Friday, September 30, 2011

Night Flight

Interesting flight to Darwin last night.

I'd been randomly allocated a window seat. After I'd herded onto the plane and found it, a couple about my age, fifty plus, were in the process of appropriating the window seat to store a large flat framed, bubble wrapped piece. Suppose they couldn't believe their luck on a packed flight. Seemed a tad miffed, I thought, to relinquish the floorspace they'd used and stow the item in the overhead locker. The woman - thin lips, tan leather jacket, skinny jeans, menopausal black dyed concave bob - had removed her knee high boots. In black socked feet, she unfurled herself, distractedly stood, and slotted her piece in the locker. Oddly, she ignored me and sat down again.

"Perhaps you'd like to move over?" I inquired politely, thinking they could both just shift over one.
"No, I'm staying right here, thank you very much!" 

Bit aggro. Think she thought I was going to boot her out of her allocated seat.  She was shaking her head, glaring at something indeterminate. Her partner, a grey loose-jowled man, chin sunk on his chest, just stared at the seat ahead. Perhaps he was jammed in. Thin-lips was determinedly having that aisle seat. I didn't care except I'd had a soaring blood sugar all day, probably a rebound from my near-death gastro in the previous 36 hours. Now I was dying of thirst - a diabetic thing - and knew I'd need a pee at some time during the flight.

"Well, I'll have to climb over you." I was sing-song, smiling, indulging a couple of children.

At this, something clicked and they clambered out. Bit of a struggle for him, clinging to the seat in front and shuffling sideways.

"And you'll have to forgive me climbing over you during the night," I belled, beaming, shuffling into my seat. "Old bladder, ha ha."

During the night? Who was I kidding? I thought, sitting heavily on my crossed seat-belt before wresting it out.  It was 3 a.m.

Amazing how much urine one's bladder can hold, in extremis, despite considerable discomfort. Once in, I could not get out. Had there been an emergency, perhaps a crash, with assistance from flight attendants, the blob next to me could perhaps have been induced  to prise himself out. He reeked of a few too many at the bar prior to take-off.  He was in an inert Can't Be Fucked, alcohol induced torpor.

Glad I'd relieved myself of those last few drops back at the airport toilets.

The armrest between me and my companion was raised and he'd taken the opportunity to ease himself about a quarter onto my seat.  Hmm. What to do?

"Would you like the armrest down?" I carolled, clicking it into position under a roll of his flesh.  He rested his arm over it, as one does, and I was okay.  Still had one completely to myself on the window side.

Beyond him Thin-lips had assumed the position: facing her husband, legs drawn up towards her chest.  Quite flexy, I thought.

Blob inclined himself towards her, in so doing, resting his back fat right over my arm.

I was irate, and perhaps more irrational than usual. It was 3.45 a.m.  I'd had no sleep since 9.30 the previous a.m., and prior to that I'd been on a drip in the ER for five hours following 18 hours of explosive gastro.

I swore under my breath.  That achieving nothing, I whimpered for an instant, pinioned as I was between back fat and the aeroplane wall.  Hmm.  What to do?

Tapped him on the arm.  He blinked awake and slowly turned to gawp at me.

"Excuse me?  Is she your wife?"  No more sing-song.  Assertive now, I nodded towards Thin-lips.

He registered the question; cogs creaking round.


"Well, would you mind leaning on her instead of me?  These days I don't even let my husband get this close."

He gawped some more, bemused perhaps.  Maybe he thought he was having an alcohol induced dream.  At this stage, ready for sleep or what passes for it on a plane, I'd pulled my orange hood up over my head, my bespectacled 55 year old face was peering at him, and around my neck I had, due to air pressure, an over-inflated blue neck support pillow.  He obeyed anyway.

Unfortunately, when he dropped into deeper sleep it was no holds barred.  He rolled over 'in bed' onto me, to mouth-breathe into my face.

Confession:  I can't even bear this with my old man and consequently we sleep, in our queen bed, in our little compartments, our heads separated by a pillow (affectionately known as 'the barrier') standing on its side.

Drunk, Blob was comatose.  I pulled my hood around my face, cleaved to what remained of my $300 seat and the side of the plane and prayed for a swift flight.


  1. Yeah, only just read this one too. Ooh, the horror, the horror. Obviously you survived. . . it being Christmas now and all. I thought you were very game to ask Blob to lean on his wife, not you. Very well done. Too bad it had no good outcome.
    I used to get the train riders who were guaranteed to fall asleep on me on my train ride back from town when I worked there. . . I used to jiggle my shoulder up to wake 'em up. I have bony shoulders, I have no idea why middle aged men used to target me to fall asleep on!
    I love your use of "cleaved" too. . . that's the best thing about English teachers!

  2. Interesting reading that post back, when I'm only a week away from a flight to Vietnam. However, Al - buffer zone - will be my faithful travel companion. Think he's actually organised two seats together, as opposed to three, so we only have to clamber over one another. The down-side of that arrangement is that we're practically sitting in the lavatory! Or I should consider that convenient!