Flying Over I-95 N. In Magic Kingdom.

Is that Magic Kingdom? Disney? Yes. Were you there? No. But Yes, in gusts of memories as I sat in a large ballroom at the J.W. Marriott in Orlando, listening to a speaker discuss “Cybersecurity in the Modern World.” Fastpasses. Teacup. Turkey legs. Splash Mountain. The monorail train ride to the park, Eric’s favorite part of the trip. The body aches, as I carry him on my shoulders along the parade route so he can see over the crowds. It’s a Small World (afterall).

It’s the late afternoon flight departing from Orlando — the 5:41 p.m. on jetBlue #1694.  “We will be boarding in a few minutes. This is a full flight. We are oversold and looking for volunteers to take the next flight.”  A morning flight was canceled “due to inclement weather in New York.” Why ‘inclement?’ Why not ‘bad’? Or ‘stormy.’ Or ‘wintry.’

A large crowd mills around the gate, impatient. “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the other by the time I finish this song.”

Mom’s, exhausted, shoulders slumped, have large bags slung over their shoulders. They watch their children run around the waiting area, others are consumed on their handhelds. Dad’s sit and watch loops of CNN on the overhead TVs.  Moms, Dads, kids, holiday, Disney and then me — the Suit, work.

We board.

We lift off.

The bird banks sharply left, the wings bobble hard left, right, and left again. Our pilot, in his 2nd flight of the day, straightens us out and the plane surges up, up, up to 38,000 feet. It’s all a bloody miracle how this all works, tons of steel, more than 7 miles up.

There is airplane etiquette. Unwritten rules. No stinky food. Middle seat gets the armrest. (Non negotiable). Keep control of your kids (babies get a pass).  Don’t kick the back of the seat. Keep your shoes on damn it. No clipping nails (and surely not toenails.) And no pulling on the back of the seat in front of you to hoist yourself up as you get up to go to the bathroom. And in Economy, don’t recline your seat.

I strictly obey.

And I’m a stickler for the rules. Decency. Courtesy. Respect. Be Human in this confined space damn it.

And it starts. Behind me. Tray table is opened and slammed shut. A knee to the back of the seat. Then another. Three trips to the lav (no objection), with a hard pull on the back of the seat and then another to straighten out, with one inadvertent brush to the top of my head. (Objection. Major code violation here.)

I glance back after the 5th infraction. I’m sure this human just can’t help themselves, saddled with a handicap, blind from birth, or some other just-can’t-help-themselves malady. Nope. Male. Middle Aged. Normal height and weight. Not blind. EQ indeterminable but surely well below average.

We’ve moved on to the sixth infraction, when he grabs the back of my seat, sits down heavily, pulls his tray table back down heavily — and this, this, is a Red Line way crossed.

Enough. Hammurabi. Eye for an Eye.  I reach for the recline button, tense up my torso and slam my 200 lbs into the back of my seat. I hear something hit the floor, an “ooof” and then a “Hey!” coming from behind me. I turn and apologize: “Oh, I’m so sorry!”

The video monitor updates flight status: 65 minutes to ground. I close my eyes and drift off.

Smiling.

120 minutes to Home.

210 minutes to Bed, my Bed.

Additional infractions? None.  

Humans? Still, Quiet, Resting.


Notes:

Comments

  1. Laughing – all of it..,the ride to the park? Yup, the favorite part of the trip for my boys. The frequent flyer vs the neophyte who doesn’t know the drill and/or the person who doesn’t give a damn – yes, all of it (and don’t forget the rules about respecting the overheads). I’m really glad you’re home, pal…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. the hockey player in you lives on… love it

    Like

  3. Oh my — you ARE human after all, David! So funny! EQ warfare deftly executed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I took three trips to Disney with the family (wife and daughters went two, additional times, but left me behind because I’m no fun) All three of my trips were during the Summer, so “Its a Small World” became “5 minutes of air-conditioned, sitting down, Disney Magic. Moving on to flying, I hate/avoid it now because of the rampant rudeness (and that’s just starting with many employees of the airline/airport).

    For the record, I have never reclined my seat and I’ll leave it at that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL. I like how you handled it. We flew to the UK from Vancouver (that´s 9 hours.) Hubby, who is ultra-polite and a bit shy, sat in the window seat and didn’t get up until about 7 hours into the flight. (bladder of steel) He carefully made his way down the aisle of sleeping passengers, picking his way around feet, arms and children. An elderly woman suddenly slouched to the side and hubby bumped her hat (who wears a hat on a plane anyway??) She jumped up and berated him for disturbing her sleep all night. Apparently, there was a British curling team further back from us who had been drinking and carrying on. Poor hubby got the blame. He never leaves his seat anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this piece Dave!
    On second infraction, I turn around. Smile. “Is everything okay?” If they apologize I let it pass. If not, I recline my seat.
    Lesson learned.
    The trainer in me smiles.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Flying used to be so much fun when I was younger. Most of the time if I get a window seat I can be in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very amusingly written. But, didn’t you begin (singing) “it’s a small world after all…”? I am so grateful that I’ve never had to go to Disney anything, but I am not a grump when anyone else goes or is planning to go–like a friend who has just returned with the family and an 8 year old grandson. I’ll bet they were delayed…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. as much suspense building in your post, as there was in my last hitchcock film ! bam!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Peggy Farrell says:

    You truly have a way with words, Dave. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So, so, so true! That line — oh — how I can relate. Too funny! I must confessed that I was giggling through your description of the most painful moments!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Beautiful photo … OMG!! The story!! Wow …

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love it, pal! Only you could employ the Code of Hammurabi in a plane full of Mouseketeers. My hubby has a similar outlook on inconsiderate behavior. When driving, he often bemoans the fact that he can’t give an offensive driver a little ‘NASCAR tap.’

