Middle Seat, The Daily Post



It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?


I had looked forward to this vacation for months. After caring for my father and then my brother over the past eight years, I felt as if I really deserved this vacation. I had been packing for days. Taking this out of the closet and then exchanging it for something different.

Shoes, which shoes, how many pairs? Make-up, I had that all lined up the night before and ready to put into its own special bag as soon as I used it in the morning. Deodorant, jewelry, undies, nylons and of course perfumes.

I wanted to be prepared for any situation that appeared in my way. I could meet that Mr. Right maybe on this trip. I had worked very hard at watching my weight ever since I booked the resort. I wanted to look my best.

I had my hair cut a few days ago. The latest style and yet it fell so softly around my face. I felt like I looked and felt the best I had in years. In the morning I gathered everything together. I was showered, made-up and dressed. I called for the cab and sat excitedly awaiting the car to arrive.

I was leaving on the 747 in less than three hours. Warm sun and white beaches here I come. The plane would whisk me off to the Islands I prefer to call Romance, Peace& Quiet. Soon the cab showed and honked.

Gathering my purse I carried what I could and let the cabbie get the rest. In no time we were on our way to the airport. I arrived on time and had enough to spare to browse through the gift shop. I purchased a pair of sleepy-eye mask and a magazine; prepared for whatever came my way.

I heard the man over the microphone call my plane to board. I could just squeal like a pig I was so excited. I got on board and put my carry on in its appropriate place. I gazed around as the plane didn’t seem to crowded.

Then it changed, a fat man with mustard on his shirt plopped his butt down beside me. He snorted a little and pushed apart the arms of his chair enough that I felt like the earth moved. He looked my way and gave me a smile and a wink.

Oh brother, what the? I didn’t need this. This wasn’t on my roster. I studied him from the corner of my eye. Bald on top, plaid shirt with kakhi pants, loafers. He didn’t smell to bad. Maybe this would work out after all. I would just sit as close to the window as I could.

The plane took off and up. I thought I was going to lose my stomach and my ears were going to pop off. I remembered the advice about the gum from my friend and reached into my purse to get a piece. Quickly putting it in my mouth and slowly chewing seemed to help my ears a lot.

Sitting here with nothing to do made me realize how tired I was. After we were level in the skies I pulled out my mask and covered my eyes; a nice nap sounded real good. I just had dozed off, it felt, when the man next to me poked my arm and  started a conversation with me. I turned and looked at him.

” Your first time flying?” I shook my head yes. ” Well don’t be afraid. These planes are nice and except for a few air pockets they are a pretty smooth ride.” . I smiled. He went on with his talk.

How long he had been married to Francis, how many kids he had and that he was thinking of retiring in about ten years. I smiled back at him, but said nothing. I slipped my mask back on and looked towards the window. He nudged me again and I looked at him with agitation building inside.

” Hey you want something to drink? I am thinking about getting something to drink off the cart. You want something?” I shook my head no once again. He started rambling on about what drinks he liked and what he tried and detested. Then he switched gears and started talking about his favorite restaurants. He asked me what my favorite restaurant was.

I looked at him and frowned a little. He became quiet and then once again asked me if I wanted something to drink. I looked him in the eyes and with my hands made some movements with my hands. His eyes got big and then he said,” Oh my gosh, you are deaf. You don’t understand a single word I  have been saying. You have just been sitting here being polite to me. What a nice girl you are. Your parents raised you right.”

Well it seems he got the message, no more talking. Now I can begin my vacation.


plane passengers

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