Kimchi and Coffee

Justin Eckl

(Brent Schwert)

Every time I fly to Asia, I always think it’s going to be better than the last time, but it always ends up being worse. I’ll tell myself, “You don’t need sleeping pills. You’ll get an aisle seat and you’ll be able to stretch out your (restless) legs (syndrome) and you’ll sit back and enjoy the eight hours of movies like every other complacent slob.”
And without failure, I’m out of my head by about hour three (of a 12-hour flight and about 20 hours spent in airports).
This time they gave me a window seat (thanks, but no thanks!) next to a married couple whose combined weight was probably around 500 pounds and who – I swear to God! – did not say a word to each other for the entire 12-hour flight (hooray for marriage!).
What’s worse, while I decided to forego sleeping pills, they didn’t. I swear to God (yeah, again), they each took like five pills about 10 minutes into the flight. This rendered them annoyed and groggy every time I woke them up to go to the bathroom (often).
When I originally boarded the plane and sat down and we sort of did our mini-introductions I even offered them to move over a seat so I could have the aisle. But the dude pretty much scoffed at the offer, which is what I would’ve done too.
But if you know you’re going to be artificially sedated for like 10 hours, then I think it’s only courteous that you let the poor guy trapped between your girth and the wall of the airplane sit in the aisle so he (I) can freely roam the cabin as I am wont to do.
And this is just skimming the surface. The movies were not working for the first four hours, and then when they did come on they sucked anyway (okay, “The Devil Wears Prada” is “not bad.”). On top of that, Northwestern now charges $5 per alcoholic bevvy. I did not know this when I got on the plane.
So, couple a completely sober state (can’t sneak booze on the plane anymore. The terrorists have won the war against in-flight drunkenness!) with sitting in an airplane for 12 hours in complete silence (I swear I didn’t even hear chatter) in a cramped-ass seat and I don’t know if I have a mild case of Tourette’s but I was seriously contemplating screaming vile obscenities.
I even came up with a new airplane design. Think: honeycomb! Think: those sort of horizontal sleeping compartments that they have on Japanese trains. They could probably even get more people on the plane. Can one patent that sort of thing?

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