Good God, Man, Don’t Sit There!

economy

Not me, but a very good representation of me. And, yes, that seat is occupied. Go away.

While it seems as if Daughter’s back-to-school life rivals that of Rodney Dangerfield (when he was still alive and acting, of course), I feel somewhat disadvantaged if I don’t write a post about bars, drinking, insulting random strangers, or figuring out how I can slip into my post an obscure “hip” reference to something no one knows anything about. 

Then I realized that Daughter’s posts essentially fill me in (and you, too) about all the gory details associated with clubbing in the New Millenium. 

I’m sorry.  I’m perfectly happy with my cup of tea watching Downton Freaking Abbey on Sunday nights. 

The allure of the conditions Daughter describes escapes me but, then again, many things my kids do escape me.  I seem to remember an awkward conversation with my own mother decades ago now, trying to explain why there was a (frozen) can of Generic Beer (does anyone remember that?) in the freezer.  The funny thing was, it was my Mom’s beer (although she never touched the stuff), which she used for a secret recipe beer bread.  God knows how old it was, but on a thirsty, late Saturday night watching Saturday Night Live by myself (you know, with John Belushi — that crowd), a cold Generic Beer synchronized almost too perfectly with what was on the television. 

So I’m hoping that I remain amused (as opposed to judgmental) regarding the club scene in whatever college town Daughter frequents on weekends. 

Been there.  Done that.  Got the t-shirt (somewhere). 

Alas, I have no witty account of my latest social encounter.  Rather, I find myself tonight on yet another business trip, to a destination I would rather not visit, in the company of individuals to whom I would prefer not talk.  And as seems to happen more often than not, I experienced weather delays en route yesterday, and what should have been a five-hour ordeal was more than double that.   

My social interaction during the Denver airport delay included sharing newspapers with strangers, pretending that my bottled water wasn’t filled up at the drinking fountain, and deciding whether I could risk drinking a different brand of foo-foo coffee rather than the standard one the women in my family have used to water board me (I didn’t). 

I did chat with a security guard briefly, since she had to explain to me why she was guarding the vending machine area (she wasn’t) and why I couldn’t use it (I couldn’t).  In a clever bit of post-modern capitalism, it seems the electricity for these machines only clicks on after all the restaurants close.  So I guess the “true eateries” feel threatened by the machines. 

Can you say “Terminator Three“?

But that wasn’t the real highlight of the journey.  That came later, and it truly caught me by surprise because it was so counterintuitive. 

The story goes like this.  I usually try to fly the same airline on most of my trips (issues with delays, notwithstanding).  Though I don’t think I need to mention the name, this particular airline has open seating.  I believe the strategy for most Muggles is to grab either a window or aisle seat, thereby leaving the less fortunate masses to deal with squeezing in the middle. 

If you have flown lately, no doubt you’ve noticed that the cabins are darn full these days, and open seats have become quite a commodity.  As fate would have it, our delayed flight last night was not full.  Not full.  Therefore, the possibility was very real that a middle seat might remain unoccupied for the entire three-hour leg. 

Though I fought temptation, I allowed my over-fatigued mind the faintest hope that I might be afforded the luxury of stretching out just for a bit, not clanging elbows with anyone, and generally lording my spatial superiority over the lesser mortals crammed into the rest of the plane.

Well, that last thought was my undoing, probably.  Simply stated, I did not possess the Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch.  Consequently, the Great Pumpkin passed me over.

In a big way.

Picture this.  I giddily (really, that’s how I felt) grabbed a window seat near the front of the aircraft.  Both the middle (of course) and aisle seats were still open as the Muggle refugee line morosely filed in.  So, my expectation would be that a Soccer Mom would perch on the aisle seat, and if she piled enough crap in between us (something I would never do), I would be home free.

Nope.

Not only does a Soccer Mom not join my row (that never happens anyway), a guy with a laptop plops down — AND TAKES THE MIDDLE SEAT NEXT TO ME.  Mind you, the aisle seat was still open.

I’ve never, ever had this happen to me, and if I hadn’t been so tired already, my mind would have begun racing.  As it was, it merely jogged, or maybe walked at a fast clip. 

My fellow traveler was a younger guy, seemed pretty normal (whatever that means), and settled in to read a book (perfect).  Eventually, someone took the aisle seat (that makes perfect sense), so we were left in full sardine can mode. 

But think if that hadn’t happened.  Other than those crazy couples that still have the kinds of feelings for each other that necessitate sitting next to each other on airplanes, there we would have been, this book-reading guy and me.  Loving life and our plane ride together. 

Just a little strange, but not a big deal.  While I was still conscious, I snuck a peek at what he was reading.  It was a story of some dude going through SEAL training.  Maybe he thought I could give him pointers.  Maybe he thought I was a former SEAL.  Maybe he thought I was just a seal.  Who knows?  He seemed nice enough, never said a word, but still. . . .  Sitting in that middle seat.  I don’t know.

Let’s just leave it at that.  Zen-me lives on. 

Daughter, let’s go grab a beer-o!

- Dad

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2 thoughts on “Good God, Man, Don’t Sit There!

  1. Pingback: Well, It Happened Again…. | The Daily Trip

  2. Pingback: Stop Being Nice to Me. Please. | The Daily Trip

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