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Sleepless Out of Seattle

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Life in the Boomer Lane, in an effort to travel as inexpensively as possible, always flies coach, never purchases direct flights and leaves at ungodly times of the day. Because her flight from Seattle to Chicago yesterday was at 6AM, and because she had spent the evening before watching the Seattle Seahawks obliterate the San Francisco 49ers for both the NFC Championship and a slot at the Super Bowl, she got about 15 minutes of sleep before leaving her son’s house at 4:20AM for Sea-Tac airport.

Predictably, the airport was filled with Seahawks fans in various stages of euphoria, sleep deprivation, and migraine, and 49er fans with little reason to live.

LBL had an aisle seat. A large man took his seat at the window. LBL took her seat at the aisle. LBL, in an attempt to bond with a fellow traveler, asked him if he was returning from the Seahawks game. The conversation went like this:

LBL: Great game, huh?
Window Man: Yeah.
LBL: Were you actually in the stadium?
WM: Yeah
LBL: Wow, I know everyone went crazy
WM: Yeah.
LBL: So, will the Seahawks win the Super Bowl?
WM: Yeah.

Enter an extremely large gentleman, who takes the middle seat. LBL is aware that most men, no matter how enlightened they may be in others areas of their lives, will pounce on arm rests with the bravado of a pro magnum hunting a mammoth. She is also aware that large men become larger when forced to fit their bodies into minuscule airplane seats. This is the same phenomenon that occurs when the human body is packed into Spanx. The fat will then blob out in another area entirely. Large men (not necessarily fat men) will pack themselves into their seats, but vast areas of unusually long arms and legs will then blob out into the surrounding area and become even larger. This is a scientific fact.

Extremely large Man turns to Window Man.

ELM: Great game huh?
WM: You said it, man. I was on the 3 yard line. Man, I saw (insert 10 minutes of description here of what he saw)
ELM: Damn. Reminded me of the (insert random team) in (insert random year). The defense rocks. (insert 10 minutes of comparisons between other teams in other years and how their defense compared to the Seahawks). I only wish the offense (insert 10 minutes of comparisons between other teams in other years and how their offense compared to Napoleon’s forces leading up to Waterloo.)

Conversation continues for another 30 minutes: blah blah Kaep played well but killed his team with turnovers blah blah I’m guessing Golden Tate thinks the clinching interception should’ve been called a touchdown catch blah blah San Fran should have called a TO anyhow with 48 seconds left on a running clock blah blah 49ers need to think about bringing Alex Smith back blah blah….

Just when LBL thinks she will be forced to go into a coma to avoid further listening, ELM suddenly manifests the need to sleep. Not wanting to disturb his fellow Seahawks fan to his left, he shifts to the right, places his head into the space between his seat back and LBL’s seat back, and appropriates the entire armrest, while making a large V out of his arm. Now most of his arm is in LBL’s space, and his elbow is jabbing into LBL’s left breast. He closes his eyes, and in about five seconds he is asleep. His head rolls completely to the right, banging onto the back of LBL’s seat. LBL hasn’t seen a mouth that open and that close to her body since she stopped spoon feeding her youngest child.

LBL doesn’t know whether to be horrified, irate, or grateful that there will be no more football talk. She stands up and waits for the flight attendant to come by. She announces that she can no longer sit in her seat and points to the large Open Mouth lolling onto her seat back. The flight attendant responds with “Full flight,” and continues to walk down the aisle.

LBL will not be deterred. She stands on tiptoes and notices several vacant middle seats. When the flight attendant comes back, she points them out. The flight attendant says, “Oh those aren’t seats. They are stationary drop down tables. “ LBL has never heard of the Stationary Drop Down Table aspect of airplanes. Do people pay extra to acquire a second drop down table in order to accommodate large amounts of snacks they bring onboard? Wouldn’t the airline be better off selling these spaces as seats?

LBL is forced to sit down again and to endure Extremely Large Open Mouth Man occupying half of her seat. (Note to readers: Do not ask why LBL has not confronted this man or, at the very least, dropped Hershey’s kisses wrappers into his mouth. Now Husband has already taken this path with her and has received no acceptable answer). Instead, LBL reverts to Victim Mode, and wallows there until ELOMM wakes up as suddenly as he fell asleep.

The final 30 minutes of the flight consist of the two men discovering they share a host of political opinions that are, to LBL, extremely unsavory. While she is now able to reoccupy part of her seat, she does so at a high cost to her brain cells.

Mercifully, the conversation comes to an end when the flight attendant announces the locations of connecting flights, and LBL grabs her pen in order to record the gate to her flight to Washington, DC. She is still so unnerved at the awareness that a devotee of Sarah Palin has been breathing onto her for the last two hours, that she has failed to notice that the pen she now holds has apparently exploded during the flight. Her hands are now almost completely covered in blue ink. She tries to wipe them off with Hershey’s Kisses wrappers.

Extremely Large Man glances at her with an expression indicating dismay at being forced to sit next to such an uncouth person. LBL hope he is making the decision never to ride in coach again.

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