Taking flight

It’s the last day of our vacation, if you can call it that. It’s travel day. It’s my birthday. It kind of sucks. I’ve mentioned before it’s been a while since I’ve traveled, but I sure don’t remember the seats on an airplane being this tight.

Impossibly tight.

Some seats recline, some don’t. It’s a matter of luck of the draw. It’s a matter of matter. Does the person behind you have short legs or long? If they’re long, that seat isn’t going anywhere, unless someone’s femur develops a joint.

My neck really enjoys the seat-backs. They were designed for someone about six inches shorter and with much better posture, forming the business end of a right triangle. It has a nifty headrest that bends at the edges, keeping your head immobilized as you sleep. Too bad for me the head rest pushes ever so gently on my back at about T-7, causing my head to lean forward when the seat is in it’s full, upright position. Fortunately, no one is sitting behind me – so my seat reclines. I don’t have to hold my head up for two hours like a swimmer lifting his head out of water for air.


However, I think my knees will have pressure marks for a week from the magazine pocket. Did I mention the seats were a tight fit?

What airline delivers this kind of comfort at bargain prices? Spirit Airlines.

You get what you pay for.

On a lighter note, the last full day on the shore (yesterday) was everything I could have asked for. There was lots of time to relax. There was lots of time to read. There were lots of opportunities to go snap-snap with my camera. I sat quietly most of the day by the balcony overlooking the shore. Cheryl, bless her heart, took the kids out to spend their last bits of energy before flying home.

It didn’t rain and it wasn’t cloudy, but the surf was up a bit from the hurricanes out in the Atlantic. There were alerts all over the news to refrain from swimming in the Atlantic. However, my brother-in-law and his family couldn’t resist the call of the surf – they went boogie boarding. This was a natural camera moment, watching my 6’1” brother-in-law challenge waves beginning their break a foot or two above his head. They had a great time taking a beating from the sea, and I had a great time taking their pictures.

Twenty minutes later… back on the plane.

Dick-head was just moved by a representative of the airline. Someone complained about Dick-head’s seat-back pressing into his bad knee, and Dick-head’s refusal to sit up. So what does Dick-head do? He moves into the seat in front of the tallest person in our section: me.

Dick-head could have moved into the center seat a row up. There’s no one sitting behind that seat.

But noooo. That’s not how Dick-head rolls.

Meanwhile I have a certain obligation to stay with my family. I could move to a seat a row back, but it involves a trade-off. Another tall person is behind this seat, meaning I couldn’t try to put my seat back, in good conscience.

This is my choice – John’s choice. Sit in a pitched forward position or live with pain in my knees (which I’ll get to in a moment). My neck is already a mess, so I’m sacrificing my knees.

I’m having an outstanding time playing a passive aggressive game of tug of war over seat position. Dick-head tilts his seat back. It moves about an eighth of an inch – approximately the amount of compression possible between seat, skin, fat and bone on a knee attached to one of my legs. Throughout the flight he keeps trying to press back further, looking back at his impediment – my lower half – looking up at me as if I’m the bad guy. Believe me, I’d be shorter right now if it was up to me, Dick-head. I keep shifting my hips, alternating pushing a hip into crook in my seat-back and the crushing pressure on a knee. This serves two purposes. It temporarily relieves some of the pain in one knee, and it concentrates the surface area poking into the back of his seat. Plus, as a bonus it jostles him around a bit when I switch back and forth.

Fuck. This is going to be a long hour and a half. I’m already losing sensation in my toes.

Do you think I’d be looking at criminal charges if swatted the back of his head a few times? Open fisted, of course, I’m a nice guy. That’s the way I roll.


  1. I am only 5’6″ and sitting on pretty much any airlines’ seat totally stinks! I am very much like you and in good conscience I can’t put my own chair back to invade my fellow-traveler’s personal space, but the person in front of me almost always puts their chair back. Darn it, thinking about other people! You’ll be home soon enough. God speed!

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