Wednesday, February 17, 2010


When you book a flight, unless you're flying with family or friends, you never know who you'll be seated next to on the plane.

Let me back up just a little. As I was standing in the long security line at the Seattle airport today, I couldn't help but notice a woman in the snaking line near me. She was on the phone and I heard her say, Honey, are you griping? Are you griping at me? She had on a low- cut shirt and was nearly spilling out of it.

Fast forward. You guessed it - they seated her in the same row as I. There was an empty seat between us. Well before we took off, she left her seat. When she returned, one of the flight attendants came up to her and asked Did you just have a cigarette in the restroom? "Oh, no. I just put on some perfume." Then she proceeded to eat a bag of M & Ms, followed by a Payday candy bar, and then she ate a long tube of malted milk balls. We hadn't left the gate yet. She had a huge red and white teddy bear in the empty seat between us. It had a big Valentine heart on it's chest. Three flight attendants came to her to tell her her big carry-on bag and her large purse had to be stashed under the seat. She moved them slightly.

When we took off, she started looking toward the window. She said to me, Are those clouds? I told her yes, and we were above them and climbing higher. She told me I've never rode in a plane before! I pointed out Mt. Rainier to her. She was impressed. She said her 100 year old grandmother had died in Minnesota and she was coming back for her funeral. She was at peace with that.

A flight attendant came by to offer the small video machines (sorry, I can't remember the name of them - but Alaska Airlines is the only airline I have flown on that offers them). The woman said she'd like one, so the attendant gave one to her and showed her the available movies. It was $6 - credit or debit cards only. The woman only had cash. The attendant let her use it anyway. She kindly offered to share the movie with me. I thought that was nice, even though I declined.

I noticed she couldn't sit still. She lay this way and that way. She ordered a cup of water and took some pills. She sprawled out on two seats, not watching the movie at all. Eventually a flight attendant came by and told her an entire row was empty further back and she could stretch out, so she moved back there.

I have to say this was really interesting to me. I didn't see her again, but I hope she will be okay. I've gotten to fly a lot and probably take it for granted. Oh, I still love the feeling of the take off. But for the rest of the flight, it's nice - it's comfortable.

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