Sitting in the middle when flying can be frustrating

By John Toth
Bulletin Publisher

The guy next to me was a brave soul, although rude. We were minutes away from landing when he decided to use the restroom in the back of the plane.

I thought it would be really neat if we landed while my unfriendly seat mate was in the restroom. I imagined how he would hold on to dear life while the tires hit the runway.

He’d be in that little lavatory bouncing up and down, trying not to miss. Then he would try to zip up and wash his hands while the reverse thrust slowed the plane down.

To my great disappointment, the guy made it back to his seat next to me in ample time. He must have set a new record for going No. 1. I don’t think he had time to wash his hands, so I let him have the whole armrest.

Then, somebody behind me decided to go. I guess he got the idea from the rude guy next to me. He also made it back, but barely. I know he couldn’t have washed his hands.

I had the pleasure – cynicism intended – recently of flying a full, Southwest Airlines cattle-call flight to and from Colorado to enjoy some much deserved rest and relaxation while also doing a little work.

Since I bought the super cheapo tickets, Sharon, my wife, and I were some of the last ones to board the flight. Others, who paid more, were already seated and hoped that we didn’t sit next to them.

Cheapskates like us, those boarding last, get a lot of dirty looks from people in the window and aisle seats. They want that middle seat to stay open. So, when I got ready to make my move into one of the middle seats, this younger guy acted like I just insulted him.

I figured that if he really wanted more room, he would have flown first class on an airline with assigned seating. Those who fly the working man’s airline can’t have their cake and eat it, too. Someone like me is going to take that middle seat.

The objecting individual often stays quiet for the duration of the flight, which is fine with me. I can then take control of the armrest. He would have to talk to protest. And, if I feel like my aisle seat mate is really rude, I will have to go to the bathroom at least three times, but not while we’re landing.

As we were boarding, this one guy in the crowded plane was a real jerk when I asked him if he would move so that Sharon and I could sit together. I retaliated by asking Sharon to sit next to him. He would have been much better off being agreeable.

The guy next to me wasn’t much better. He polished off two beers, as did Sharon’s seatmate, during a two-hour flight. He also took his laptop out and pretended that he was an important person who had to work even on the plane. It was an older laptop running Windows XP.

My Android has to be faster than that piece of junk. I asked him what speed it was, but he didn’t answer.

I looked over his shoulder and saw that he was busy working on some presentation about garbage collection and recycling. I’m not belittling his work, but I have a feeling it could have waited. He did it so that he would look busy, and I would get the message that he didn’t want to talk.

So, I had to go to the bathroom ... again.

Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to knock that laptop into your lap. But it is called a laptop, after all.