Caught in the Middle on a Travel Day from Hell

lil rich plane lean

We’ve all had travel days from hell.  The days with delays, temperamental people, bad coffee, more delays, and terribly bland food (apparently, salt is on the no fly list).  The list goes on and on.  Not to mention the joys of TSA.  Isn’t that a book?  “The Joy of TSA.” Oh wait.  It’s “The Joy of Sex”.  Not “The Joy of TSA.”

So, I’m running late.  Nobody’s fault but mine.  I own that.  But let’s hit every snag possible on my already late morning.  Who doesn’t love a 7 am flight?  I’m on the verge of missing my flight and don’t particularly want to hang out in Orlando all day long.  I already spent way too much time with Mickey and friends in my past life as a mother of toddlers and little humans.  Luckily, my 17 year old has outgrown Disney.  Besides, we were there for his first college visit.  Nothing wrong with your child wanting to go to an aviation school close to the beach.  I’m not discouraging it.

I digress.

Did I mention I haven’t had my coffee yet?  That will be my first stop after TSA hell.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  I mean metal detector.  Right?

Gotta love a cavity search of your dignity.  First me, then my bag.  Nothing better than enduring the indignity of having EVERYTHING taken out of my bag just to toss out one thing.  My deodorant.  Oh Hell.  An aerosol.  I forgot.  So, let’s take everything out for all to see and just leave it there on the table.  Luckily, the TSA agent was successful in confiscating my weapon of mass destruction.  No problem, honey.  I’ll just pick up my panties off of the table and put them back in my bag.  Did you like the pink ones or the black ones better?  You look like you could go both ways.  I mean I do.  So, I’m not judging.  Just curious.  That’s all.

Anymore delays and I will miss my flight.  My son gets TSA pre-check.  Lucky bastard (ok, he’s not a bastard…I was actually married to his father when I delivered him).  I ask him to get me coffee because he had a 10 minute reprieve skipping the TSA hell with his god given gift (ok, it’s random but why him—this doesn’t help my cause of teaching him that sometimes we have to wait in lines).  Just get Mom coffee before I explode.  Or is it implode?  Probably both.  What else do you have to do with this gift of time bestowed upon you?  But the Starbucks line is too long so he can’t be bothered.  WTF is wrong with your generation?  I get it.  The line is long.  However, I NEED coffee and you don’t (not yet, anyhow).  Who wants to wait 20 minutes to get a Starbucks?  It’s really not that good of coffee, anyway.  Regardless, I wait.  I’ve already had my dignity stripped so I may as well pour some mediocre coffee down my throat to cleanse what’s left of it.

“Mom, last call.  Hurry Up.  You’re going to miss the flight”.  These are the texts I am getting from him while he leisurely waits at the gate.  Thanks.  I’m almost there.  Why don’t they have a quick line for the simple coffee drinkers?  I don’t need some latte, frappucino, cappichino, frothy, milky whatever.  Yes.  I misspelled those words.  Don’t have it in me to drink them nor look up the correct spelling of them. 

Alas!  I finally make it to the gate.  Only 2 people behind me.  I’ve had the doors shut on me before.  Not happening today.  Thank God.  But wait.  There’s one more delay.  Because this sundae doesn’t have its cherry yet.  I’m told I have too many bags.  What?  Seriously?  I need to shove my purse in my laptop bag.  What difference does it make at this point?  I’m at the gate.  “Ma’am, you will need to put your purse in another bag.”  So fucking ridiculous.  Wonder why my new BFF from TSA didn’t tell me that.  My guess is she was too busy enjoying my indignation.


Finally, I’m at my seat.  The flight is not full and I can lean back and sleep.  Or write this blog.  Whatever.  Please.  Nobody talk to me.  I can’t take it any longer. 

Now, I’ve been on lots of planes in my life and realize that the space is tight and everyone has to do their part and get along.  I’m aware of flight etiquette for the most part, but this one really stumped me.

The seat plight.  To lean back or not?   When that seat in front of you comes straight back ALL THE WAY, one feels cramped.  Really cramped.  And, I’m a small person.  Can’t even imagine a large man or woman, for that matter, dealing with this.  So, as my son, feels the pinch, he automatically goes to lean back his seat.  Whew.  Some distance.  I feel for him.  I really do.  I once had a guy in front of me lean it all the way back and then asphyxiate me with his flatulence.


The woman behind him immediately scolds him and tells him she is claustrophobic.  Ummm?  Ya think?  We are ALL claustrophobic on this damn plane.   So, being the polite kid he is (to others, but not necessarily me), he obliges.  Out of respect I suppose.  Or maybe he was too scared to say anything.  So, now, he’s stuck between rock and a hard place.  I mean a seat in his face and the verbose woman behind him.  What to do.  What to do?


So, herein lies the question.  He respected the woman in front of him needing her space and didn’t say a word as she leaned her seat back.  It’s her right to do so, no?  And, he respected (albeit reluctantly) the woman’s need for space behind her.  And, thus, he is caught in the middle.

I’m confused.  If you’re claustrophobic, why aren’t you sitting in the exit row?  Plenty of room there.  Do your needs come before his?  What gives you the right to take away his right to lean that seat back?  Poor kid.  I’d say he took it like a man but then again if it was a large man in that seat, I can guarantee you he would have no problem leaning that seat back especially with the one in front of him in his face.  Turns out, she tells the flight attendant that she and her husband moved from her original seat so no one would be in the middle and they would have more room.  Nice, huh?  Barking demands and they aren’t even in their assigned seats. 

I was really stumped on this one.  Lil Rich gets a check in the win column for simply being nice.   And, I’ll take a Bloody Mary to go with my travel day in Hell.

Thank God, it’s only a 2 hour flight.  And no connections. 


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