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Yes, flying used to be exciting and fun. You know what ruined it? Airlines charging fees for bags – now everyone brings an overstuffed carry-on, overfills the overhead bins, and getting in & out of a seat requires the agility of an Olympian.

    I’m 5’2″, check my suitcase and carry a small laptop bag than can stow by my feet ~ (can’t reach the overhead anyways) – always choose a window seat and stay there till the plane lands.

    But I can’t count the times I took an overstuffed carry-on to the head/face/shoulder/elbow without even an acknowledgement.

    Generally the window seat works for me b/c no one wants it ~ and sometimes the travelers next to me are chatty and lovely, othertimes I’m inches away from breath of a goat’s toenail with nowhere to go.

    Ahh humanity! 🙂

    fun post DK
    MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Michael Zahaby says:

    I felt that pain. Anymore people act as if they are in their own “living rooms”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I like your way of dealing with this self-absorbed ME, ME, ME person. There’s a huge population of them out there these days and their numbers are growing. May they end up bouncing off each other when our generation is gone.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Bob Agamalian says:

    Great piece. Thanks for saying what many of us are thinking when we fly.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Binmatee Sohan says:

    Happy Saturday Dave – My tummy is hurting from laughter as I read this post :). Disney is such a magical and fun place and brings out the child in most adults. That said I agree air travel has turned into a real hassle. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As a non-recliner, I agree with you totally, there’s a point of no return. What you may need however, is a vacation Mr K and unwind some of that built up tension ha ✈️✈️🌈

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Reminds me of theatre infractions, David; you know, the knee or feet of a man/woman/child kicking the back of your chair! It’s amazing how a deliberate turn (with or without a smile) to look them squarely in the eye can turn a man/woman/child into an apologetic wimp! Only tells me they know they are doing something that is considered impolite. If not confronted will they continue?! Probably!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. once a goon, always a goon…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ahh. Another fine lesson in Passive Aggressive Living.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ah, the code. I advocate for a mandatory test before onboarding. It would immediately create more breathing space. My two AA flights this week were glaring exceptions to the rule…no infractions. But yours sound pretty good…when seen in writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Such fun to read – you are a saint…. Our most memorable encounter with unacceptable behavior was in our own car when we transported two women with a small son in the back of it to our house. They were ‘part of a group’ of invited guests but they were not – they just tagged along and had no transport…. Already that grated a bit with us but then, hey, we’re nice, human and kind – so ok, hop in – we can do that (3 +/- on a total of 30+ doesn’t matter). The little boy kicked the back of the driver’s seat relentlessly. We told him to stop it, we told the mother to tell her boy to stop it – he DID NOT…. As if this wasn’t enough, they came through to the kitchen and the mother demanded (not asked for) a glass of a drink for her son. I said: Excuse me (in french of course)? She repeated: Give me a drink now! I said: NO – in my country we learned to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and when invited to somewhere to behave in an acceptable manner…. so until you don’t ask me nicely, you are not getting a drink. She nearly fainted on me! How dare I? (Well, there must have been a reason why she wouldn’t have been invited to our place before… or not? But she was just ‘staying with friends’ when them were part of our invitation, so…. I still don’t know).
    The kid got even later on (no not us, him!). He threw any pieces of toys we had out for the kids over the wall of our property and we found some of it years later when the city council cleaned up the trees outside our land….

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I felt your pain, David. All the way through! We had a Disney (mis)adventure but no planes involved… We had a horrid, awful, terrible experience wiith United Airlines who will NEVER get my business again and I shall badmouth till the day I die…. Good on you for the body slam. Bet you wish it was more than your seat… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Not supposed to recline?
    My big infraction in Orlando was to take my fishing gear on a tour bus. I had the driver drop me off between stops and started wade fishing in one of the creeks next to the road. I got pretty way back into one. “Roadside water” had turned into a swamp, and that’s when I realized I was in the gator capital of the world. I made my way out of the thicket, and came to a clear area. About that time I snagged a fish. As I reeled him in I heard a bus roll up behind me. The driver says over the microphone ”Here we have a typical tourist enjoying himself on a little fishing trip”. My fish jumped, the people in the bus yelled. I tried to drag it out as long as I could and when I pulled my prize from the water it was only about 6 inches long. I turned to the bus and held it high while everyone cheered.
    Despite my seemingly offhand performance,, I felt pretty dumb, and waited for the next bus to take me out of the swamp.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow. Sorry. I’m still laughing. What a story!

      Like

      • Wow. I never knew these rules before! I ALWAYS take my shoes off! Not to have bare feet, nor to go to the bathroom, yuck. And I recline my seat. Sorry but I DO. Fucking economy and claustrophobia do not go hand-in-hand. And grabbing the back of a seat to avoid falling into someone’s lap as I try and wedge my modestly-sized frame back into my place in the sardine can? Guilty. Sometimes. Though I always pick an aisle seat when I can. Yes, corral your kids. Pass on screaming babies? What can a person do, but yikes. Air travel is not easy. Except possibly – very possibly – on Alaska Air. I love these people. Aloha. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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