So there I am on the plane, the ulti­mate petri dish of per­son­al­ity, bac­te­ria and weird­ness. I have taken the last avail­able seat, accord­ing to the agent at the counter, and I believe her. Mid­dle seat, bulk­head, stare at the wall sep­a­rat­ing the rats from the roy­alty in first class. I think I am the last per­son to get on this flight from Maui to Port­land, and I can‘t believe my luck. The win­dow seat is still open. The atten­dants do their final counts and say the door is closing…and then he arrives. Win­dow seat, row 6.

He hus­tles in, late for every­thing in his entire life, you can tell. Smil­ing, greet­ing every­one around him and still on the phone. The rest of us rats have dark­ened Kin­dles and are read­ing the in-flight 60 page advert mag for Spokane, Wash­ing­ton. He climbs in and pro­ceeds to tor­ture me all the way home.

1. Pulls out greasy, cold bro­ken chicken breast sand­wich, holds it under my nose and offers me a bite. I am not kid­ding. Laughs when I say, no thanks, takes a bite and offers again. Still not kidding.

2. Starts…starts a phone call as we are taxi­ing for take-off. I am not a rules guy and I do not believe that my cell phone call derails an air­plane any­more than I believe it can turn off an anes­the­sia machine in the oper­at­ing room. What bugs me is that even though this guy is seri­ously irri­tat­ing every­one around him, or maybe just me, the flight atten­dants walk by and smile and seem to find him invis­i­ble. He is tak­ing odds on the super­bowl with a guy in Denver. Whatever.

3. We get our lit­tle cups of passion-orange-guava juice (Hawaii flight, don‘t for­get) in our lit­tle plas­tic cups and we are all bal­anc­ing them in the lit­tle cir­cle in the tray table. I get through one sip and Win­dow seat, row 6 makes the move to get up. “Sorry mate, bathroom?”

4. Asks me to lend him money for a beer. Actu­ally wants me to put the beer on my credit card because he doesn‘t have one, I mean it doesn‘t work, I mean I don‘t like to use it, I mean, it is expired. Gave me all those answers when I sim­ply repeated, “Really, you don‘t have a credit card?” Atten­dant comes up to ask if we want our sec­ond cup of P-O-G and he pulls out a fiver and looks like a puppy at me. Beers are a sixer how­ever and I now get the grift. Nice. No dice dude.

5. Finally he falls asleep and pro­ceeds to have a con­ver­sa­tion with, what I assume was, the demon infect­ing his brain dur­ing wak­ing hours. I wake him up. “Sorry dude”. Repeat.

I did not take my shoe off and blow up the plane with my stand-by shoe bomb, but I was close. Mid­dle seat is bad enough, but this guy had my num­ber. Dialed in.

Being away from work was great. Needed the break. We went every­where and spent lots of time doing noth­ing. I did how­ever have time to look up a tree‘s dress which is prob­a­bly the sign of good rest.

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5 Responses to Straight

  1. Barbara says:

    Okay Dr. Archer, you are seriously holding out on your humor in these blogs — or have you been reading Bobbie’s Finding me in France too much?

    This was so funny. I was right there with you on the plane, rolling my eyes, and asking, “why me God”……..

  2. Stephen Parkhurst says:

    I hope the vacation made up for the trip back. Great story!

  3. P. Voyles says:

    This was a great story. The picture is wonderful because the tree is so tall it just seems to keep going into the clouds. This is how I’m picturing you sitting in the middle seat on a plane looking down at your new buddy. I really enjoyed this one.

  4. Bobbi says:

    HILARIOUS!!!! That one plane ride should be an entire film…


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