Busted Flat In Baton Rouge…

Last week, I took a couple of days off work (my first paid vacation ever and the closest I’ve ever stood to adulthood without getting burned) to go watch Pandito graduate Magna Cum Laude from law school. There were some proud Panda family members in Louisiana last week. But my pride gets up a lot later than I do and wasn’t able to come with me on the 4 AM cab ride to LaGuardia or my 6 AM flight.

On the first flight, I was seated on an aisle seat, which I don’t care for. The aisle seat exponentially increases the frequency with which arm fat is brushed by strangers. Though the trip was early, it was mild. The girl at the window seat (lucky bitch) nearly threw up before the plane took off and the guy in the middle seat (cursed soul) was a teenaged Orthodox Jew, which was of not much interest to me except that I remembered that there was a huge anti-Internet rally for Orthodox Jews at Citi Field just days before and a lot of it had to do with women and their tempting ways. I wanted to ask him if he went, but didn’t want to risk offending this nice young man nor risk having to talk to someone on a plane for two hours earmarked specifically for neck-cricking, REMless sleep.

My layover in Atlanta was about nine minutes long, but I still managed to run to the ladies’ room and go to Starbucks for some much needed caffeine. Most of this efficiency can be attributed to the most together Starbucks operation I have ever seen. Hands filled with coffee, bagel, book and purse; I was joined by my sisterly pride and boarded the plane.

I’m not sure if my seatmate on the considerably smaller second flight thought I was drunk or otherwise impaired, but our situation got weird right away. As I stood up from my second aisle seat of the day (curses!) to let him in, I smacked my head against the tiny compartment above me, which caused him great consternation. He then took it upon himself to help me back into the seat and proceeded to try to buckle my seatbelt for me. Both sides. All the way around my person.

I assured him this wouldn’t be necessary and buried my nose in my beloved Pride and Prejudice, where it stayed for the remainder of the flight, despite his turning on my light for me. This was one of the more awkward interactions I’ve ever had on a plane. If this well-dressed, young gentleman was trying to hit on me, it was an epic fail. If he thought I was a hot mess, I guess I appreciate his Good Samaritan ideals, but still would rather not experience a second plane trip together.

That evening, as I sat sucking out crustacean brains at the law school’s crawfish boil, I regaled my family with stories of everyone else’s weirdness, reveling in my total normalcy.


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