Some unexpected firsts at 30,000 feet

I’ve logged a few airline miles in my time, but on this trip back home to Bali I experienced some firsts.

It wasn’t the chaos of the Minneapolis airport. That’s a given. LAX was a zoo, but I’ve been to that particular animal house before. No surprises there. The airport in Brisbane, Australia, was a delightful surprise. It’s small, spotlessly clean, well-run, a civilized dream!

When I boarded the Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane for the final lap home I found my aisle seat next to a leggy blonde in camouflage jeans. She was glued to a male torso occupying the window seat. My eyes stuck for longer than appropriate on his tattoos. You couldn’t just glance and look away. There were far too many of them. The only tattoo-less skin was his face and it was pleasant enough.

I smiled, I’m not sure they noticed, and buckled myself in.

Although her type doesn’t usually fly economy, across the aisle on my left looking out of place sat Trophy Wife. Trophy 2Maybe she was a wannabe trophy wife or an ex-trophy wife. The crepe wrinkles on her arms and legs put her in my age bracket, but her face was twenty years younger. Enhanced? Probably. It had that too-tight look.

She kept glancing back at me and quite obviously was not with the man and little boy sitting next to her. She had rings on every finger, two on some of them, and she worried them continually. Her French manicure was professionally done. I know my do-it-yourself Target Press-on Nails and these were not those. Her shoulder length blonde hair had that maintained look that can only be achieved with regular visits to the salon and the form-fitting black sheath dress stood out in the otherwise casually attired airplane crowd. She seemed ill at ease, uncomfortable in her own skin.

After the in-flight meal was served and my seat mates had polished off two glasses of wine each, we all settled in for a nap. Somehow my neighbor’s exceedingly long camo legs were able to wrap themselves around his tats and a bit of heavy, pre-nap nuzzling commenced. When they nodded off, she was V-shaped with her butt snuggled up to and overlapping our shared armrest with the remainder of her body entangled with his.

I’m thinking, Okay, so they aren’t familiar with airline etiquette, the subtle recognition of personal space and the necessity of not transgressing those nearly imaginary boundaries. I rested but didn’t sleep and in less than thirty minutes their call light was on. A flight attendant appeared. Mr. Tat ordered a whiskey and coke and Ms. Camo requested a vodka tonic. The drinks disappeared with surprising speed and the call light was on again. By the time they were on their 5th round their ipod was blasting tunes (no earbuds for these lovers) and they were rockin’ out in their seats, arms doing strange, jerky movements, one of which connected with the full glass of ice-water on Camo’s tray and sent it hurling toward me. The seat and my right leg and buttocks were thoroughly drenched.

“Oh! Sorry!” she said, giggling. As I struggled to unlock the seat belt and escape the icy dampness, a look of polite distaste passed between myself and Trophy Wife.

The flight attendant appeared with a handful of napkins in an attempt to dry out the seat and my saturated clothing. Meanwhile, Ms. Camo mopped the floor with a raggedy length of yellow batik fabric. “You understand,” the attendant addressed the couple. “The affect of alcohol is doubled at this altitude. I’m afraid you’ve had your limit and we won’t be serving you any more drinks.” She left and Mr. Tat muttered something inappropriate to which Ms. Camo replied, “She’s just doing her job.”

I’d soaked up as much of the moisture as possible and resumed my seat when the couple indicated that they needed to visit the toilet. Each returned with two more drinks in hand. Really? Trophy Wife, who was now looking backward more than forward, mouthed, “OMG,” and shook her perfectly coiffed head.

I’d put the armrest up when they exited, but upon their return, Camo sat down in her inebriated state taking up all of her seat and half of mine. What had been heavy nuzzling before took on new life and heated up several notches. Girl kissing tattooThe sucking and smacking, licking and clenching was no longer cute. As Camo wriggled and squirmed on my half of the seat, I felt irritation rising up to a agitated simmer. At that precise moment, Camo leaned in toward Tat creating a nanosecond of opportunity. I gripped the armrest and slammed it down between us grazing her butt just a little. “Oh! Sorry!” she said, then returned to the business at hand.

The flight attendant reappeared to mention to the couple that they would probably be feeling significantly ill as we made the descent into Bali. Oh great! Will I exit the plane wearing their vomit? I actually worried about that for a while. But they held their liquor and upon departing the plane I distanced myself as far as possible from them. Then sure enough, at the baggage carousel there they were, still entwined, directly in my path. Rather than pass them, I did an about-face and went around the other way. Enough, after all, is quite enough.

This experience made up for all the benign, event-less flights of the past. Maybe it happened so I would appreciate the excellent manners and flight savvy of most passengers. Or maybe it happened so I’d have a good story. I do love a good story! And by the way, it’s great to be home!

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shanemac
    Dec 13, 2015 @ 05:24:25

    It’s great to have you back in Bali and I’m looking forward to seeing you.

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  2. sageblessings
    Dec 13, 2015 @ 09:19:32

    Wow, great story and one I’m happy to not have experienced. Presumably it was a full flight so you couldn’t change seats. You were far more gracious than I might have been. As you said…it did provide a fascinating read and we are the beneficiaries so thanks. Also, great illustrations! I know you are thrilled to be home. Spread out in your wonderful space that is ALL YOURS and luxuriate. Hi to Ketut.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Dec 13, 2015 @ 16:20:56

      Yes, packed flight. It’s ironic, too. When I left on the flight from Bali to Australia at the beginning of my journey, I had the whole row to myself! I stretched out and slept for about 5 hours! So I really have had great experiences in the past!

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  3. gerard oosterman
    Dec 13, 2015 @ 16:08:06

    Next time, try and book Jetstar where food and drinks have to be pre-paid for when booking the tickets. You can still order a drink but generally most don’t because it costs extra. Nothing worse than sitting next to boozing couples and enormously overspilling buttocks.

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  4. Diane Struble
    Dec 14, 2015 @ 02:27:28

    What an uncomfortable experience. I am sure you were gracious through all of it. Usually that is the best approach although I think the flight attendant might have been of more help. My flights have usually been uneventful for which I am grateful each time. For awhile I seemed to be seated next to young mothers with babies. As I had just left my own young grandsons, I was all set to assist and did much to the relieft of the babies moms and I had a good time while they got to relax. You just never know.

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  5. Susan Wiste
    Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:54:49

    I am glad you returned safely and are now warm once more!

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