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):
It was great seeing you again Josh, along with the hikes and climbing of various “Suicide Rocks.” Sorry about the heavy person on the way back, but I guess that’s why they design planes with arm rests and business class.
Loved seeing your pictures, Josh. A few breathtakers there. And your writing made me laugh outloud in my Heartside office, though I’m sorry for your discomfort on the trip. Glad to hear the rest of your vacation was good. Bet Mary was happy to have you back home!
I think the first thing Mary said to me was something along the lines of, “boy, the house sure stayed clean while you were gone.”
Wow– those are some fantastic pictures. Where in SoCal were you? JT? I sat next to a guy on a flight from LAX to ORD like that one time. Ironically, he was a figure skating coach.
All the deserty rock-filled pics are from Joshua Tree National Park. I flew into Ontario and stayed with family in Yucaipa so we did a little hiking around there and also up the nearby mountains. LA to Chicago I’m sure was much worse than my jump from Salt Lake City to Yakima.