Day 2/3ish – What Happens in the Sky Above London…September 2, 2012
I’m pretty sure the mother and son who sat next to me on the plane on the way over here were sleeping together. This was days ago, but I know they’re in this city somewhere. I hope I don’t run into them again. Except that I kinda hope I do.
They first sat behind me even though, per their conversation that I overheard, they were meant to sit next to me. About 10 minutes later, a guy told them that they were in his and his husband’s seat. The Mother and Boy moved to the seats next to me and the boy said, loudly enough to be heard over the drone of the engine: “Uhhh, did you hear that guy say ‘husband’? He’s a guy and he called that other guy his husband.” Then he turned around and looked at them.
His attention was stolen, however, by a very tall guy who took the edge seat on the other side of the aisle from me. To be fair, the guy was very tall. Nearly 7 feet. To also be fair, sure, he’s tall. But that’s it. Just tall.
“Wow!” The Boy yelled again. “That’s guy’s tall! Have you ever seen someone so tall? I haven’t seen anyone that tall. He’s so tall.”
And I get it. It’s interesting to see things we haven’t seen before. I myself have been blown away by the number of full body burkas I’ve seen in London. But after your eyes take it in for about a second, it becomes imperative to think: “Yes, there are people who aren’t like me. Ah, well, back to my life.” … Unless those people who are different from you are an incest couple. Then you include them in your travelogue and talk about them at parties. Open incest is interesting. Height is just the luck of the genetic draw.
The Boy then pulled out a gallon-sized bag of Famous Amos cookies and said, “Whatever. As long as I have these, I’ll be happy.” Then he looked in the bag. “They’re all gone already?” Then he kind of started to cry.
It should be noted that by “boy,” I mean a man of maybe 25 to 27 years old.
To console the cookie-less kid, the Mother gave him a hug and offered to tuck him into the seat so he could sleep. The Boy barked orders at her to move his pillow, move his blanket, move his pillow back, take the blanket off, tip his hat the other direction, pull the blanket up by his ear, NO NOT THAT EAR, JESUS! Each time, the mom didn’t punch him in his lazy face. Instead, she just took her orders and cooed at him. Then, right before he fell asleep, the Boy grabbed the Mom’s hand and held it. The way you might if you were, I don’t know, sleeping with that person.
Their hands curled around each other like vines on a post and there they drifted off.
A few hours later, we were all awake and the woman was drinking a gin and tonic. Sure, it was nearing noon where we were landing, but it was like 9 a.m. back in our own time zone. Though, I supposed if I were fucking my son, I’d need a drink at 9 a.m., too. She also had a grip of bruises on both of her arms above the elbow.
Later in the “afternoon” the Boy woke up and said a host of other very pleasant things like: “I know I’m fat, but I only like thin girls. I can’t help it.” And: “Marcie said that if she was 32 and still not married, she wants my sperm. I told her she can come and get it now.” Mom just listened and laughed along. Which was the best course of action because every time she would start to do anything for herself like read or watch TV, the Son would take it from her – rip the book out of her hands or change the language on the TV to Chinese.
All these events were punctuated with odd moments of sweetness. Like when he told her that he was really glad they were all taking this trip together. That it was nice that everyone was at an age where they could enjoy it. They both smiled sweetly like regular people and it was just enough for me to think that I was nothing more than a cynical jerk who can’t appreciate families who are close. But then the Mom teased the Boy by saying: “You know, I should make you and your sister room together.” And in my head, I screamed “YES, YES YOU SHOULD!!” and when the trolley came by, I ordered a glass of red wine to get through this “afternoon” of family love.
Now yes, it’s possible this wasn’t a Mom and Son. They could have been an Aunt and Nephew and the part of their family two rows behind us could have been an Uncle and Niece and not a Father and Daughter. Either way, they shouldn’t have been holding hands that much and the adults should have roomed together.
As uncomfy as listening to them was, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what this woman went through. She woke up to find her seat-mate’s hands in her shirt and fending off a request for a kiss.
I think this is the firs time I’ve ever been unnerved by someone on a plane. I hope it’s the last.
What are your worst airplane stories? Let us know in the comments!