Airplanes Are Awkward

July 27, 2013 Kristance Harlow

Airplanes are awkward as hell

I love to travel, and I used to love getting on planes because it meant I was going somewhere awesome. I’ve flown enough now that the plane ride is just what I have to get through to get where I’m going.

Those damn seats never give enough legroom and even though I’m short, it’s far from comfortable and I still complain about legroom because that’s what everyone always complains about. A rigid, straight-backed position is simply not my style, I like to lounge. So I always try to slouch down, to no avail. Then I try to position my feet on and slightly in the pocket of the seat in front of me, always bending SkyMall and slipping on the laminated emergency card. The grunts and loud sighs that come from the passenger in front of me sometimes make me think they might be annoyed with my constant fidgeting, but I’m always too afraid of getting those blood clots that I’ve read about in Time magazine to sit still.

Once I’m semi-comfortable, the next obvious distraction is the tray. It makes my awkward knees-bent-5th-grade-school-bus-era position more awkward, but if I flip the latch that holds the tray up back and forth I don’t think about the time in 5th grade when Jimmy “Smelly” Steward sat next to me on the bus.

He had sat so close that I was sure his nauseating odor would envelop me in a deadly gas, everyone would have been sad that I died so young and been mad at Jimmy because it would have been his fault. Instead of dying I just reeked of Jimmy all day, which when you are in 5th grade is just as bad. Thank god for airplane trays.

Oh! And those televisions, they are never where they should be, always angled up too high so the colors are almost reversed like film negatives. I’ve been told that it is the journey not the destination that matters. I suppose the lack of technological entertainment can provide time to contemplate why the pillows are so tiny and why there are never enough itchy blue cotton blankets for everyone.

Not to mention that sick guy who more than once has sat to my right, I always choose a window seat. Window seat being the choice because if nothing else I know I can stare down and pretend like I’m a giant looking at all the tiny roads and houses, using my fingers to size up how easy it would be to squish things down there.

But back to the sick guy I’m griping about. The worst sick guy I sat next to had hundreds of tissues, used tissues, piled on his tray table. When he coughed he would used his left hand and proceed to wipe his left hand on the outside of his left leg. It was so close to me that I could almost see the vacation destroying germs trying to vault onto my right leg, but of course I tried not to notice it by being a giant. As soon as the clouds covered my view of the square cornfields, this guy started sneezing in my direction and I tried not to be surprised because I should have expected that.

That’s when the man on the aisle seat tried to figure out his portable DVD player that his 16-year-old daughter suggested he buy for long business trips. He plugged the headphones into the wrong jack and turned the volume up loud. The speakers blasted me with the Braveheart soundtrack and I, being the kind person I am, tried to explain to him what he did wrong. He, politely, turned it down but didn’t plug his headphones into the right place.

After 10 minutes of me trying to talk around the coughing man I told him he got it and gave up. A nap was in order so I took my tiny pillow and tried to position it against the window, since there was just a big enough gap, my pillow kept slipping down between my seat and the window. When it finally fell down so far that I couldn’t reach it I realized I was unable to do anything but slip my feet on the emergency card while I stared at the clouds going by.

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  1. Rose L on July 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I always prefer the aisle seat so I can stretch and only move my legs when needed. I feel too enclosed at the window and hate middle seats. I was stuck in a middle seat once between 2 very large people who infringed on my space. UGH! So uncomfortable.

  2. mplanck on July 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I'm not flying again. Unless I get to be angel. Just kidding. Of course, you've flown many times more than I have, but I never had your unpleasant seatmates. But the worst one was on a tiny commuter plane (that I nick-named Cape Fear). The seats were too close and tiny to provide leg room which meant, I sat catty-wampus with my feet in the aisle; it was freezing cold; the ride was

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