Friday, June 23, 2006

What is it about the Middle Seat?

Hilarity on Flight 20 from San Francisco to New York. I had to connect through SFO because of a frequent flyer situation. When I got on the plane, and I was happily sitting in my aisle seat in the middle section, a yarmulke-man maniacally stuffed his bag in a compartment that was already full, the whole time tossing pillows onto his seat that would soon be his, right next to me. He got in the middle seat, put a pillow on each arm rest and mumbled, “I need them for my elbows,” and took over way too much space for a man his size. The guy to his right (I was on his left) was annoyed, pushed the pillow off his arm rest and looked to me for support in disliking this man. I actually found the little pillow nut amusing.

We began to talk. He was very warm, this Orthodox Jew with the light blue eyes and sandy colored hair and small hands that almost looked like they were deformed. He is a venture capitalist for digital start-ups, “Some rise, some fail, it’s what I do.” He lives in Israel, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It’s only thirty minutes in either direction. He lives in one of those settlements that if the wall is built, it will cut off Palestinians from their olive orchards. Completely Zionist and having moved to Israel for ideological purposes, I found him fascinating. I liked him. But I did notice that he was a little nutty.

I fell asleep and I woke up to his rustling. Apparently, it was time for him to pee. Instead of asking the guy to his right to get up so he could go, he just jumped up onto the arms of the seats and crawled right over the guy. This woke me up. The crawled-over guy stood there in the aisle and looked at me for support in thinking this guy was an annoying fool. I had to give him the eyebrow lift, “Yeah, he’s whacked.”

But I still liked that wacky Israelie. He was open and articulate. And, he was pretty calm, though firm, in his Zionism.

The kicker at the end of the flight---the woman behind us in the middle seat got very drunk. To the point of passing out. When we landed, a fireman escorted her off the plane. On the gangplank, the airline made sure she was helped. As she was wobbling into the portable hallway tube, the flight attendant said to her, “We just want to help you. Sometimes the exit can move and we don’t want you to get hurt.” From the tone, I could tell the flight attendant was trained to avoid lawsuits.


RebeccaW said...

Well, you are a better human being than I am. I had an immediate negative reaction to the Zionist. He is no different on an airplane than anywhere else - taking space by force. Probably thinks God granted him both armrests.

Mr. H.K. said...

This reminds me that I just can't bear to fly anymore!