For some reason I always have a great story to take from each plane ride and this one yesterday definitely gave me great fodder for my travel memoirs.
It is an early morning flight and I am lugging down the aisle looking for 28E. As I walk I see a man with a pendant the size of our magazine, then there is a man standing with a stop watch around his neck…timing something…then there is a woman sitting with her small bag squeezed tightly to her chest and she gives me the evil eye.
15, 16, 17. To my chagrin I am stuck in the middle seat on a crowded plane. On my left is a mature lady who we will call ‘Low Talker’. Each time the hostess would ask a question they would have to say excuse me, pardon me, excuse me and have to lean right down into whispering range to hear what was being said from my neighbour. On my right is a man in spectacles and his name is ‘Oscar the Grouch’. This man is an odd fellow. He is middle aged, constantly irate, grumbling, and intermittently burping. He is very annoyed that he is asked to buy a sandwich by the hostess for $6. He is tossing his hands in the air and storming from his seat to the back of the plane because the happy couple in front of us bought the new CK perfume and had the audacity to spray it in flight. He hears a conversation behind us where the passenger states he is from Bermuda so he spins around to ask “Do you know Philip Small the policeman, he is about the complexion as this fella next to me?” 29F looks cautiously at the person he is speaking to and then says no. Oscar gives me a look that says 29F is definitely not from Bermuda if he doesn’t know Philip. In the middle of the flight be pulls out a large plastic bag with two sandwiches and six tangerines and polishes them off in a hurry.
“Can you believe she has her behind in my face?” referring to the hostess leaning over to talk to someone on the other side of the aisle. He motions to slap her across the offending behind. By this time he is wearing airphones and having quite a party in his own world.
Low Talker leans over to me and says “?????” I say “Pardon me?” She repeats “???abc” I repeat the same refrain. We continue this cycle a few more times before I find out that she wants me to fill out her immigration cards and hands over a pen and her passport. I feel oddly embarrassed and uncomfortable but I am questioning why I should feel this way. So…I proceed, NAME, DATE OF BIRTH, SEX, I pause to ask marital status and occupation as I don’t see it in the passport. Oscar looks over and mumbles something and makes a gesture with both hands and I pretend not to see. I race through this as fast as I can and then do the customs section.
“Are you carrying any firearms?” trying to imitate the usual warmth and inviting tone of a US border entry guard.
“Have you been on a farm in the past six weeks?”
“Are you carrying more than $10,000 in cash?”
Due to a confidentiality agreement she made me sign I cannot divulge her responses.
We finally land and Oscar the Grouch jumps up first and promptly instructs everyone behind us that the rear doors will be opening so turn to the back as it is faster. The last time I see him he is telling someone “Watch it buddy with that bag!” as he forces past an elderly gentlemen cautiously taking luggage from the overhead bin. Low Talker drifts silently into the crowd to wait for her connecting flight at 7:40 in the evening.
I love flying.