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.