How much can I do for people? How muuuuuuch????
So taking two kids halfway across the country on an airplane was trying, to say the least. For the trip home yesterday I was looking forward to a little me time – the window seat I'd paid extra for (because I like watching the ground as I plummet towards it), my Kindle, earbuds and licorice allsorts. Oh, and also a pre-emptive Imodium. I was bagged and bunged and ready for four hours of flighterly fun.
I get on the airplane and see there's a man sitting in my seat.
"Would you mind trading with me?" he says. "I couldn't get three seats in a row and I want to sit with my family."
I guess he thinks I won't mind since he's already ensconced in my seat, jacket off, seat belt on, newly-hatched baby in his arms. Beside him is a toddler and a well-worn woman who looks exhausted enough to be his wife.
"That's my seat there," he says, pointing to the aisle seat across, as luck would have it, the aisle.
The man's got nerve, that much is for sure. He's someone you might see working in downtown Toronto, Mr. Stock Exchange, all muscular and handsome, well-dressed too, and he looks like he's used to getting his own way. But how can I say no to him? He's got a baby AND a toddler. On an airplane. Just last week I had faced the same challenge and I knew it wasn't any walk in the park.
And besides, his seat was an end aisle, which wasn't so bad.
As I've mentioned before I have a rather large ass. If I book my ass an aisle seat or a window seat, it has more room to spread without bothering anyone. Last thing I want is my ass making an ass of itself.
"OK," I say. "Sure." Because I would have been a total ass had I been the one to separate a man from his family.
I sit down in the aisle seat, put my purse at my feet and strap on the seat belt. Then all of a sudden I notice a woman standing in the aisle staring at me.
Just then Mr. Family Man leans over and says, "Actually my seat was the middle seat."
"Well then, that changes everything," I say. "Deal's off. Gimme back my seat." I'm actually kinda not kidding. I'm pissed off. He deliberately misled me. But Mr. Doofus Family Man looks stricken so I say, "just kidding."
So I move to the middle seat. The new lady looks unimpressed. In fact she looks mortified and I know right away what's eating her. She is seated beside the two fattest people on the plane: me and this guy who is so large that he makes me feel skinny. She is probably thinking, 'oh no, two fatties... they're probably going to be all sweaty and stinky and they're gonna touch me with their stinky sweatiness' or some such thing. Now don't y'all go on saying that's not true – I've read enough vile comments from skinny people having to "endure" fat people on airplanes to know that they'd rather jump off without a parachute than have to be glued to a fat person for the length of a plane ride.
As it turned out, I was totally glued to my plus-sized seat mate for four hours. When he was awake, he tried hard to keep his bulk away from my bulk, which I admire, because I try to do the same thing. Unfortunately, he slept for most of the trip and, when unconscious, his arms relaxed and he literally pinned me to my seat. I couldn't even scratch my nose. I sat there, bolt upright, squished like a bug, with my arms crossed in front of me so I wouldn't bother the lady on my other side. Occasionally I accidentally touched her and she pulled away like she had been singed. By the time we arrived in Edmonton, my back was killing me, my shoulders ached and my whole left side smelled like Old Spice. Kudos to my large friend for smelling nice – disproving the insane notion that just because we're hefty doesn't mean we're smelly.
Mr. Family Man had a pleasant journey, from what I could see. All sprawled out in my aisle seat, picture-perfect baby asleep in his arms, Shirley Temple toddler all pink-cheeked and curly-haired, tired wife blessedly asleep and likely dreaming sweet, husband-less dreams.
He didn't even offer to pay me the $30 it cost me to get that seat. Nor did he say thank-you as I uncrumpled myself from the plane.
Dave wonders why I gave him my seat. I figure I had no choice ... I mean, what kind of a horrible person would I be if I denied a man a chance to be with his family?
What would you do?