Wednesday I flew from Ohio (where I was visiting my Mom) back to to Tucson (where Jim had stayed with Cooper and the rig). On the Chicago to Tucson leg of my flight, I had a window seat. There was an empty seat between me and the elderly, dignified-looking gentleman in the aisle seat. As the plane was backing up on the tarmac, a flight attendant brought over a woman who'd gotten on late and couldn’t find a spot at the back of the full plane.
Middle Seat Woman and Elderly Gentleman had trouble deciding whose seat belt was whose. During the seatbelt-detangling process, Middle Seat noticed a pronounced bump on Elderly Gentleman's finger. She asked him what it was. “It’s caused by my arthritis,” he said. “Can I touch it?’ she asked.
I knew then I was in trouble.
During the course of the flight, Middle Seat asked about my kids, my marriage, my job. She offered me an unwrapped sour patch candy from the bottom of her purse, and asked me to touch the “lucky rock” she also pulled from her purse. The topper was when she told me I had “great t*ts.” No lie. On the positive side, she didn’t ask to touch them.
I called Mom to tell her I’d arrived in Tucson safe and sound and also told her about my conversation with Middle Seat. Right away she asked “What were you wearing?” Geez, Mom. Blame the victim. (I’m kidding, Mom. About blaming the victim, not about what I told you. But I had on my gray and purple long-sleeved, high-necked T-shirt.)
If Jim had been sitting next to Middle Seat, he would have broken the window and climbed out on the wing. Or he might have gone with it and told her he was a secret agent. I just felt bad because it’s got to be tough being her.
But it was a long flight.