My Babies

My Babies

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Space Invader

When traveling via airplane there are certain unwritten courtesies to personal space, especially when in coach. There is nothing fun about being jammed into a small area with strangers for long flights. It’s like playing the lottery as you watch the people file in, and guess which ones will, and which one you hope will not become your future seat mates.

I always try to book the window exit row for the leg room and ability to lean against the wall and sleep. A lot of times I end up getting upgraded to first class so I don’t have to play seat lotto too often.  However, when I change my flight at the last minute to come home a day early and there was only one middle seat left – I knew I was in for trouble.

As the passengers boarded the plane my seat mates joined me in row 24; one very thin man to my right (sitting in my coveted window spot) and an average man to my left.  Doors were closed, final preparations were made throughout the cabin and soon we were airborne on our four and a half hour journey back to Utah.

The first task when in this situation is determining arm rest dominance – an important task for the middle-seat person. I quickly staked claim to the thin man’s side knowing I could over power him easily since I was twice his size. The average man just offered his up. I was like a queen in my thrown with two arm rests in my property.

After a week of long hours trying to get the shuttle launch, while trying to keep up with everyone at home, I was exhausted and airplanes have a way of soothing me to sleep. So I leaned my chair back (the entire inch those things recline) and I closed my eyes and quickly fell asleep.

I am not sure what I was dreaming about that cause me to suddenly jerk awake throwing every limb into a upward motion. This spastic twitch is not a good feeling when it happens in your bed, let alone when you are trap in the itty bitty space of an airplane. Being rather long-legged I felt my legs slam the seat in front of me, I am sure sending that person hurdling forward as I simultaneously hit both seat mates with my arms.

I profusely apologized to all those affected by abrupt seizure-like awakening. Average man just asked if I was okay, showing some concern. Thin man said nothing and moved even closer to the window (I believe he was already afraid of me after I commandeered his arm rest).

After two more jerk awakes – neither as damaging as the first – I decided I was too tired and it was too dangerous for me to sleep in such close quarters.  I turned on my TV in front of me and started watching an episode of Seinfeld – my eyes grew heavy...

I awoke to the sound of the pilot asking the flight attendants to prepare the cabin for landing, and I realized I was not totally in an upright position. I quickly assessed the situation. I had moved my legs to the side with them stretch into skinny’s area and my head was resting on the shoulder of the guy in 24C. I had to have been asleep for at least 2 hours.

As I lifted my head up I noticed the small area of what could only be drool I left on average man’s shoulder – I wanted to die. Red faced, I apologized to him for my total invasion of his space as he pumped his fist trying to get the blood back to his finger tips. He just smiled and said, “No worries it could have been worse.” and gestured his eyes over to very thin man who had all but flatten himself against the wall in avoidance.

I realized that I had just become my worst nightmare…a space invader.


  1. That is so funny! I hate jerk awakes...get them all the time. And yes, drooling too. I'm sure average man had no problem with you using him as a pillow (even if it included a little drool). Skinny guy clearly had "issues" from the beginning so he may be permanently scarred. ;o)

  2. I'll bet the 'leaner' was flattered…the other guy? Well, maybe not so much.

  3. Once I was on a flight from Chicago to Vegas, sitting window in coach. I usually get the fat smelly guy in the middle seat, but this time there was a goddess walking down the aisle - in slow motion, of course, hair bouncing, every male on the plane watching, hoping, praying. She turned her head my way, made eye contact, flashed the most beautiful smile I've ever seen, and asked if the middle seat was taken. A half hour into the flight she was out, leaning on me, snoring softly. Her hair smelled wonderful, she would occasionally shift around to get comfortable, snuggling into my shoulder, and I thought, "man, this is a dream come true!" Until, that is, I had to go pee. An hour goes by, then two, then three. I am about to burst, and suddenly the dream had become a nightmare. Now having said that, it is still one of my favorite airline stories, so don't worry T - you made that guys night!

  4. Mark -Thanks for the insight....maybe that explains why he got off the plane so fast! He was sprinting to the bathroom! We I saw him at baggage claim, I tried not to make eye contact but he was waving.

  5. Better than sitting on the isle with your feet exposed and almost getting your feet amputated by the drink cart as it makes it's way back and forth up and down an isle with just enough room for a single file mamba line. If that weren't bad enough, I'm constantly getting whacked by the overly enlarged hips of the flight attendants who feel that it's fine to give a booty call by proxy. Argh!!!