If I learned nothing else from my trip to L.A., I will
never leave flight arrangements to the last minute, ever again. Never, ever, ever. Because of my previous cavalier attitude toward planning ahead, I
now know what it’s like to make-out with two strange men at the same time.
Two strange, hairy, disgusting men.
At least that’s what it felt like while I was wedged
between them for six hours, in seat 6B all the way from Newark to LAX. For six hours, one of them snored, even
though he was wide-awake and the other one had the same breath as my eleventh
grade English teacher. I remember my
teacher’s breath perfectly, every molecule of it, but I never dreamed I’d have to relive it for six hours straight
with no means of escape.
When I first caught sight of my seat assignment, I
thought to myself, “I can get out of this. No one deserves this kind of torture.” And immediately I began to outline a plan that I thought was fool
proof. I put my suitcase in the
overhead storage compartment and flung my handbag onto the middle seat, neatly
avoiding eye contact with either of the hairy men. I put my hand on my throat and walked down the aisle to the
“Um…Hi. . .
Excuse me. . . I know you’re very busy but I have a terrible problem.”
“What’s your problem?” she asked, one eyebrow up. A bad sign, but I’m very good at pretending
I don’t notice deliberately suspicious facial expressions. I’m a lot like a door-to-door salesman in
“My problem is that I need to change my seat.”
“I’m sorry, but this flight is full.”
person might have left it at that.
“There’s not even one aisle seat left? Because the truth is I’m very ill.”
“I’m sorry, but every seat is taken.”
“Well, regardless, I think you should know that I’m
probably going to throw up soon.”
“Why don’t you use the bathroom then?”
“Oh, I’m not ready to throw up yet. I’m probably going to throw up in a little
while. That’s why I don’t think a
middle seat is right for me. It’s not
fair to the other passengers. I think you
should switch me with someone.”
“I’m sorry but I don’t think anyone would be willing to
give up their seat at this time. As a matter of fact, you should be seated as
well. We need to prepare for take off.”
“Don’t you think that if you explained my situation
someone might want to help me?”
“Fine,” I said. “I just hope I can hold out.
“Would you like a glass of water?”
“A glass of water? What the hell for? I can even
move my arms in that seat.”
Eventually I sat down and apologized to both men, in case
they heard me trying to get out of sitting next to them.
I settled into my seat and tried to imagine myself
somewhere else. “Pretend you’re Kim or
Jesse,” I said to myself, “And that
you’re just having a normal day at school. Pretend you just sat down in homeroom and lunch is only in four
I tried, believe me I tried, but they were both using
their armrests so I had to keep my hands under my thighs. And the more I tried to hold my breath, the
more they breathed like there was no tomorrow. It was so intimate and repulsive, I felt like crying.
I tried counting to 60, 360 times, but that never works,
so I picked up my book, opened it to page 200 and placed it over my face.
Every time the flight attendant passed by, I tried to
make a nauseated face so she wouldn’t think I was faking, but I could already
tell she was talking to her fellow attendants about me behind my back.
I don’t know how I made it until the movie, but somehow I
managed. And I was happy to see that they
were playing, “Click,” a movie I hadn’t seen! I was really enjoying it at first. I even laughed out
loud at one point, but then the flight attendant passed by so I pretended my
little chortle was the beginning of a coughing attack. As soon as she was gone, the smile returned
to my face and I even nudged the guy on my left a few times, conspiratorially,
because he was laughing too! I was
actually having fun. So much so that I
had to stop myself from linking arms with the two hairy men. Until, all of a sudden, Adam Sandler was in
the hospital. Out of nowhere! The movie became a horror show. And the son was so nice to Adam, despite his
failure to be a good father. I just
couldn’t take it. I think I might have even said, “Please Adam. You can’t die. Please don’t leave me!” out loud.
Suddenly I felt a pat on my shoulder and there was that
damn flight attendant again, with a couple of tissues.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes, I mean, no. I think I’m still sick.”
“Would you like a glass of water?” she asked me. Somehow I think she was being sarcastic
“It’s the movie,” I said, sobbing, coming clean.
“I know,” she said. “It’s very said.”
“Am I the only one crying out loud?” I asked, looking
She patted me on the shoulder and walked away. I kicked myself for not using her attention
better. I could have gotten an extra
snack or something.
By the time the movie was over, I was a total mess. Tears and God knows what else was all over
my face and I think I even peed a little, I was so emotional.
I turned to look at the guy next to me to see if he was
crying too, but then I realized he hadn’t even been watching the movie. He had an episode of “The Simpsons” playing
on his laptop. And to think I nudged
When the flight was over, I looked over at my two
husbands and wanted to say something. Anything. Maybe something
like, “Sorry for not speaking to you
for six hours” or “Call me!” But
nothing came out of my mouth. I felt
like an ungrateful houseguest but they didn’t seem to mind seeing me go.
To be continued. . .