Monday, March 16, 2009

Centering on the Middle Seat

I've been lucky in travel. A majority of my seats whether they are domestic or international have provided me an aisle seat for my 6'4" frame and I only had to be concerned on how many flight attendants I would trip as my foot hung out into the traffic lane during each flight.

However this last flight, I had to endure the dreaded middle seat syndrome with a man who overstepped all etiquette when it comes to the laws of traveling.

I always understood if I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat, I would be forfeiting the arm rests for most of the flight and defer to my cramped neighbor giving adequate space for them to function.

It's the unwritten air travel law. I just happen to find one of the biggest violators of this air rule and I decided to be the new Sheriff in town.

There I was, sitting with a Justin Timberlake wannabe with a fanny pack. He not only was already in his seat before even 1st class was seated (He boarded early perhaps as he tried to pass as a young child who needed assistance for seating).

I knew from seeing his over sized carry on bag, extra stuffed notebook computer case (which he thinks doesn't count as a bag) and a half dozen music magazines on his lap that this was going to be a "special" trip for me.

He couldn't have been 5'7" but he still wouldn't even get up or maneuver to allow me to get by his temporary domain. Five hours with EMIMEM was going to test my mettle above and beyond the Golden Rule...OH I plan on treating him how I want to be me.

For you to understand, I only have to describe one example. The dude with the frosted tips and a Napoleon Dynamite T-shirt wasn't going to MOVE his right arm from the armrest the entire 5 hours

1) Not to eat-He only used his outside hand for both cutting, eating and sorting.

2) Not to read-Hell, he was only looking at pictures of babes with guitars on motorcycles anyway

3) Not to reach for his drink, napkin or peanuts from the flight attendants. -He would actually grab, place, grab again, place and then continue with the only free arm I couldn't negotiate with

4) Not even to scratch his pathetic effort of hair growth under his chin.

The bottom line is he acted as though his right arm was permanently glued to the arm rest and as I responded with the only way a well traveled person would do in this situation...I played the "wedge" game with him and enjoyed every minute of his frustration.

I leaned my left arm back and slid my elbow to the back of the armrest behind his and coughed as I pushed his arm forward with a wedge of my arm.

Sorry, but listening to him for the rest of the flight sigh out loud, moaning, grunting and trying to push his arm back onto mine for the next few hours was more enjoyable than watching the latest High School Musical 3 on the little screen in front of me. He truly thought his Gilligan sized body frame was going to have enough leverage to move my arm even an inch. Doesn't he know I can use the other arm rest as a base to ensure I don't falter from my defensive position. (YES, YES, I have thought too much of this issue)

With my noise cancellation headsets and the satisfaction of knowing I won the battle as well as the airline war of armrest positioning, I sung along to the teenage crazed videos and most likely drove him to finally get up and visit the restroom. He should thank ME, as I know he was holding it in with the fear of losing his arm's position as I counted him downing 8 diet cokes and I was worried he was going to pull out an empty Gatorade bottle and forget he was on a public airline for the moment.

Don't worry, when he returned, I was polite enough to give him his arm rest back as the intercom interrupted, "Please prepare for landing and bring all seats to an upright position."

The least I can do is give him the armrest for the last 10 minutes of the flight as even I have a little air travel compassion. Plus, I had to use both of my hands to cover my face of my overly excited expressions of winning this Olympic travel event.

When it comes to airline etiquette, I'm just too happy to play with the rookies.

The best part is I slipped the blog address in his bag as he exited the plane for him to find later. The issue is I'm left handed so I had to write it with my free hand so he might not be able to read it clearly but there is only one thing better than winning the armrest challenge. It's letting them know you won it.

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