September 11th, 2008 – by: free08
There is no other way to describe this seatmate en route to London, perhaps from another planet? Was seated in the very last row of the plane. What could I have expected after having purchased a ticket a week before departure? Sat in the window seat, (found out post- trip I was assigned to the aisle seat instead, then it would have been much worse I suppose) and there where my nightmare began. My seatmate was an elderly Middle Eastern woman who did not speak one word of English (which is OK) but she did not try to communicate to me in any form, not even in the most basic nonverbal universal gesturing, which I found very odd. Perhaps she would have some manner? A fat chance. First, when the flight attendents were passing out the drinks, she just put her drink on my tray without even "asking" for permission-absolutely no eye contact nor smile there. She had such a large abdomen, just simply could not pull down her tray, not even a half way, to accomodate anything. As she was attempting to put her drink, she spilled some of her drink on my tray, no "sorry" look there. Didn't even bother to wipe it off. I was beginning to sense my blood pressure rising. Second, she just shook, really shook, the seat front of her whenver she needed to get out or when I had to get out, she couldn't get out with the the seat being reclined because of her tummy in the way-I didn't think she was all around obese though. I don't know how many times that happened. When the person front of her started ignoring her "requests" during this long flight, she looked at me for my "help", finally there was a long waited glance from her. Third, when I got my special meal before her regular meal- since special meals get passed out before regular meals, she put her nose like 5" from my food and looked at me as if asking where her food was. I assured her several times her food was coming , I don't think she ever understood what I was saying. Anyhow, after staring or inspecting my food for a few more times, she got her chicken drum sticks and some flat bread out from her bag behind the seat and started eat. Oh boy, was she eating or devouring...I don't know how many she ended up consumming. I kept thinking how can anybody eat that many drumsticks. But what left me speechless was when she put her leftlover(eaten) drumsticks on my yet untouched tray of food, on my now exposed utensils to be utilized in a second. And I am a vegetarian, for heaven sake, a pretty strict one too! She just contaminated my unused utensils, not only with the chicken bones/flesh, but with her germs too. Imagine my horror? I've thought I was going to pass out.... This was definitely more than what I was prepared to take on..... She being an elderly and from a culture which I was not too familiar with, I tried to understand but THIS WAS TOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This behavior just surpassed all the boundaries known to men. Finally told the stewardness what just transpired. She profusely apologized and brought me another tray of food and sternly warned her to stay in her space, but do u think she comprehended? Who were we kidding? When her meal came, she simply put my tray down as if it were hers.... I pretended to be sleep by now, I did not want to be bothered anymore. Knowing it was a losing battle, I left at that, did not want to stress over this to ruin my long waited dream. Could I have done anything differently, plane was full, like sardines in a can, no where for me to escape to. I resorted taking some sleeping pill to catch up on sleep since having been up all night and to escape from this cluleless, absurd woman. I slept for a little while, not enough, so ended up taking another. No, I wasn't trying to overdose, or kill myself here. But can you imagine a headline, " an airplane passenger taken her life because of her seatmate"? lol... the sleeping pill was a very short acting one with really no side effects, not like Ambien. I've thought my "hell" was over when the plane landed. Hahahah.. Another surprise was instore for me. She turned around and handed me her purse for me to carry out (she had her food bag as I mentioned earlier) as if I have nothing to carry or was I her "help" and proceeded to walk forward to exit. I was not only flabbergasted, I was standing there frozen-literally, though momentarily. Upon gaining my composure, I said to myself, even though she was not kind nor considerate, I will do this last kind act to kick off my very first European vacation. A few seconds later, I shared what just happened with the same flight attendant I consulted earlier, of course she too couldn't believe the audacity of this woman and took the purse from me... As I exited, the same stewardness handed some chocolate bars in my hand and said "thank you". I wondered if this was a precursor to what to come.