The best airplane story ever

Clarification: By "the best airplane story ever" I mean "the most embarrasing airplane story ever." I find my own humiliation amusing.

I called Michael Dukakis an ass on the flight home from San Francisco. True story.

Let me back up a bit.

So I'm boarding the plane and as I walk toward my seat I see a couple are already seated in the middle and aisle seats. As they're getting up to let me in I say, "That's funny--they usually board the window seats first so you don't have to climb over other passengers in your row."

"They don't do that anymore," the woman says. Which I know is not true, but whatever.

So basically I sat next to Mike and Kitty for about six and a half hours without recognizing them. Although I did think that the man, who had a large Greek nose and very bushy eyebrows, looked a little like Dukakis. At one point I thought to myself that he could be a professional impersonator. At another point I wondered if Mike Dukakis has a brother. Then I looked at her and thought that she looked a tiny little bit like Kitty Dukakis. What an amazing coincidence, I thought.


Anyway, it turns out that Mike Dukakis is an armrest hog. In fact, his elbow was actually touching me almost the entire flight. Seriously, there's a reason people choose the aisle or the window. It's so that you don't have to come into contact with people. And if you're in the middle seat I think you just have to suck it up and keep your arms to yourself.

So, in a very subtle way, I started to jostle his arm a little bit. Just the part that was extending into my personal space, as if it were an accident. I would shift and stretch a little bit and give his arm a little push off the armrest and then say "Oh, sorry!" I did this about 15 times and if anything he encroached further into my space ... to the point that I had to reach UNDER HIS HAND to control the volume and change the channel on MY armrest.

That's when I called him an ass. I said it under my breath and in a loud airplane. It's entirely possible that he didn't hear me.

I'm so sure he heard me.

In my defense, by the way, I never heard him speak during the flight. If I had, there would have been no doubt that it was him. But I had my noise-cancelling headphones on (best investment ever) and he was reading a book the entire time.

So now we've landed and the woman pulls out her cell phone, dials a number and hands it to the man. And, very casually, I take of my headphones, because at this point I want to hear his voice.

And he says, "Hi, so-and-so, Mike Dukakis here ... yes, Kitty will be there at 10 tomorrow morning."

Awesome. Could I possibly be MORE of an idiot?

Well, of course, it turns out that I can. During the flight he started sneezing and I may have been a little bit overly dramatic when I put my sweater up to cover my mouth and nose and pressed my body against the wall of the airplane to get as far away from his germs as possible.

When the airplane reached the terminal and people started getting up, a man standing behind the couple claps Dukakis on the back and says "Hello, Governor!" And after they chat for a while about politics a woman sitting in front of us turns around and puts her hand on his arm and says "I just want to thank you for all of your service."

That's when I started pretending I was a foreign tourist. Honestly, if I could speak French I would have pulled out my cell phone and faked a conversation in French. Moi? I am but a foreigner in this land who would have no idea that you are a former Massachusetts Governor and that you ran for President (until your campaign tanked--ha, ha).


massmarrier said...

Hey, think like a guy. He's little. You almost certainly could have taken him. ;->

Rob said...

I'm confused by what you mean that airlines seat window seat passengers first. I've never seen that, I've only seen them seat certain sections of the plane in order. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

I've been flying quite regularly for many years and I've never been on a flight where they seat window passengers first.

Anonymous said...

Your theory that aisle and window passengers "want to be left alone" and that the middle person should not use an arm rest is weird. Do you fly a lot? To where? Cause I don't want to sit by you.

Anonymous said...

You should get help...professional help.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry he had to sit next to you. You sound like the difficult one.

eeka said...

Good gourd, anonymous. This is a cute story, and it seems like she shows quite a bit of self-awareness in terms of recognizing that she was a bit out of line. Relax.

Ron Newman said...

If you're feeling bad about all this, you could send him a letter of apology (anonymously, if you want).

Anonymous said...

Was this your first time flying?

I'd dread ever having to sit anywhere near you in a enclosed space.

Do you also wear surgical masks in public? Perhaps carry excessive amounts of tissue to wrap around your hands when opening doors?

Maybe you could wrap yourself entirely in duct tape and seal yourself from any possible contact with humanity.

Gienna said...

Interesting responses ... I think a few of you are missing the humor in the story. And are you seriously telling me you all have never done anything like this in your entire lives? Had something like this happen to you?

@massmarrier and Eeka: Thanks for taking this in the spirit in which it was intended.

OK, let's see. Yes, I fly a lot and on a lot of different airlines. I could be wrong about the seating, but they were sitting back there in the section all alone and I thought that was strange. My point was that I'm so stupid I didn't realize that of course they were seated before everyone else because they are so well-known. (Except, apparently, to me.)

For those of you who don't want to sit next to me: I wouldn't want to sit next to me, either.

To the middle-seat theory doubter I say: Nu-uh, you're weird! Now you say: "I know you are but what am I?"

At Ron: I should apologize? He's the armrest hog!

Smiles @ everyone. It's just a story, OK? I might have even exaggerated a little--it's called self-deprecation, I think.

Gienna said...

Also, I have a feeling I owe Universal Hub a big hug.

Audrey said...

can people take anything lightly anymore?

this is a hilarious story, but this is even more hilarious:

"Maybe you could wrap yourself entirely in duct tape and seal yourself from any possible contact with humanity."

Gienna said...

That made me laugh, too. I'm buying duct tape today!

jenne said...

this story rocks, and so do you!

don't look at me! said...

Anonymous, I've seen your posts before and you are no more amusing now than you ever were.

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Loved your blog as usual. I guess some people just don't understand you. But really, did you whip out your camera and take a picture?


karenology said...

I'm betting anonymous = Dukakis.

Anonymous said...

I want your babies. Or you can have mine. All seventeen of them.

I love you.

I would (also ?) love you to sit next to me: you get the middle seat, tho'.

As for that plonker Anonymous ...


Gienna said...

Hmmm, an interesting proposal from the most recent anonymous ... oh: are those your initials, or is that a contented sigh?

Anonymous said...

She responded !

Therefore a contented sigh, rather than deflation :-)