Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flying High

Normally I will post something about travel, and I try to keep some of my "special" rants to my Facebook friends, since they know me personally. I don't know who will be reading my posts out here so without some context you may think I'm a monster. Having said that, I'm breaking my own rules with this post.

The background story: huge snowstorm hits Denver International Airport six days prior to Christmas. People, luggage, pets are everywhere due to overbooked and canceled flights. My flight was delayed three times already prior to boarding.

14C was my seat. By row 9, I heard a loudmouth in a center seat on his cell phone. Please don't be the guy sitting me. As I approached 14C, I discovered I was on Santa's Naughty List. Okay. I've traveled with other self-important, loud, obnoxious people before (I didn't blog about the flight out to Denver, but my FB friends will tell you about the three drunk ladies. Who was to know about the common thread?), so I could handle this.

Sitting with his feet on the seat like he was purchased on a branch talking about all the 'hot babes' me met at the airport, and perhaps switching seats so he could sit next one of the 'little ladies', I thought great. I'm sitting next to Quagmire from 'Family Guy'. Saying he was Barney Stinson from 'How I Met Your Mother' would have insulted Barney. Unfortunately for 14A, the young, attractive female college student would be the victim of 14B. More on that later in the flight.

Doors shut, announcement's made to turn off all electronic devices, safety spiel is over, and the guy pulls out his 1-quart baggy filled with mini liquor bottles. "Want one?" he asked. "No thank you," was my reply. Goodness knows how germ-invested those little vials were.  Plane is taxiing on the tarmac, and 14B whips out his flip phone (not even a current model), while sipping on his booze. The lead flight attendant walks by, I shoot him a look and nod my head to my neighbor. The flight attendant looks at me like, "Really?" and I nod.  "Sir, we've asked you several times to turn off your phone. Especially at this airport and with the snowstorm, it's imperative you turn off your phone!" was the curt lecture to 14B. I would have been mortified if I were given that lecture. He drops his phone, and 14A has to pick it up for him.

Plane takes off, and Larry the Lounge Lizard starts hitting on the college student. He's from 'Breck', which is Breckenridge you know. "Of course I know. I live in Colorado", she retorted. Score! She figured out this guy was a sleeze.

While the seatbelt sign was still illuminated, 14B flips open his phone and starts listening to voicemails! Hello! We're on a plane! My dilemma since I'm a rule-follower was we haven't reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign is still on, but this dude is using his phone! Fortunately, the liquid spirits were calling to him (not on his phone) and he turned off his phone in lieu of his little bottle friends, but drops his phone again. Seriously!

Some of you know may know that point where you are feeling fine and flying high, but then you have that one last drink that totally puts you over the edge and sends you into a tailspin? Well, I witnessed it happening right to the side of me in 14B. All of a sudden, he shut up, eyes glazed over, turned pale, and set the bottle down on my tray table. As if I wanted that!?!

Passing out, the college student and I were relieved that he was down for the count. At least he wasn't bothering her and I didn't have to hear it even with Christmas tunes blaring in my ears. But then, a thought occurred? What if he hurls right on my side of the seat? Could it get any worse?

Then it hit me as he was snoring with his mouth wide open. Let's see if I can put this into a Disney way to describe it: Supercalifragilistic Chronic Halitosis. And it was bad. Must have been drinking on an empty stomach or already had a technicolored yawn bowing to the Porcelain gods at the Denver Airport. Yowsers, it was bad!

Okay, well, thankfully they had cleared us to land. As if on cue, drunk guy wakes up, reaches over to the college lady's arm, and pulls at her wrist! She is mortified and yells, "What the &#$*! are you doing?!?" "I just wanted to see the time," he blurts out. Having enough, I said, "Hey, knock it off. We're about to land." He's a bit put off, but folds his arms pouting, and then pulls out the phone again. I'm tied to technology, but dude, get over it for a couple of hours! Here's the brilliant part. As he fumbles for his phone, he drops it for a third time.

He bothers 14A who at this point ignores him and has nothing to do with him. He bothers Rows 13 and 15, and finally I said, "Look. When we land I'll call your phone, since I know you didn't turn it off, and we'll find it. Just sit still until we land."

Flurry of activity in the cabin, and then over the PA we hear, "Everyone please sit. We're landing!" From the back of the plane on the PA we hear, "Does that mean flight attendants too?" "I should hope!" replies the front part of the plane. What kind of flight am I on????

The plane lands without issue, and I ask the guy for his phone number. "No wait. Let me start over." I dial it; it rings; no answer. We try three more times. Don't see or hear it. Lights come on in the cabin, and I ring the number again. Nothing. Tucked in between the seats, he find his Precious. Flipping the phone open (I think my parents may still have a flip phone, or perhaps they are more with it than he is.), he says, "I didn't get any of your calls. You didn't call me." Great. Someone who knows where is wondering, "Why is this person calling me and not leaving any messages?"

There ends the story. I've had some crazy adventures before, but I've never had anyone use their mobile phone during a flight.  And for those of you who are accustomed to me taking pictures of people in public, this is one of the few times I didn't get a picture of 14B. It would have been too obvious what I was doing, and like some of you have told me, you don't want to visit me in the ER.

This is why you want to limit your travel around the Holidays. You just never know next to whom you will sit.

Ho, Ho, Ho.


Joannah said...

What a jerk! It was a Christmas miracle that he didn't barf on you, Tim.

Timon said...

While I was thankful he didn't puke on me, I was more ticked off about he treated the college lady.