In his column the "Middle Seat" for The Wall Street Journal,
Scott McCartney writes about the state of the airline industry and what
that means for all of us as we rely on this mode of transportation for
business and for pleasure. Let me rephrase that. We rely on the
airline industry to take us to places for business and/or pleasure.
Today I happened to catch Fresh Air on NPR as McCartney explained in disgusting detail why to avoid the middle seat
on an airplane and were I near a phone I would have called in to state
my case as to "why to avoid any and all seats…" I was
unable to make such a call but that won’t stop me from sharing my
latest experience with all of you should you decide to continue reading
this post. Consider that a warning…
So there I was this past Tuesday, feeling pretty lucky I’d scored a window seat all by myself in a row of three seats. Better yet, the three seats across the aisle were also empty. That’s a statistical improbability in this day and age of airline travel. I buckled my seatbelt and settled in.
Hopefully no one else will board this plane. With my luck he or she will plop down in the middle seat, right next to me, thinking assigned seating arrangements are etched in stone. Wait, where did he come from? Oh, he just did the same thing I did – he spotted an empty seat and bolted for it. No problem. He chose the aisle seat across the aisle from me. Whew.
The man across the aisle from me appeared reasonable. Normal. Clean cut. He was dressed in casual business attire, a pale yellow oxford shirt and matching tie. He whipped out a thick hardcover book and wasted no time in picking up where he left of. Unfortunately, however, that’s not all he started picking. His right index finger went right to work and up his nose it went. Repeatedly. Deep. He was going for the prize. Anything else found in the process was flicked off the pointer finger with the thumb. Repeatedly.
GROSS! Has this man NO peripheral vision? Has he not noticed me sitting across the aisle? Does he think that just because I appear to be reading (well, I WAS) that I can’t see him? Has it not occurred to him that I might have peripheral vision? Oh God. ENOUGH already!
I shifted in my seat. I crossed my legs. I cleared my throat. Uh hem. For heavens sake. What was that man reading I wondered? He’s just so engrossed in what he is doing…
NOoooo!!! Now he’s switched hands! With out missing a beat – yes, he’d fallen into a rhythm by now – he starts picking with the left hand. Boogers. They’re flying everywhere as he flicks them off. We’re flying; they’re flying. Flying boogers!
I just can’t stand it anymore. I’ve got to make him stop otherwise I’m just an enabler. I clear my throat again. Louder this time. So he can hear me.
Uh hem. Brief pause to give him that one last chance to notice me and realize what he has been doing for far too long now…
No such luck.
UH HEM. Would you like a tissue?
There’s a delayed reaction, then he looks up and around as if maybe he heard something but he’s not sure…
"What?" he asked…
I said would you like a tissue? And then I tossed him a look of disapproval that rivaled the ones my father is capable of giving.
"Oh, no thank you" he replied.
No thank you?!?
I think I’m going to wear latex gloves the next time I fly.