Friday, January 11, 2013

Sometimes you have to forgive yourself for being an asshole

I fancy myself as being a really nice person.  I have a lot of friends who truly seem to love me. Co-workers over the years have thought I'm awesome. God knows I definitely have some asshole-y qualities, but I still think I'm nice. Coming home on the plane from Albany, though, I started to wonder.

Usually I get a direct flight from Albany to Las Vegas, but on Tuesday I had to fly through Chicago. About halfway through the boarding process in Albany, they announced that there was something wrong with the aircraft and so we all had to get off and wait for another plane to become available. That would be in about an hour.  The people at the gate assured us that our connecting flights would be held, so I didn't have to worry about getting stuck in Chicago. (Otherwise, I would have just stayed another night at my sister's.)

I did make my connection in Chicago with not a minute to spare; fortunately, my arrival gate was just two gates away from the plane leaving for Vegas.  The problem is, when your plane gets in late, you're the last person to board. It doesn't matter if you checked in the day before as an A or B--when you're late, you have the shittiest choice of seats.  It was a full flight and so I knew I'd be stuck in the middle.

I walked down the aisle, looking for an open seat.  I like to sit toward the back of the plane, so I passed the first couple I saw.  Then I was like, shit, I'd better grab something soon.  I tried to make a snap decision as to who I would sit between. Anybody who looked grumpy or overweight was out of the question. (I know, that's terrible.) Young Asian women are the best--they're thin and quiet. (Don't judge me.)

Well, I'm nearing the back end of the plane and still haven't found a place to park myself for the next 3 hours and 50 minutes.  The cute male flight attendant says,"There are a couple seats back here," pointing to middle seats on either side of the aisle, one a row ahead of the other.

I considered the seat in the row closer to where I was, until I got a look at the guy sitting on the aisle.  I'm not kidding, he had a purple face. Like some terrible skin condition. I don't know if it was acne or a giant birthmark or both or something else entirely.  His looks startled me, and I'm afraid my face involuntarily screamed, "Oh, Jesus Christ, no! I'm not gonna sit next to that guy!"

Addressing the flight attendant, I said something lame like, "I'll sit with the party girl's," opting for the middle seat in the very last row between two young women (one of them Asian) who I don't think were old enough to drink. The plane took off shortly after I settled in. Ugh! I was miserable, claustrophobic as hell.  Of course, the seats in the last row don't recline and I swear they're even a little more upright than those in the other rows. The (non-Asian) girl on my right at the window seat started playing music, and I could hear the beat in that annoying way through her headphones. You know that drives me batty. Cue the eye rolling.

From where I sat I had a good view of Purple Face Guy.  I could see his expression when he interacted with the flight attendant and he actually looked nice. Very pleasant.  I felt like shit. Guilty for being so... judgmental?  Afraid? Superficial?  I should have sat next to him. Maybe he was super nice or had a great sense of humor. Maybe he was Canadian.

So I just sat there hating myself.  And then I was like, you know, sometimes you have to forgive yourself for being an asshole.  As soon as I thought that, things got better.  I ordered my usual flying cocktail--two Bailey's on the rocks--from the flight attendant and when I tried to pay, he waved me away with his hand.  Later he came by and slipped me another one.  The girl next to me turned off her music. My seat got more comfortable (no doubt the Bailey's helped). And the rest of the trip wasn't quite as intolerable.


Taradharma said...

I love your honesty -- we ALL think silly judgemental things and make snap decisions based solely on someone's appearance. We. All. Do. It. We just don't like to talk about it. Asshole? No. Human? Yes. Welcome to the Race, dear Linda.

Caz Wilson said...

Don't beat yourself up about it girl. I think it's instinct, there's a reason those female peacocks go after the males with the gorgeous feathers. And as long as it's not a hard judgement (what I mean is if take the time to discover that the person you judged is really an awesome person) then I think it's fine.

Anonymous said...

How about this take on it: maybe the people looking grumpy do it so no one will sit next to them!!! Then they get all that extra seat room to themselves!! LOL

lightning36 said...

You have touched on one of the few disadvantages of flying Southwest. However, it sounds like flight attendant did a great job in helping you out.

When flying with open seating, it is only fair to be looking out for yourself. Size does matter, as does smell, sound, etc. That is just reality. Don't we all hope to sit next to the good-looking petite passenger?

The last time I flew home from Las Vegas, my brother (not exactly Mr Tolerant)looked in good shape with his aisle seat (we sit in aisle seats across from each other)... until the last minute when a rather large man poured himself into the middle seat next to my brother. The look on my brother's face was classic! I actually felt sorry for him.

Debbie said...

Linda my love, you are NOT an asshole. You said nothing OUT LOUD ... so anything you THINK doesn't count. Plus, I would have thought/felt exactly the same way which means that if I judged you, I'd be judging myself and, since I love you and your picky easily annoyed ass, because I am THE SAME FUCKEN WAY, I'd be hating myself. So there you go. If you and I were ever stuck on a 4 to 5 hour flight I think we'd have a fucken blast getting plastered and complaining about EVERYTHING ON EARTH. :)