I was just settling into my window seat, Sour Patch Kids ready, book open, legs stretched as far forward as possible, weight shifted for optimum comfort, elbow established on arm rest, when a gigantic shadow suddenly loomed in my periphery. An involuntary grimace of horror crept across my face as I looked up to find the back end of a 300 lb man pivoting into the open aisle seat. The man seemed familiar with the grimace and gave what might have been an apologetic half-smile. He pointed at the arm rest and asked “Do you mind of I flip that up a minute?” I moved my elbow quickly, with visions of Aron Ralston flashing through my head.
(Later the investigators would scratch their heads in wonder. “It’s as if his cries were muffled by some sort of insulating barrier that made this aisle completely sound proof. See here. This is where he tried to saw his own arm off with his car keys.”)
The seat groaned as the man shifted his hips back and forth settling into his seat and into part of mine. He reached back to flip down the arm rest, giving it a good push so that it disappeared under his side fat and came to rest perched on his hip fat at an angle most certainly not horizontal. “Boy these planes keep getting smaller and smaller, don’t they?” I shook the grimace off my face and searched for something unoffensive to reply.
“Uh, your hip fat is touching me.”
Wait, that’s not what I said.
“Yeah, no kidding.”
That’s what it was. With my own elbow now crushed against my rib cage and my foot space reduced by 50 percent I curled toward the window dodging any further small talk. The smell of a day’s worth of airplane-bound-fat-man-sweat wafted into my corner as we idled on the runway. Inexplicably, the overhead jet of air turned off.
But, other than that, the rest of my trip to California over the past week was superb. I spent six days catching up with family and hiking and scrambling anywhere we could find sun (mostly in the desert, but also Suicide Rock near Idyllwild). Lots of pictures can be found here (probably have to wait for all the mini photos to load before the slide show will start working). And here’s a taste of a couple of shots I liked (among many):