Touched by a Stranger

I am going to tell you all about my wonderful trip to San Francisco (Best City Ever), but before I do that I have to get a few things out of my system about flying.  Well, mainly one thing:

I had the worst flight ever on my way back to New Wye.  I was seated by a mother traveling with a large restless toddler who had opted to save money by flying with the kid on her lap instead of buying a separate seat.  This in itself is no problem — I have sat by many lap-babies on many flights in the past and most of them were just fine — but the woman had absolutely NO SENSE of the space around her.

Throughout the entire five-and-a-half-hour flight, I was being kicked, hit, poked, prodded, nudged, leaned on, and shoved by both the mom and the kid.  I could give you a play-by-play account of the whole miserable affair — believe me, every single moment of it is seared into my brain — but I think that’s largely unnecessary.  They were basically using me (seated on the aisle) and the woman in the window seat as pieces of furniture.  In the dead of night while everyone else on the plane was silent and sleeping, I had to use all my strength to resist shaking them awake and screaming into their faces to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP TOUCHING ME.

At one point I was so frustrated and exhausted I couldn’t stop crying, so I had to go stand in the bathroom for several minutes to a) hide and b) have space around me where no one was TOUCHING ME GODDAMNIT.

And there you have the main problem of air travel.  We are packed into the damned planes like sardines in a can and there is just no way to avoid being touched and breathed on by strangers.  And now I am paying the price — in spite of vigilant vitamin and water consumption, I have come down with a bitch of a cold.  I keep thinking that the next day it will start getting better instead of worse, and I keep being wrong. My whole skull is a festival of FAIL.  Needless to say, I blame that horrible woman and her squirming child.

And now, I am off to the horrible grocery store to buy the following pathetic items: cold medicine (I ran out), Kleenex (also ran out), lemon juice (oh, guess what; I ran out of that, too), and some kind of soup.  If I can’t clear out my sinuses soon, I am thinking of eating an entire tube of wasabi. Do you dare me?

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7 thoughts on “Touched by a Stranger

  1. clarabella January 2, 2009 / 1:37 pm

    God, I am so sorry for your cold. Also, re: traveling with a toddler: there is an age cut-off, although I’m not sure how strictly they enforce it. You’re not supposed to carry a toddler on your lap after they turn 2. Having traveled with Liam on my lap many times, I can tell you I am ALWAYS aware of the proximity of our neighbors. If I were traveling alone, I would not want someone’s kid kicking/poking/prodding me. That also said, sometimes it’s unavoidable and I apologize profusely. I even let him sit in some kindly woman’s lap as we landed once because he was DONE. WITH. ME. But she offered.
    We will not be traveling with Liam on the lap again, after the CO trip, though. He is too big, and he’s still 5 months from his 2nd birthday. Despite the ridiculous cost, from now on, The Boy will have his own seat, so then at least we’ll have more room in which for him to thrash without bothering the folks around us. Hopefully.
    Get better.
    P.S. Saline nose spray is CRAZY WONDERFUL for helping clear up the sinuses. Promise.

  2. Kristen January 2, 2009 / 4:41 pm

    Oh, god, the kid touching you for five hours is the worst. I can’t believe the mom wasn’t even apologetic. I have friends who’ve had no choice but to fly with little ones, and they’re always so stressed because they don’t want their child to be the asshole kid. And then to get sick. Ugh.

    Also, yes, I dare you to eat a tube of wasabi. And I would like photographic evidence, please.

  3. John January 3, 2009 / 2:34 am

    Oh geez, I feel for you. Get better soon, eh?

    Remind me one day to tell you the tale of my flight and subsequent arrival in Europe back in 2003…it’s worthy of a book, but it’s quite a long story.

  4. Alfina the Vague January 3, 2009 / 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the sympathy — I’m glad I’m not completely insanely overreacting about the whole thing.

    At any rate, hopefully the cold will clear up soon. I have ordered a neti pot from amazon just in case I still need it when it gets here (the odds of buying a neti pot in New Wye seem, at best, slim). If I use that, or the wasabi, I may have photographic evidence…but maybe not. The humiliation factor there would be pretty high.

    Of course, there’s always this neti pot video to tide you over.

  5. John January 3, 2009 / 12:12 pm

    That pot makes number 2 on my “things I’m not man enough for” list. The first is andouillette.

  6. Timothy January 3, 2009 / 3:08 pm

    Colds are lame, they are lamer still with air travel. You should have said, “get your fucking kid off of me.” To the lady, this tactic has worked for me in the past.

    Of course, I did have a guy want to fight me once because I told his toddler (who was running romper room all over the restaurant I was in) to shut the hell up, so your mileage may vary.

  7. Alfina the Vague January 3, 2009 / 7:44 pm

    J – Yeah, I’m afraid I might not be manly enough for it, either (in spite of my already discussed manly tendencies). I vow to try, anyway.

    T – Oh, believe me I wanted to! It was hard to resist. I just figure these days, on a plane, it’s best to avoid conflict. Best not to stand out in any way lest they bring the full power of The Law down upon me. Sigh.

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