The Flight Companion

This past Monday night I returned from a trip to New Jersey for a last visit to my childhood home that my parents are moving from this week. Traveling from California to New Jersey generally requires the use of an airplane, an experience I generally dread. No, I’m not afraid of flying. You see, the issue is more that of comfort. I’m a large lad, and airplane seats are made for children.

My mode of operation is to snag a window seat. I’m not one to usually get up during a flight, and I hate to be awakened for someone who needs to scoot by. So a window seat was ordered for the trip to Jersey – a trip that was, for me, the rare direct flight from Los Angeles to Newark. Wonderful! Five hours and it will be over.

I quickly found my seat and settled in. Who would be my seat mate for the trip? Was it that pretty brunette I spotted out in the concourse? Perhaps that professional gentleman with the laptop? Who knows?

There are a few seat mates that for me would be less than ideal. There could be A. the crying baby, B. the annoying chatterbox who regales you with tales of absolutely no interest whatsoever, and C. it could be a fellow large person. Two large people side-by-side can make a plane lopsided, and altogether uncomfortable for all involved. Nah – I’ll probably get that brunette, in which case bring on the five hours! However, I forgot about the D choice….

Yes. Good ol’ D. D never did me any favors in school, and it certainly wasn’t going to do me any favors on this flight either. Letter D was, in fact, a young mother who held a child on her lap (that looked entirely too old for airline policy) for the entire, excruciating five hour flight.

Thankfully, the child was not much of a crier. He held his peace pretty well. In fact, both mother and child slept for most of the trip. One might think this was a good thing, right? No. That smallish woman found a way to spill over into my seat in her sleep, and boy, was she warm! I reached up to adjust my air only to find that the plane was not equipped with personal air blowers. Thanks American Airlines.

Despite the lack of a cooling agent, I managed fo fall asleep. That’s about the time the sweet, innocent  sleeping child began to have bad dreams. I assume they were bad. I don’t know what else would have inspired the random kicking he proceeded to take out upon my person. Yes, he was sleep-kicking. Five-hours-of-kicking.  

A sketch of my experience getting kicked by a child throughout a recent flight.
A sketch of my experience getting kicked by a child throughout a recent flight.

Oh wait, I take that back. There are now weather issues in New Jersey. We circled Nebraska for awhile, then had to circle Pennsylvania. Still unable to land, we set down in Washington’s Dulles International to refuel because we circled too much. By now, I had plenty of my own circular bruises on my side as that kid seemed to sleep at least six of what became an eight hour journey. 

I’m not complaining mind you. The seats were, after all, intended for that child. It was I who was invading HIS space. Silly me for having other expectations.

I’ll bet that brunette had a great flight.