I’m a big fan of the window seat. When travelling alone, I pretty much require it. Everyone knows the middle seat sucks and I don’t like the aisle. I usually book my tickets online and aside from the convenience, online booking is great because you can pick your seats. I always choose the window because I like to sleep on planes, and it is easiest to do in the window seat, and also because when I’m not sleeping, I like to look out the window at the pretty clouds and shit.
Yesterday I board the plane from Portland towards Chicago and I see that there is an old couple sitting in my aisle, and the old lady is sitting in the windows seat. My seat. At this point I could choose one of three options: 1) say nothing and just sit in the available seat, which is the aisle; 2) inform the Biddy that she’s in my seat and demand that she sit in her assigned seat; or 3) point out to the couple that one of them is sitting in the wrong seat, but offer to take the aisle anyway.
In the spirit of educating the couple of their faux-pas so they don’t get into other potentially uncomfortable situations later (people aren’t generally as nice as I am* and next time they may get some belligerent jerk yelling at them), I choose option #3, even though I am tired and want to sleep and everyone knows that trying to sleep in the aisle seat is a losing proposition since you always get clipped by people walking by, and you always have to get out of the seat when the person at the window or middle seat has to use the washroom. Plus, we’ve all seen these situations before where someone is sitting in the wrong seat and the person that calls them on it ends up looking like a big jerk and I didn’t want to be that guy.
What I want to say is, “Excuse me, but this ain’t Southwest Airlines and you can’t just sit anywhere you want – I don’t care how old you are – but all is cool and I’ll take the aisle.” But instead the conversation goes like this:
Me: “Excuse me, I believe you may be sitting in my seat, but I’ll just take the aisle.”
The two of them just look at me and then Biddy says to her husband: “What?”
Me: “I think you are in my seat. But that’s OK – I will just take the aisle.”
One again the two of them look at each other (not me) and she once again asks her husband (again, not me as if I’m not really there): “What?”
Me (directly to the grandma, who has that deer-in-the-headlights look, disturbingly similar to the look the woman who practically ran me over in her car**): “Is that your seat?”
In case you weren't aware, “B’idunno” is a substitute for the phrase “I don’t know” and is commonly used by indifferent teenagers. It is rarely spoken by anyone over the age of 22, let alone an old lady. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to get any other answers or response out of the old bird (frankly, I was expecting a “My goodness! I am sorry for sitting in your seat!”), I just settled into the aisle seat and no further words were exchanged.
And of course I tried to sleep during the flight but was continually woken by the banging of the snack cart, fat people walking down the aisle, and the icing on the cake - the old couple next to me having to evacuate their bowels not just once but TWICE during the 4 hour flight. Moving forward, I do believe that I will no longer be nice to old people (that I'm not related to) - they try to kill me or deprive me of much-needed sleep.
* I suppose this point is debatable.
** Just be warned that as time goes on that whole biking incident story is going to get more dramatic – by next month I will be referring to this story as “the time I was almost killed.”