Flight#1, STL-PHX: Late booking so not only do I not get a direct flight, I am forced into the window seat. I am a wee bit claustrophobic and don't so much sleep on the right or left side of the bed, but rather whichever side is nearer the door. I find the window seat.... unpleasant. Made worse by the exceptionally intoxicated large man sitting next to me. He stank so badly of beer I spent two hours breathing thru my shirt. And lest anyone is unclear, this was not the warm-bread-rising goodness at your local micro-brew & pub. This is 24 hour bender/hadn't showered/frat boy with dirty gym socks stank.
But, revealing a disconcerting level of vanity on my part, I noticed he only tried to flirt with the blond in the aisle seat and not me. It clearly must have been because her ability to plan ahead to buy aisle seats proved she was gifted with superior survival skills, akin to taking down the biggest bison, and not because of her pretty, pretty blond hair.
I'm still surprised they let him on the plane. He was stumbling so badly he didn't so much return to his seat after a trip to the loo, as fall into it. Yet when I got up he crawled up onto his chair like a 300# circus clown perched on the back of an elephant. I don't think it occurred to him it would've been easier to just step out. He was also wearing gym shorts and had an, ummm, wide stance. Gross. The plane was full so there was nowhere else to go but he didn't puke on me so that was good. Also good was actually getting the chance to say, "Oh, HELL NO" when he started falling onto my shoulder. I don't get the chance to say that very often.
Also good? I'd left my wallet in my bag overhead (important plot point!) & decided I didn't want a drink badly enough to climb over him to get it. The blond goddess on the aisle? 5 minutes later she got up and returned with a lovely G&T to replace my soda. Dousing myself in my own
I didn't know people like that existed. I wanted to give her a hug but I'm not really a huggy person and that would have entailed reaching over the BierMeister. What do you do? Hi! Here's my card! You have single handedly redeemed the entire human race in my eyes! Want to have lunch next week? I settled for about 30 obsequious Thank Yous and sympathetically rolled my eyes when BeirMeister tried to lean on her shoulder.
Flight#2, PHX-LAX: I am pathetically grateful for the empty middle seat but the young lady on the aisle was wearing 12" high hooker shoes which she immediately took off, curling her bare feet up on the seat between us, and then she started singing. Out loud. Later she swapped life stories with the three people on the other side of the aisle and she was in that painful period during your early 20s when you have a Philosophy and wish to Share your Great Insights on Life. None of which would have bothered me too much, since she was considerate enough to respect the universal sign of I am holding a book up 3" from my nose because I do not wish to converse with you, but her pants barely covered her lady bits and certainly didn't cover her red lace thong and so I spent an hour wondering when & how I had become the conservative old biddy in that scene. Also, she was clearly tweaking, couldn't sit still, and I was worried she might puke.
[Two intervening futile work meetings and fabulous, fattening visit with Gigi & Others, to be covered later so you don't get bored and wander off]
Flight#3, LAX-PHX: No talking, tweaking, or tankards. Completely uneventful till we land when, before taxiing to the gate, some guy right across from me jumps up to grab his bag from the overhead. The flight attendant starts shrieking at him, like that mom in Walm@rt who is mid-crisis and you consider following her out of the store to get a license plate to call social services. He takes the guy's bag away and petulantly says he putting it in the back of the plane so the guy will now be the last one off the plane. That'll learn ya! The guy might've been a twit but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be at that flight attendant's door in the event of an emergency deplaning.
Flight#4, PHX-STL: The otherwise presumably very nice gentleman in the seat next to me does NOT respect the the universal sign of I am holding a book up 3" from my nose because I do not wish to converse and insists on TALKING to me - Quelle horreur!
But this flight I plan ahead and pull my wallet out in case I want to buy a drink (important plot point!) since I am once again in the window seat and am not above self medication. But it's 10:30-11pm and I doze off instead (only to later wake myself with my own snorfling sounds - I am soooo sexy). After we land I get aallll the way down to the parking shuttles before I realize my wallet is still on the plane. And my phone was dead too, because I'd only pulled half of the 37 separate charger pieces out of the plug at Gigi's and my fancy new phone's battery has the half life of a squished gnat. No wallet, no parking stub, no parking payment options, no way home. No way to call home. Awesome! I head back to security but it's now midnight and they're all locked up. So I round the corner to talk to the security guard... and he PANICS. No exaggeration, he jumps up, shrieks at me to stop, and HIS HAND IS ON HIS GUN. It was still holstered but holy crap. I am a middle aged women in heels and a grey suit pulling a roll-y suitcase.
[Though in fairness, those corporate issued pens can be lethal.]
If it had not been midnight & if I weren't worried about how I was going to get home, I would have found it hysterical but there was also something a little disturbing about that hand on his gun. No, I'm not going to extrapolate this into a commentary on The News, though it's tempting. And maybe I honed in on that because of The News. Let's just agree that putting panicky people in positions of authority is a lousy idea.
Anyway, I eventually found someone unarmed, who found my plane & wallet over in the cleaning hanger & I made it home by 1:30am. I'd been excited to fly solo - no wiping up cracker crumbs or retrieving sippy cups or diaper changes in the 2' wide airplane lavatory - but lesson learned. I'll take flying with my snotty, poopy kids every time. Though this trip obviously provided LOTS of material, so there's that.