As I wrote this down I was at first appalled at myself but then I remembered why I wrote it down to begin with. It had to do with a flight…
I’ve probably talked before about flights that are full or announced as full and the flight attendants specifically say overhead to grab the first seat available on the flight.
On this particular flight I did just that. I took the first middle seat in the front row bulkhead. The seats so far up that there isn’t a seat in front to store things under. I have to put my belongings above me. I had reasons for this seat. 1. It was free. Not in the cost way. I did pay for it but it was simply open. 2. I had carry-on only and no check-in bag. 3. I didn’t need anything in my carry-on. Like full on ok to put everything but my kindle away.
Of course I got the sneer of contempt from the aisle and window passengers as I sat down, taking the middle seat and disrupting the tradition of making the middle person feel like shit to sit in any seat (on Southwest) you want to because you paid for it. People will take the aisle and window seat and hope no one will disturb their happy world. Yes, it can be inconvenient but, uh… it’s there. A problem to be sure for when I’ve had someone larger than the seat overflow into me and once, forbid, when he fell asleep onto me. On a flight with assigned seating, the problem of disrupted space exists but is mitigated by the circumstances. The seats are assigned. You rolled the dice and lost, or won. That’s just the way it is.
On this flight the sneer progressed to actual words. The window gentleman was upset because his cowboy hat had been in the seat I now occupied, which technically would have needed to be put away anyway. He already had a hook setup to hang it on. He was using it as a potential blocking tool. The aisle gentleman asked me pointedly to move somewhere else further back. I stood up and peaked. It was middle seats as far as the plane went until the very back at this point in the boarding. Uh. No. I’m not a fan of the smell back there of the toilets and engine exhaust. Plus I wanted to get off the plane as fast as possible. I explained these things hoping for some spark of understanding. No spark. He asked me to move again and I, with a smile, pointed out that he was correct that there were many others seats available, primarily middle ones and I would be ok not and bothered at all if he wanted to move somewhere else. For being raised by a gentle mother I really don’t know where I developed such a sharp tongue when it’s used. The words were out before I could stop or filter them, not that I would have in this case.
I didn’t get the impression that he was happy or excited by my words or attitude. This discussion continued for several minutes, including my apparent rudeness for sitting in the sit and not moving when asked, until he realized I wasn’t budging. The flight attendant didn’t get involved at all. Secretly from the way they had been chatting so much when I first got on I actually got the impression she sided with him as she was listening to the entire thing. Most of the flight was in tense silence. Fine by me. I had a book to read anyway, with an overhead light that seemed to be a mild nuisance to my row mates. He handled passing me my drink well. No harsh words and nothing spilled.
The flight ended decently. No blood was shed. I understand I can be down right obstinate (stubborn) at times probably even into an error or, forbid, rude. This time I feel a clear conscience.
I can’t keep or make everyone happy. I paid for a seat, any seat as they tell you, and I had things to do of my own.
I’ll continue to try to be nice and play fair but going PC all the time is stupid and counterproductive. Sometimes you just have to piss someone off, or the PC version, sometimes you have a break a few eggs to make an omelet. Damn. Now I’m hungry.
-Santa’s Fallen Angel