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3:01pm on Thursday, 4th July, 2013:

The Dog was Preferable


Coming back from the USA, I had a connection at Detroit. The last leg of the journey was on a flight that was completely full, with no free seats.

The layout of the seats was 2-3-2. I was in seat C, so an aisle seat on the left of the middle block. When I took my seat, the two on my right were empty. They remained that way until shortly before take-off.

I knew I was going to be in trouble, because anyone who doesn't board a flight until 10 minutes before it's due to leave is going to be "special" in some way. However, I was already in trouble due to the presence of a mewling infant in the middle of the three seats ahead of me. What could make that worse? Yes, that's right, a second mewling infant. This arrived with its mother and two brothers. Mother and mewling infant sat in the bank behind me; the two brothers sat to my right. They were aged about 6 and 4. They communicated frequently with their mother, in shouts. This set off the mewling infant in front, if it wasn't already screeching in response to the one behind.

I was doomed.

Eventually, the kids all went to sleep and I managed to get some shuteye myself, except for when the one next to me decided that his seat was his bed and that my seat was also part of it. He was lying all curled up, putting his feet on me every so often; during this process, he remained asleep but I didn't. Sigh...

It actually got worse. I was sitting next to the 6-year-old, but with about 15 minutes to go before landing the 4-year-old announced he wanted to be sick. He looked white in the face, too. The flight attendent plied him with warm ginger beer to no effect. He just sat there repeatedly saying he felt sick and asking why his legs were shaking. His brother took great glee in using the word "barf bag" as often as he could, and only when his immitations of throwing up were loud enough to attract his mother's attention (above the noise of the mewling infants he'd set off with it) was he obliged to stop.

Fortunately, the 4-year-old managed to hold onto what little he'd eaten during the flight and we landed safely. I took a 200g slab of Cadbury's Dairy Milk from my baggage and ate a strip of it in front of the eyes of the kid who'd been sitting next to me, just to annoy him. Weirdly, his nose immediately started bleeding and his mother had to stem it with a tissue while he wailed as if it were hurting and his younger brother was making "squirt squirt" noises in revenge for his earlier receipt of throwing-up mockery.

The dog on the flight over was preferable.

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Copyright © 2013 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).