Monday, March 15, 2010

Air Pain

I boarded a plane this morning at 12:20 am Portland time, and sat down next to a woman (I say “woman” to describe a female of my own age) and her daughter.

The pregnancy nausea has not left the building, yet, people, and I was engulfed by a perfume not unlike body odor of 1 month unwashed skin and stale cigarette smoke. When I say, “not unlike” , I mean, EXACTLY alike. In those five seconds of breathing lightly, trying to convince myself that this was nothing like either of those ghastly smells, I considered hard whether I should ask to be moved to a different seat.

To be a jerk? Or Not To Be A Jerk?

I decided to stay in my seat. It was a full flight. People who bother flight attendants are headed for the lowest levels of helk.

Within the first 45 minutes of flight, this girl/woman/mother/smelly smelly rank of a person had to squeeze past me in my aisle seat approximately ten times. She used the call button twice to clarify answers to questions she had already asked. She forgot “important materials” in her suitcase in the overhead bin and felt compelled to release them.

Next she ordered some wine, I assume to add to the collection of smells I was experiencing, and feigned surprise when she was informed that the glass she had just gulped out of was $7.

“Oh! It’s not complimentary?”

When the flight attendant walked away with her money, she said excusingly to her daughter that it used to be free, and everything was so cheap these days. Ahem. There was no way this woman/stank monster was old enough to have gotten free booze in 80s booty plane movies.

I finally, finally, fell asleep, despite her detailed accounting to her daughter of relationship advice she was reading (her “favorite subject”) and thought I could keep it up until the captain announced our descent.

Into Helk.

But really, I was awoken by cold, cold liquid, spilling onto my side and running under my butt, and immediately soaking into my underwear.

I gasped and moved, fumbling to unbuckle my belt and stand up quickly. The woman/foul female of free liquor era, looks lazily up at me and says, “Oh, sorry. It just vibrated right off the table. I, like, caught it twice already from falling on you.”

I mumbled something like, “Uh, it’s okay”, and before I can find some help she’s pushing the call button for like the 5th time this flight, and asking for napkins. She apologizes slightly more sincerely now, and I mumble forgiveness, in the way that you mumble where you are clearly saying, “I will never forgive you for this.” I attempt to mop up my jeans with 4 napkins, which is like trying to mop up a pond with q-tips, and I finally sit down with my butt looking like I’ve freshly peed. Freshly because at least I don’t smell.

The woman has gone back to sleep, but now I can’t sleep, because I’m bothered, but also because THERE IS STILL A 1/4 CUP OF WATER ON THE EDGE OF HER TRAY. Jiggling in the turbulence. With my name on it. And now I have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t fall on me.

I wonder, if in some other life, I might have actually been friends with this person, who speaks nicely to her daughter and has a pink streak in her hair.

After a layover in Minneapolis, I boarded the flight to JFK, and as soon as I see him from a distance, I just KNOW that I’m seated next to the Hasidic Jew. I was worried. But he didn’t smell, try to get past me, drink any liquids, or even talk.

I really had to wonder if it had anything to do with his religion.


Unknown said...

Did you puke in Portland?

Smiths said...

ugh. Flights are a horrible social experiment for sure.
Micah found this article about a plane that was evacuated because of a smell that was making people nauseous.

The Crash Test Dummy said...


Oh, dear. Pregnancy has a NO TOLERANCE policy for smells and annoying ladies.

Are you by yourself?