Thursday, August 18, 2005

Stow It in the Overhead Compartment.

This particular u.m. is brought to you by Frontier Airlines, my carrier on a recent trip to Colorado. One of the chief benefits of Frontier is that they have cable TV built into the seat-backs, so you can waste three hours sitting around on your ass flipping from one inane show to another like you would at home, only in this case your lazy ass is being transported hundreds of miles at the same time. Pretty cool.

I had secured a window seat (beautiful cumulus clouds and American vistas are no Bravo, but you've got to have something for commercials). The older woman on the aisle and I were already pleasantly ignoring each other when our middle-seater arrived. My new seatmate was a boy who looked to be about 12 years old, which I considered surprisingly fantastic news. First of all, it's rare that sheer chance delivers as a seatmate a person so demographically alien to me as to make small talk virtually impossible. Secondly, it's rare that sheer chance delivers to me the chance to observe what the hell a tweener boy might possibly do with himself when trapped between two people with whom he couldn't have less in common. I had one more channel to watch, and it was sitting right next to me.

As it turned out, the boy read a Calvin and Hobbes compilation, watched a lot of baseball and listened to Green Day, which means he could just have easily been a 35-year-old, regressive nerd. Occasionally, in our flipping, we both settled on Wimbledon and Popeye cartoons. I was happy to leave it at that until that moment came -- the moment of truth confronted by all window-seat lovers.

When nature calls and you're in a window seat, how long will you hold it? Most window-seaters, in my experience, might just as well blend in with the clouds just outside the window. I might avail myself of an opportunity to heed the call of nature if my seatmates oblige, but otherwise I'll just sit in full-bladdered silence, thank you. While lesser travellers might uproot the row at the first sign of discomfort, perseverance is my forte, and I consider it the price of admission for the isolation and rarefied status of the voluntary window-seater.

Finally, I saw that the aisle seat was empty and this kid wasn't going to be budging for the duration of the flight (a young male being like the Michael Jordan of bladders to this lady). So I indicated to him that I was headed out of the row. Now, this kid had been more polite than I expected all along -- he'd said 'hello' when he arrived and helped out with soda communication between me and the flight attendant -- but now, he wasn't going to give it up.

No, this boy pivoted himself about a 30-degree angle and waited for me to traverse the millimeters-wide divide. Too stunned to know what else to do, I began the journey. It started with me grabbing a seat back with force, convulsing the poor seat-occupant in front of my tweener. Whether it was the pained look on my face or the body mass coming his way, the poor child realized too late that he had erred. "Sorry," he muttered, as I gripped seats on either side of him and edged on by, looking like some obscene game of Twister being played out for all the rows behind us to see. All I could think as I passed before him was, "My ass is in front of a 12-year-old boy." I felt like a lap dancer with an illegal client: I mean, God, I don't think my most recent boyfriend had had my ass this close to his face. Thankfully I wouldn't be able to tell you whether he got anything out of it or not, but I'm guessing he did, because despite the extreme discomfort of the whole affair, he still refused to budge when I got back from the restroom and I had to go back in just the way I came. At least chat me up a little if you're going to do that, buddy.


  1. But after you returned from the bathroom a second time, you discovered the child was missing and no one on the plane remembered seeing him.

  2. Yes, I think you should start blogging again Pete. Then maybe you'll get posts like the ones here from you and Daniel Motherfucking Altiere that make life so much sweeter.


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