Monday, September 21, 2009

I Would Have Preferred Snakes On The Plane

I was flying to Florida last Friday night. Whenever I fly (and I've flown a lot over the years), by force of habit I almost always pull open the seat back pouch in front of me before take-off and disinterestedly flip through the in-flight magazine. And when I see one of those disquietingly bland little air sick bags in there, I smile a thankful smile that I've never, ever seen one of those used by anyone in all my travels.

Until now.

He was sitting right next to me, and we were in coach class, which means that the entire "event" occurred about a foot from my (horrified) face. It was like watching "The Exorcist" with your face pressed right up against the television screen.

It all started just after take-off. The middle-aged man sitting next me mentioned that he was not feeling well as he put on his overhead fan. That was fine. But within seconds he then reached in for the "air sick" bag, and I started to get a little nervous. ("Perhaps the gentleman would be more comfortable in the aft lavatory...") But he stayed sitting in his seat. Right next to me!

He next put the bag up to his mouth and nose and began breathing deeply, like he was trying to get rid of some hick-ups. (Is he really not going to the bathroom?!?!) Then it happened. "Blaaaahhhh." Then a pause. A sigh. Then again. "Blaaahhhhh." A soft moan. Again."Blaahhhh." Another moan. And on it went like that. I lost count at 8, as I began concentrating on the wet sensation starting to build at the back of my own throat.

At the end of the flight, this sick passenger wanted to shake my hand to thank me for being so understanding. Was that really appropriate? (Lawrence Olivier didn't offer to shake Dustin Hoffman's hand at the end of "Marathon Man.")

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