Something about me that not everyone knows is that I love to fly. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on my blog, but I guess there might be one or two of you who don’t read my every word, so it’s possible you missed that little factoid.
After years of gazing skyward every time I heard an engine overhead, I finally got my pilot’s license in 1991, but my days aloft were short-lived. I gave it all up when I moved from Texas to New Jersey, bought the very epitome of a “fixer-upper,” and no longer had enough money to buy $100 hamburgers — pilot jargon for those weekend short hops to any small airport with a greasy spoon within walking distance of the runway.
No, I don’t pilot a plane anymore, but I still enjoy flying commercially. For me, the trip itself is sometimes more fun than the destination. I’m the kind of geek who will stare out at the tarmac from my seat at the gate, easily distinguishing the differences between a 737-700 and a 737-800, or a MD-88 and a MD-90.
Once onboard, I like to sit near the wing, not so I can watch the landscape slide past from 37,000 feet, but because I get the kind of thrill only a pilot gets from watching ailerons, flaps, slats, thrust reversers and all the other stuff most passengers take for granted. And what that means is that on most flights, I prefer the window seat.
Now on a flight lasting just a couple of hours or less, it really isn’t a big problem, but since I usually fly early in the morning, I’ve already pumped myself full of a gallon or two of coffee, which will be supplemented during the flight with a complimentary Diet Coke, or maybe a spicy tomato juice. That’s why on a coast-to-coast flight, by the time we’re cruising high above Weeping Water, Nebraska, man, I gotta go!
Say all you want about uncomfortable seats, delayed flights, screaming babies, people who try to jam steamer trunks into the overhead compartments, or the myriad other things that give air travel a bad name, but for me, all that stuff is a minor annoyance. What really drives me batshit crazy is that man or woman with a cast-iron bladder who ALWAYS reserves an aisle seat, ALWAYS goes to sleep, and ALWAYS gets annoyed when somebody in his row (me) needs to pee!
Now if I know it’s a long flight, I might set aside my window-seat preference and try to book an aisle seat, but if I book late, there will often be no aisle seats available. You know it’s true. If you’ve found yourself in that situation, as I have, then you’re often left to choose from among a scattering of window seats and a plenitude of middle seats, which no sane person will ever take voluntarily.
But why are no aisle seats available? Because there’s an unwritten code that says people with titanium pieces where their pee parts should be, must reserve all the aisle seats months, if not years in advance. That way, for example, the guy in 19A, with a bladder resembling the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, can go into full blocking mode and act annoyed when 19F, now desperate to unzip his flaperon and get down to business, must shove his way past, just so he can then stand in the Line of Humiliation, which is already queued up outside the aft pissoire.
Here’s the thing: If you’re familiar with your own plumbing, don’t presume to know anything about mine! If you know it’s no problem for you to go 5, 6, 7 … 15 hours without having to weewee, you’ve got no business reserving an aisle seat!
Know this: The rest of us — those of us with normal needs — ain’t gonna take it anymore! If you’re going to sit there in your aisle seat and go to sleep without ever having the common decency of getting up to pee like the rest of us, then buddy, I’m coming over you, and I’m giving you a knee, an elbow, a forearm shiver, and maybe I’ll throw a hip check right into your smug and sneering face! It’s guys like you that are driving me batshit crazy, and I’m not going to take it anymore!