the woman began collecting her 97 small-to-midsize bags. She left a pink clutch on the seat, so I picked it up to hand it to her. She snatched it away, without a thank you, as I'm sure she thought that in addition to being a seat stealer, I was also after her collection of coins and her makeup from 1942. Because after waiting 5 hours to leave O'Hare, what I really want to do is rip off a little old lady so I can buy an airline snack pack with nickels.

*Catherine, do not take offense at this. You are, in heart and mind, much younger than this woman.

1 comment: