The flight I was on Monday afternoon was a doozy and that was not due to anything except my seat mate. She and I are in the same weight class except I am a full foot taller. The mass of humanity in our row was rounded out by a gentleman matching my own size. This is three people that NEED to fly business class… just not right next to each other.
I say that to set the table for this story. She was trying like hell to not touch either of us and before we took off I was exhausted just watching her. I asked if she would be okay with raising the armrest between us so I could get a little more room and in exchange she could lean against me for the entire flight.
I thought she was going to cry which was NOT what I wanted to happen but she quickly agreed. And we were on our way. She kept her arms crossed in a weird hugging yourself pose that still seemed unsustainable on a 3 hour flight but it seemed to comfort her and although we were touching she didn’t take full advantage of the offered lean. Then she got comfortable. So comfortable in fact that she fell loss of control leaning against me asleep.
I put on my leave me alone headphones and proceeded to get lost in an audiobook. I drifted to sleep as well until I was rudely shaken awake. Technically it was second hand shake as the stewardess was aggressively on her shoulder and I could make out something about a seatbelt.
The sky waitress couldn’t tell if my seat mate was wearing her belt and since our third was off doing damage to the toilet she decided to take action.
Answering an immediate question groggy from a nap is tough but the stew kept pressing. I had by this point uncovered the ear facing the situation to make it clear I was listening but that didn’t deter her from treating my nap buddy like crap. When I tried to reassure the belted status I was told that no one was talking to me…
This was a pickle as I would normally lash out verbally as it is one of my core competencies but before I could the lady proved her status as a tethered passenger. My verbal response would have been risky though as the stews are granted an inordinate amount of power to keep the plane safe and no one wants to be met by police on landing.
After it was over I apologized to my seat mate because some people are shitty. Her response made me smile as she told me she worked for the AFACWA which is the flight attendants union and she would be getting her new friends information before disembarking the aircraft. I LOVE shit like that. Karma is a traveler.