Tuesday, May 31, 2011
A Traveler's Tale
I forgot to check in online before leaving for the airport last Friday, and by the time I arrived - more than two hours prior to departure - there were only about eight seats left on the plane, each in the center of three. So you can imagine my relief when I discovered I was seated in between a husband and wife.
"I'll be happy to trade seats with one of you; I'm sure you would like to sit together," I volunteered, assuming it was a done deal.
"Oh, no," the woman replied. "I prefer sitting next to the window and he prefers the aisle."
"Gulp," I said.
"Don't worry; I'm sure you'll be able to move after everyone has finished boarding," the man assured me. "There are always lots of empty seats."
So I stuffed my laptop bag and my purse under the seat in front of me, buckled up, and hoped he was right.
Turned out that plane was FULL. There was absolutely nowhere else to go. So I spent the five and a half hour flight to Seattle wedged between these two people, who kept their elbows on the arm rests, shared newspapers and smelly sandwiches, and talked over my head. They did express gratitude that I was neither excessively tall nor excessively wide.
We also played several games of leap frog. Every time one of us had to use the restroom.
This was her second marriage and his first; in their early sixties, they have been married close to twenty years. They were headed to the Seattle cruise port and looking forward to a ten-day Alaska cruise. They seemed happy enough, bantering and bickering and finishing each other's sentences.
Still, is it just me or was this situation weird? Because let me tell you something: I prefer a window seat, but if I am ever lucky enough to fall in love again, I will sacrifice it in a heartbeat in order to sit next to my sweetheart.
Then again, I guess if I am REALLY lucky, he will sacrifice his aisle seat in order to sit next to me.