blogitto ergo sum

October 27, 2008

#137 – Armrest[less]

Filed under: Uncategorized — yael [ya-el] wagner @ 20:04
Tags: , , ,

Sitting uncomfortably in an airplane, ready to write about sitting in airplanes. Is it like writing about life instead of living it? Never mind.

So while I know you are waiting to read about Burning Man, Puerto Rico, home and what have you, this is what I feel like writing about and it’ll have to do.

Months ago, I went to Puerto Rico. That chapter has yet to be written. On the first flight [out of 2] back, I got a window seat. Preoccupied with my book , I caught from the corner of my eye a couple standing close to my row, talking in Spanish. They were discussing who’ll sit where, since their seats were aisle apart. The man decided he preferred the seat next to me and set down.

Being first, and reading, I already claimed the armrest. Or at least so I thought. The macho had a very different idea. As his arm met mine, in total violation of the unwritten rules of armrest sharing, instead of pulling back his arm ASAP, Mr. Macho opted for offense. The offensive arm started pushing, and pushing. . .

As I type this I can’t help laughing. This sounds so fictional, so taken from a Christopher Moore or John Welter book. I still find it hard to believe it really happened.

Restless Armrest / Delta Air Lines / AP

Restless Armrest / Delta Air Lines / AP

Back in Puerto Rico, we are still on the ground, but it’s a conflict zone. Not about to give up my tenure of the armrest, I’m pushing back. Uncomfortable by the proximity of the offensive arm, I take my blanket and place it as a barricade between us. I’m building a wall.

A split of a second later, I am shocked by the 2nd attack. Now the guy is spreading his legs open, and aligns his right leg with mine as he opens a 2nd front. Does he want the armrest, or is he looking for human contact, I wonder. Doesn’t matter. My pocketbook becomes part of the wall. When this is not enough, the case of my dear Bose headsets placed between our knees. The jerk’s pressure is such the the case in holding in the air.

it’s not the Berlin wall, it’s not the Western Wall, but it’s a wall in a conflict zone nonetheless. Meanwhile we took off, safety belt sign is off and the crew is passing around with drink and stale snacks. I cease the opportunity to get the UN on my side.

When asked “what would you like to drink”, my answer is “thank you, but before drinking, can you please tell this man to stop pushing himself all over me?”.

Given that I’m not known to be the whispering kind, the mushroom of silence is spreading around me. “Since the second he set down, this man kept pushing himself on me. I find this unacceptable.”

The [Latino male] attendant asks me to calm down. “I’ll calm down when you stop this. I expect you to protect me from such behavior on your flights.” The guy starts chatting with Mr. Macho in Spanish. “He says he did no such thing” is the conclusion of the discussion. “Look at all this”, I point out to the blanket, headset case, and bag. “Do you think I put it here for nothing?”

Mr. Macho opens his mouse. “I understand what you are saying” , he says in a very slow measured diction.

“I don’t care what you understand”, i dismiss the BS.

“What do you want me to do?” asks the attendant.

“I don’t want this guy sitting next to me.”

“Este… “ starts the attendant mouth to form yet another “what do you want me to do” response.

“Make him move and switch seats with his wife” I demand, as I point to the poor woman. Another quick exchange in Spanish and a no-man’s-land territory is established. The Mrs., I’m sad to say, did her best to be invisible, to occupy at little space as possible, and religiously worked on her Sudoku charts, one after another, never looking at me.

Now it was time for a drink.

As we arrived to Atlanta, knowing I have couple of hours before I make my connection, I followed the couple. Mr. Macho put a possessive hand around his wife shoulders, she had a frozen look on her face, looking forward, never turning her head left or right.

Not a word was spoken.

I went looking for a cup of good cappuccino.

Another person’s view can be found Here. And here’s an aggressive-possessive view of the subject.

The Wired, in the how to section couple of years ago, taught its readers how to capture the armrest. the crash course can be found HERE.

Bon Voyage.

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1 Comment »

  1. I love being in new and different places but I hate getting there. From the airport security farce (see this depressing article: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200811/airport-security) to idiot seatmates (I don’t even travel that much, but I have stories), travel is becoming a nearly unbearable chore. Good for you for speaking up. And I love how the attendant views you — the female, of course — as the unreasonable one who needs to calm down. Puh-lease.

    Comment by Lisa Pampuch — October 28, 2008 @ 05:08 | Reply


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