Friday, June 22, 2007

All Alone in San Antone...Sort Of

Well, I'm all alone in San least for the next hour or so while my wife treats herself to a facial at a local spa. Figured it would be a good time to sit in Starbucks, have my morning espresso, and do this post.

I am sorry to report that I have no interesting bar stories to share...yet. Simply because I haven't been in a bar...yet. But, the weekend is just beginning.

I do, however, have a little story about my flight here a few days ago.

The wife flew in before me so she could catch up with some friends and family. I flew in alone on Wednesday. Long trip. Full trip. Tight trip. Hot trip..but not in a good way.

I can see why Southwest Airlines is one of the few making money. There wasn't a single empty seat on either leg of my flight...and that's where the story begins.

I'm lucky enough to snag an aisle seat near the front of the aircraft, which is my first choice. So far, so good. On the first leg of the trip, the people who sat next to me were average in size, so the trip was pretty comfortable. So far, so good.

On the second leg the crew announced that all seats would be occuppied. A bit of gray portending clouds on the horizon, both literally and figuratively. The woman who was sitting in the middle seat next to me on the first leg slipped over to the window seat. I jokingly remarked "Let's pray for a skinny one." She looked at me like I had a big green booger hanging out of my I guessed she either wasn't religious or she was a travel newbie.

People started boarding, and I kept a discreet but watchful eye for the point in time when passengers kind of pause to look for seats closer to the front of the plane rather than just going for the rear. My goal was to attract the attention of a no-more-than-average-sized person and offer the middle seat. So, each time such a person came near I would try to make eye contact, stretch and yawn to visibly attract their attention, etc., etc.

This failed to work, but there appeared to be a bright side. Everyone had moved past my row, and no new passengers were entering, so I thought maybe I lucked out and the middle seat would be empty. So far so good.

"That seat available?"

A woman, who had approached from the rear of the plane was standing in the aisle next to me. Apparently she had gone to the rear, found no seats, and worked her way back to the front.

I stood up and stepped into the aisle to let her get to the seat. Did I mention she was large? Yup, to say she'd weigh in at 250 would be extremely complementary. And she was only about five foot six. Think about it. Five-six, two fifty plus. Are you getting an image of short and wide? Very wide? Like in brick shithouse...very wide brick shithouse? Okay then, I'll continue.

I slip back into my seat, fasten my seat belt, continue reading my book. But I notice she's trying to get the attention of the flight attendants...probably to get one of those seat belt extensions. Then I also notice that her head is higher on her seat back than mine is, which is strange because I'm several inches taller than she is. She kept leaning forward, her head touching the back of the seat in front of her, then she'd lean back and try (unsuccessfully) to sit straight up, and then repeat the leaning, etc. I pondered this for a good three or four minutes.

Then the sound came. A little "thwoosh" sound. And a little, barely audible, sigh of relief from her. And all of a sudden her head was almost level with mine.

Now in case you're having trouble visualizing what happened, let me spell it out. She tried to squeeze into the middle seat, but she was so wide her body couldn't fit between the armrests. So, she just kind of sat there, suspended between the armrests, contorting her body until her flesh gave way to gravity and she was wedged into her seat. Wedged in so tightly that she couldn't sit up straight, so she spent the entire flight leaning forward.

Oh yeah. And her flesh also expanded sideways, up and over the armrest...and into my seat space. So I had to lean into the aisle...for two and a half hours. Oyyy, my aching back.

And then the heat came. Body heat. Sweaty body heat. Sweaty body heat you could feel all the way into the aisle. And she kept dabbing herself with a handkerchief. Her face. Her neck. And, errr, yes...her armpits.

I guess it could have been worse...she could have dropped the handkerchief on me. And, at least she helped prepare me for the heat and humidity here in Texas. :-)

Come to think of it, I probably should have joined my wife at the spa this morning to get a massage and work the kinks out of my back.

Badaboom Badabing...


kenju said...

Oh, yeah, a massage might help! I once had a flight like yours, only the fat guy was also one who didn't see the need for deodorant, so the sweat I was treated to was smelly as well.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Well, that's a new one for me. I've seen folks on flights who had to get the seat belt extension, but never seen one who had to get a gravity-assist (ass-ist?) into his/her seat.

You didn't mention your window-seat companion after the ordeal. Had she suddenly "gotten" religion? One would think so!