Trapped in Hell at 20,000 Feet

Today’s guest blogger is Stacey Gustafson. I had the honor of meeting Stacey at the Erma Bombeck Conference this past year. Stacey was foolish enough to take a ride in my ultra cool mom mobile, the minivan, to attend an event at a local library. Who knew there would be two libraries in one town?! Eventually we arrived (late) at the correct library but not before touring some of the surrounding area.

Stacey wrote the hysterical book called, Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives  and has graciously given us a peek inside with her essay below, titled in the book War in the Sky but changed for here because…google.

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 Trapped in Hell at 20,000 Feet

Flying has become tortuous since X-ray body scans, flight cancellations, smaller seats and lost luggage. We travelers are sometimes treated worse than cargo.

But there are strategies to employ in order to survive flying. Southwest Airlines offers an open-seating policy where customers can grab any unclaimed seat. On a recent flight from San Jose to St. Louis, I hatched a scheme. I waited for my number to be called at the terminal, rushed to the first available empty row and grabbed an aisle seat. Then I set a trap like a spider to solicit a seatmate.

Anyone skinny, without kids or a large handbag, and who appeared germ free met my prerequisites. I spotted a possibility and announced to her in a loud voice, “Excuse me. Would you like to sit here?”

“Oh, thanks. How thoughtful,” she said. More like self-serving. But on airlines with assigned seating, your seatmate is a crapshoot. Take a recent Delta flight. Without checking my ticket, I was confident I was in the right row and grabbed a prized aisle seat. I stowed my books, attached the seat belt and waited. And watched. A rather portly man came barreling down the aisle, eyeing my area.

Oh God, please no. Just keep walking. Let’s just get it out here—one size seat does not fit all. He lumbered by.

I survived the next wave of crying kids, sneezing teenagers and businessmen with briefcases. A slim, petite woman smiled in my direction. Jackpot, come on over. She fumbled to check her ticket and said, “You’re in my seat.” I checked and rechecked my ticket. She checked hers again. Damn, I had the wrong seat.

I returned to the main aisle and moved down a few rows. Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a man over 6’4” and 250 lbs. was in the aisle seat of my row. I squeezed past Big Guy, climbed over his huge shoes, oversized coat, bulging briefcase and big bag of greasy takeout food. I avoided eye contact out of pure irritation.

Then the flight attendant announced, “Put away all electronics. Buckle your seat belt.”

Mr. Big dug around his seat searching for the belt, knocking me in the chest with his mammoth elbow. “Sorry. Can’t find the darn seatbelt.”

A few more jabs to my ribs and the search was over. I glanced out the corner of my eye to watch him buckle in, no seatbelt extender necessary. Whoosh, like a can of biscuits, flesh exploded over and under the armrest and filled in all available spaces.

After removing his shoes and stuffing the extra blanket under my footrest, he asked, “Honey, could you please turn on the overhead light?”

That was his opportunity to snatch my armrest. My skinny arms were no match for his muscular, oversized appendages. I tried to ignore my discomfort and took a short nap. When I awoke, I discovered my tray table down, crowded with a cup of water, a can of soda, a coffee mug with the contents half finished, and The New York Times. An iPad was squeezed to the side, the cord dangling across my lap.

I let out a sigh and fought to keep my mouth shut. Despite its size, the tiny bathroom would be a welcomed reprieve from the cramped setting.

“I need to go,” I said, and rolled my eyes as he removed all his items from my tray table. Then he stood and let me by.

Over the loudspeaker, the flight attendant said, “Due to turbulence, you’ll need to return to your seat, please.”

You’ve got to be kidding.

In my hurry to be reseated, Big Guy moved to the middle seat. Despite his “nice” gesture, sitting in the aisle seat proved as bad. He leaned on me the rest of the flight, bending my spine like a case of scoliosis. I was so far into the aisle my head got clubbed by the drink cart.

Soon our captain announced, “Prepare for landing.”

Once on the ground, I gave Big Guy a smooch on the lips. Then I whispered in my husband’s ear, “Thanks for the terrific vacation,” squeezed his arm and motioned for our kids in another row to wait for us at the exit.

Maybe next time I can be upgraded to first class.

SGustafsonGB

 

Funny shit right?! Well you can follow the rest of Stacey and her awesomeness here:

Blog: StaceyGustafson.com

Amazon: Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives

FB: https://www.facebook.com/stacey.gustafson

G+ : http://plus.google.com/+StaceyGustafson

twitter: @RUKiddingStacey

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/RUKiddingStacey

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc1NoZfKsW4&list=UU_DHCY4GOXfRbx2syA-lHMA

Bio:

Stacey Gustafson is an author, humor columnist, and blogger who has experienced the horrors of being trapped inside a pair of SPANX. Her blog, Are You Kidding Me? is based on her suburban family and everyday life. Her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and seven books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Her work appears in Midlife Boulevard, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, ZestNow, More.com, Pleasanton Patch, Lost in Suburbia, Better After 50 and on her daughter’s bulletin board.

She lives in California with her husband and two teenagers that provide an endless supply of inspiration. She writes about parenting and daily frustrations like her dislike of the laundry, self-checkout lanes, public restrooms, Brussels sprouts, roundabouts, and being middle-aged. Her book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives was released September 2014, available on Amazon.

Stacey Gustafson

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  1. HAHAHA…More reasons why I hate to fly.