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Hey, 16-B. Get Out Of My Personal Space

English: Appalachian State University Marching...

App State. Great school.(Image via Wikipedia)

I am beginning to think that I am a magnet for this sort of person. They are drawn to me whenever I fly home from a trip to see my friends.

I spotted them in the airport, a couple in bright yellow Appalachian State University sweatshirts. They caught my eye because I think that couples should never wear matching clothes. Very few people ask me about how they should dress. Perhaps they are reluctant to accept fashion advice from a man who owns as many baseball jerseys as I do, I accept that. But they should understand that even I can tell you that it is always a bad idea to wear matching shirts.

I Bring These People Upon Myself

Perhaps I jinxed myself when they sat down in the waiting area for the same flight I was on. I saw them and thought “well, there are the people I’m sitting with”. Maybe I should not have been surprised when they sat next to me on the plane. I am going to resolve to stop identifying my seat mates before boarding.

Airline seats are not all that big. I’m not the biggest person you’ll run across. But me and someone a little larger than I am, side by side in coach airline seats requires some concessions on both our parts. Mr. Appalachian, who we’ll call seat 16B, was not inclined to make concessions. He spread out across his middle seat like he was on his couch at home. I pulled myself into a position in my window seat to make things as comfortable as possible for both of us, he arranged himself to make things as comfortable as possible for himself. Of course, this meant I would have to fight for comfort.

Our flight was a series of guerrilla skirmishes for position. He reached to lower his tray table, I took over the arm rest. When I twisted to get something from my pocket, he was back on the arm rest and spreading into my space. The battle raged all the way to Charlotte.

Finally, the announcement came that we were on final approach to the airport. As the plane got lower, I started to look outside for familiar landmarks. One of the things I saw was Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s kind of hard not to see such a big facility. It was at that moment, when I was looking for other landmarks, that the guerrilla battle went to a new level.

Dude, Don’t Call Me Honey

16B’s shoulder jolted into mine as he leaned into my window seat to get a better look out the window. “Look honey”, he bellowed into my ear, “it’s the speedway, I can see our seats!”

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Hey, Honey, I can see the speedway! Your momma's house too! (Image via Wikipedia)

Now, I didn’t question whether he really could pick out two seat numbers out of one hundred thousand from ten thousand feet up at five hundred miles per hour. If he truly could do that, I think he has a great future as a peregrine falcon. Nor did I point out that there was no way “Honey” could see the race track with his big body eclipsing the window.

It did bug me that he decided to talk to his “Honey” by echoing his words off my head, so I just said, “yeah, I know, I see it.” He pulled back and sputtered “I wasn’t talking to you.” I told him I was sorry, that I thought he was talking to me since he was talking into my ear. It worked. He pulled back to his seat and kept his distance for the last 5 minutes of the flight.

There are two sides of every story. Somewhere else, a man is telling a story that he believes – that he sat with a guy who truly thought he was being called honey. Here, you read the tale of a gentleman who was put upon and did what was needed to get a little breathing room. You be the judge.

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34 Comments on “Hey, 16-B. Get Out Of My Personal Space”

  1. A great future as a peregrine falcon. Thanks for the laugh. But sorry about matching-sweatshirt guy.

  2. Wendi says:

    See what happens when you start casually profiling people? You get a self fulfilling prophecy that results in battle lines being drawn at 12,000 feet.

    I think you should have used the cadaver cartilage factoid to impress upon him that he should not f*** with The Blurt.

  3. It always amazes me that out of the small percentage of the population on planes, so many of them are jerks. My last 2 plane rides were jerk free, so I figure I’m due for a jerk on my next trip. Unless…what if…I’m the jerk?

  4. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    The worst behavior we see is on airplanes and at shopping malls. I flew down to Texas this past week and sat in front of a guy who bellowed his conversation, with all it’s personal details, for the entire trip. He never took a breath to stop talking. I knew all hope was lost when he said to his seat mate, “it took me awhile to come out of my shell.” I wish he had gone back in for the duration.

  5. It must have just been a stopover for him on his way back to DC. He came up to me in the grocery store last week. “Hey, honey. Grab me a gallon of whole milk, will ya?. . . Honey, the whole milk, not the 2 %. . .” I didn’t know what to do, so I gave him a gallon of whole milk.

    He said “Thanks, honey,” and off he went. Now I understand. He must’ve been in a hurry to catch a plane.

  6. hahahahaha!!! I’m speechless. So funny Oma! I visualized THE ENTIRE THING

  7. queen says:

    nice retort. next time, add “sweetie” to it.

  8. Oma’s Law of Airplane Travel: The probability of the person in the departure lounge who most irritates you sitting next to you on the plane is directly proportional to how irritating they are and inversely proportional to your ability at that moment to tolerate them.

  9. Katybeth says:

    I think you should have given him a quick kiss on his head and said..”I see it sweetie.” If you are going to hand out take home stories make them really good ones!

  10. We Found Him Captain! says:

    That is really funny honey! I once flew next to a woman with a baby who needed a diaper change. She must have fed him some Iranian goat cheese pudding with squash. It smelled so bad, when she took the diaper off in the ladies room the smoke alarm went off in there. The co-pilot came out of the cockpit with a fire extinguisher. Everyone’s eyes were watering. The flight steward gave out free bottles of water. I was cross eyed when we arrived in Ponce from Miami because the baby still smelled when she came back to sit down. I don’t think a walk through a car wash would have helped me when I deplaned.

    Your story was really funny….memories are made of these episodes.

  11. Debbie says:

    Oh, the joys of being crammed like sardines into tiny airplane seats alongside people who think they’re twins!

  12. Lenore Diane says:

    Those that lack a respect of personal space are by far the most challenging to sit next to during a trip. I think it is fantastic that you responded to his ‘honey’ statement. That also put me at ease – my nephew graduated from Appalachian State, though I don’t think he and his wife wear matching shirts, sweatshirts, etc. The minute he indicated he attended Nascar events, I breathed a sigh of relief – that was not my nephew.
    (Besides that, my nephew respects personal space.)

  13. Pie says:

    Yet another fine nightmare plane trip story. Matching sweatshirts on a couple is just plain wrong and the fool knows nothing about personal space, but I don’t think it will ever top the one you put out there last year featuring the woman and her awful teenage son. I still shake my head in disbelief when I remember it.

    One way you could create personal space on future flights is to keep the goatee, but grow it long, shave your head, wear a sleeveless T-shirt with heavy metallers Rammstein emblazoned on the front and have plenty of tattoos. With skulls. That should do it.

    The Charlotte Motor Speedway looks great. I want to go. I can see my seat!

  14. spencercourt says:

    This is why I always sit in an aisle seat and my wife sits in the aisle seat across from me. I can do this because I only fly Southwest and we can pick our own seats “first come, first served” as we board and boarding is based on check in order (including online check in 24 hours before the flight.)

  15. I laughed out loud at “yeah, I know, I see it” and his reaction. Sometimes my wife calls me “honey” when we’re in a group and I act like I didn’t know which one of us she was talking to.

  16. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Yea man! I was in Ponce, PR, three times. Details to be discussed at another time.

  17. planetross says:

    Having to share an armrest usually doesn’t involve much sharing.

    note: “it is always a bad idea to wear matching shirts” … you better stay away from the ballparks. hee hee!


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