Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Home again

I'm baaaaccck!

My plane landed at 6:05 AM, I was home around 8:00 and in bed at 8:30.

Gone are the days when you used to fly the red eye home and there would be only 10 other people on the plane.

You used to be able to lift the arm rests up and stretch out across the seats because you would have a whole row to yourself.

Now they pack you in like sardines and you pray that your seat mates are nice because you will be spending the next 5 - 6 hours in close proximity to them.

Generally speaking, most of the people I've sat next to have been OK. There was the toddler with the poopy diaper I had to deal with once, and the very large, very hungover gentleman stuck in a window seat who still had alcohol coming through his pores who couldn't sit still, the over friendly man who talked to me almost the entire 7 hours back from Holland, the tiny Indian nun who took up more space than I could imagine - but real nightmares.

My seatmate on the way home this trip wasn't so lucky.

I had a window seat and I shared the aisle with two young women who were in their 20's.

The young lady sitting next to me in the middle seat looked a bit nervous. She was kind of fidgety and kept talking to her boyfriend/husband who was sitting in the middle seat across the aisle. We'll call her Manic Middlegirl

The woman on the aisle seat looked kind of like a young professional Type A personality. She had an assorted array of fruits in veggies chopped up in little baggies, she was reading some kind of finance magazine and she just had that kind of closed of look about her. Let's call her "Miss A".

She was getting a little annoyed with the chatter between her seat mate and her boyfriend.

Red eye flights are interesting because they don't serve food and they only come around once with a "light snack and beverage" service. At one time they didn't even show a movie during the overnight flights...they would turn off the lights and not bother you until you were close to landing.

Once you take can see people try to get settled in. They either position themselves for sleep or read, listen...but there isn't a lot of movement generally during these flights.

I prefer the window seat for two reasons: I can lean up against the side of the airplane and try to get comfortable, maybe get a little sleep and I don't have to get up and down if anyone else needs to use the lavatory.

Miss A looked like she was ready for sleep right away. She put her magazine and little snacks away, reclined her seat and closed her eyes.

Manic Middlegirl - who upon hearing that "Fools Gold" would be the feature movie for the evening yelled across the aisle to hubby/boy for $1 so she could buy earphones so that she could watch the movie.

The tension is building up between Miss A and Manic.

A glare was thrown over to Manic by Miss A as the dollar bill was passed over the aisle.

Movie starts - Miss A closes her eyes again...Manic relaxes and watches the movie.

The flight attendants pass through the cabin with their beverage service...all three of us have a glass of water and we settle back down again.

To Manic's credit...she was actually a lot more relaxed than I thought she was going to be. Once the movie started...she kind of snuggled in and just sat and watched.

Miss A - looked like she fell asleep.

45 minutes later...the flight crew came through again to see if anyone needed anything else, collect the empty cups from the previous pass through and just checked to make sure everyone was OK.

They woke up Miss A, Manic ordered a ginger ale and I asked for a bit more water.

Miss A wasn't happy.

15 minutes later...the flight crew came through again to collect trash.

As Manic passed her glass over to the flight attendant...she must have touched Miss A and woke her up again.

Miss A threw a hissy fit and went off on both Manic and the flight attendant that this was the second time she was woken up and she wasn't happy about it and she did NOT want it to happen again. Both the flight attendant and Manic apologized to Miss A.

As I passed my empty cup over the the flight attendant after this little exchange happened...poor little Manic gave me a look of complete and utter fear.

5 minutes later...Miss A turned to Manic and told her: "I'm sorry I snapped at you, but I'm really tired and it's very hard for me to sleep on planes and once I am interrupted I can't go back to sleep and it happened to me TWICE so that is why I got upset."

Manic said she was sorry again for bothering her and gave me another look of: "Oh my god...get me out of here and away from this woman please!"

For the next 3 1/2 hours...Miss A fussed and fidgeted, turned her light on and off, read through every piece of reading material she least 2 times...very noisily turned the pages...crumpled her water bottle - up...sat down...ate her little perfectly cut up fruits and veggies while Manice Middlegirl...fell sound asleep.

Manic didn't make a move until the Captain announced that we were in our final descent and should be on the ground in about 20 minutes.

I had to kind of laugh at the whole scenario and I would have felt bad for Miss A if she hadn't tried so hard to make everyone else around her as uncomfortable as she was. I know she was tired and I know she was upset...but do you have to share your pain with all of those around you?

When we landed...Miss A was up and off that plane like a bat out of hell. Huffing and puffing and clearing a path as she went.

Manic hugged her boyfriend as they met again in the aisle and I followed behind them as she told him everything that had happened.

They were both laughing and shrugging their shoulders..."what a total bitch!" Manic joked.

I had to chuckle myself. It's easier to be the observer in this situation than it is to be part of it. I came into the situation more concerned about sitting next to Manic thinking that she would be the fidgety one and that Miss A would just settle down and go to sleep.

How wrong I was!

Anyhoo - hopefully this will be the last of the long distance trips I will have to take for a while. Flying used to be kind of exciting for it's a total drag - but at least now with this trip I've qualified for "elite" status with Continental!

I don't really know what that means...but I think it's a good thing.


dive said...

Welcome home, Shazza.
Whew. Hell is other people, especially in an enclosed space.
You have my sympathy (writins as someone who commutes for seven hours a day, stuck in a metal box with a bunch of psychopaths).
Sigh …

Identity Mixed said...

That is really funny! We flew from NY to Cairo in the middle of the night. Left NYC at 11:50 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Had no clue what year it was, let alone what day or hour. And the plane was empty. Four seats to lay across and take a nice nap!

The Village Carpenter said...

Shazza, you might not like flying anymore, but I enjoy reading about your flights! : )