you lose, or you lose
November 17, 2009
Remember how I couldn’t stand the heat in the RedBox kitchen? I dithered and dawdled, and ended up renting Twilight or something.
Flying Southwest Airlines takes that pressure and doubles it.
First, you have to try to get some kind of fancy early check in, so you can stand next to one of the low-numbered shiny posts at the gate. But that’s just for starters. When they call your number RANGE, you head for the jetway and the real jockeying begins. Some business traveler with an earpiece elbowed me to get to the cabin door first. And I don’t mean “elbowed me” in some kind of figurative, he got the hole-shot sense.
No. I mean he ELBOWED me. I looked incredulously at the woman just behind me, in that brothers-in-arms way where I’m hoping she’ll have my back. She shrugged and smiled, as if to say “What? First time on Southwest? Cowboy up Nancy!”
So then you have to pick a seat. Sure, that sounds easy. But what if you’re like the 20th person getting on? How do you choose? Some of the people ahead of you studiously avoid looking up, like they’re hostages trying not to get noticed when the crazy man wants to send a statement to the FBI negotiators.
And others look up almost hopefully, like they are hoping for company. There’s not as much of that.
A few look up with a totally hostile glare, just daring you to sit by them. My sharp-elbowed friend was one of these.
I wanted a lifeline, to call Kim, or a co-worker, to get advice. “Do I take the aisle on the row with the old lady? What if she talks to me the whole time?” It’s a no-win situation. If you sit by a guy, so you don’t seem creepy, well, THAT could be creepy. But if you sit by a woman, what statement are you making? “Don’t mind me, I’m just trying not to be creepy.”
In the end, I moved past the occupied rows and took an aisle seat in an empty row. But that brings its own potential disaster. At least if you sit with someone, YOU get to choose your row-mate.
Or, in my case, when you choose an empty row, you could end up with John Candy.
I got up and let him past to the window seat. His first order of business? Asking for “one of them extender seatbelt thingies.” Then he fell asleep and snored for two and a half hours.
At least he didn’t offer me a tic tac.