Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Episode of Planes, Trains (or rather Trams) and Automobiles

My annual longest sleep of the year just took place and this year it was even longer due to the fact that I had been up for nearly 40 hours straight. Also, the long journey of travel made it even worse.

It started just after I ended my most recent blog post. I boarded the Boeing 757 at the Vegas airport and it was a completely full flight. I was in the next to last row and I was looking forward to sleeping on the flight. However, there were two people beside me and three in front of me that all knew each other and they began to gab and complain about everything. Of course, that is there right, but at the same time it was so annoying.

As we took off the person beside me complained about the way I was trying to sleep as I had my head on the window which put my left side up against the arm rest. She thought this unfair as I was, "invading space" that was hers. I never crossed the center line of the arm rest (in my mind that is the territory border) so I never declared a border battle, but regardless she was not in a good mood. Maybe it was past her bedtime.

The bickering continued and she yelled, "It's too hot in here!" and she turned the air one and then she exclaimed, "It's too cold in here. I'm never flying this airline again!" I knew this was going to be a long flight.

Because of the five days I spent flagging my body was sore, and because of that I had to constantly adjust the way I was sleeping. This annoyed her for some reason and each time I moved I got an elbow to the ribs. Granted, she wasn't spearing me, but she was certainly breaking the barrier and putting a light force into my ribs.

I was getting angry. What gave her the right to do this? I am a border conscious traveler as I fear the day I create a border dispute. I want no part of being yelled at. So why was this older lady doing this to me? All I wanted was to sleep and all I wanted was her elbow out of my ribcage.

The minutes went on and each time I was on the verge of that mythical place called sleep my body would ache and I would have to adjust my posture. I swapped from putting my head on the window to putting my head down on the drink tray. Several times went I took the tray route the person beside me and in front of me would say, "That is so rude! Why does he get the right to do that? I don't want to feel each time he moves!" said the woman in front of me.

I've had some rotten travel experiences but this was quickly climbing the charts. My anger was making my neck ever sorer so I was having to change posture even more and she became more forceful in her elbows. I didn't know what to do. What could I do? These women were obviously angry at something and all that anger was being directed to me. If I spoke up to them, or stood up for myself, what would that achieve? I think the woman to my left wanted that actually. And if I did it would be a five-on-one and it wouldn't have been a fair confrontation. And, if it escalated to talking to a flight attendant, who's side would she take? Yeah, I figured, not mine. To make this all worse this was a full flight. I couldn't simply move seats. Sleep, it appeared, was not gong to happen.

And it didn't. For the rest of the flight they bickered about anything and everything as well as keeping a high focus on my actions. I impressed myself because I never once acknowledged their existence. That was my only defense. I think they wanted a verbal confrontation but that would achieve nothing. I may not have slept, but there was victory in knowing that I never gave them satisfaction in letting them know to just what level of annoyance they gave me.

When we landed I had 50 minutes to get to my next gate. I now had been up for almost a full 24 hours and had no idea where I was. It took 15 minutes to deplane, and thankfully those five women were gone, but when I got off the plane I stared at the monitors and forgot where I was or what I was doing. I looked at my phone which had my boarding pass to reacquaint myself with what I was doing. I then knew I was headed to Indianapolis but that still left a question; where was I? I shared a status on Facebook that stated, "You know you're tired when you land at an airport and have no idea where you are." and that was perfectly true.

After a couple moments I figured it out and then I had to piece together the fact that I was headed to the B terminals. This would require a trip on the tram which I managed to do despite the fact that everything I did required my thought that should be required.

I made to my gate at some point in time before my flight left, obviously, and as I think back I don't remember this part of the trip. I do remember that when I got on the flight I had a whole row to myself but despite this fact sleep never happened on the 50 minute flight to Indy.

Once landed in Indy my dad, sister, and nephew picked me up and then it was a ten hour drive to the Washington D.C. area. These were a long ten hours, fun, but each passing hour I became more and more depleted in all that I did. The previous six days came crashing down on me, but at the same time I was too tired to care.

I caught a second, or rather fifth or sixth wind we were got to the restaurant that my aunt met us at, but when I finally laid down to go to sleep I was asleep within a few tenths of a second. 14 hours later I woke up today, but I'm still tired, and I still wish I'd have had a better tactic against those angry women, but today is a new day and a day that I think at, some point in time, I'm going to take a nap.


  1. Aaron, your tactic with the women on the red-eye was the best. Sometimes there is no good outcome for everyone, and this seems to be a time like that.

    Enjoy your non-blob Thanksgiving dinner.

  2. Aww, thinking of an exhausted you just makes me want to put a blanket over you and tell everyone to be silent, because you're sleeping.

    You handled those ladies well. I probably would've done the same.

  3. Kudos to you, Aaron, for how you handled those angry women. I don't think I could have held it together like you did.