Just got back from a trip to Sofia, Bulgaria today. Two connecting flights totalling somewhere around 11 hours in the air and roughly 7 hours in the terminals dealing with check-in, passports, baggage, sitting on the tarmac and customs. After today I’m not sure if any destination is worth the frustration of the flight process.
The first leg of the journey, which was the shortest, seemed like a lifetime compared to the connecting 7 hour flight. The airline is irrelevant; it’s the person seated next to you that makes or breaks a flight. I was first in my row to be seated and I hoped and prayed for a short, skinny, freshly showered girl to be seated next to me, but luck was not on my side. In fact, my hoping and wishing seemed to work in reverse. What I got was an old man who hasn’t showered since the elections and apparently believes deoderant to be a product of the devil. In addition to B.O. that made my eyes water, he posessed another sort of funk that you only encounter around elderly homeless winos with wet pants which seemed to emanate from his clothing. Naturally a man this carefree could only be wearing sandals, another source of another funk that I can’t even put into words. To complete this concoction of horrific odors was a sporadic wiff of breath that smelled like the ass-end of a dead farm animal, bloated and rotting in the sun. This man’s reek was so foul it almost had color, he was pressed right up against me for next 3 hours and that was only half of it! As if the odors weren’t enough, it turns out he’s a fidgety spaz to boot! From the very moment his ass hit the seat until we deplaned, he rocked, wiggled, fidgeted, shuffled and moved about like a jumping bean on crank. I haven’t seen anyone twiddle their thumbs since grade school, but that was the start of it. While his thumbs were rotating at 300rpms, he would lean forward then back, look out the window to the front of me (I had the window seat unfortunately, he was in the middle), then behind me. Then he would stretch and look towards the front of the plane, then crane his head around to look back, then turn around and glance at his watch with his feet bouncing up and down the whole while. All of this random spastic movement took place in just 5 or 6 seconds, then repeat. And repeat, for 3 hours, with his freakishly hairy arm rubbing up against me the whole way. There was no escape; no matter how hard I tried to lean away he would compensate by taking up even more of my personal space.
I’ve said nothing but bad things about this man up to this point and that’s not fair. He was actually a very nice old man, just not very conciencious of the personal space of others and less than concerned or even aware of his own hygiene. This is a lesson for everyone: there is no such thing as personal space on a commercial flight so before you head for the airport, please take a shower people. Think of the people that have to sit next to you!