You are correct: I really don’t like being a passenger on a plane anymore.
I’m strolling down the concourse, my tummy full of Starbucks yogurt parfait and a banana, and I turn the corner at my gate. Standing there all buffed and stern is a Marine Honor Guard. Okay, cool, but I’m also confused. I’m also wrong. Again. It turns out that my flight is returning a fallen warrior to his home in Texas.
Now, I have no problem with this, and frankly it’s an honor. It’s also a stark reminder of that one thing this parent, this dad, keeps compartmentalized way off in that far corner with the concrete, uranium-enriched, chain-link, barbed wire, junkyard dog guarded wall. The one with the sign clearly stating to stay the fuck away from me or you’ll be an emotional wreck for days.
I boarded the plane early. It’s Southwest, and I always get EarlyBird boarding because I don’t need to be in the middle seat with my grip stacked under my feet. I walked to the rear of the plane as is my habit, stowed my stuff, and said absently to the attendant as I stepped to the head that I needed some tissues. Without a word or even a look, she handed me her box of tissues. I might have mumbled my thanks.
We departed over thirty minutes late. No one complained. We flew in silence. The Honor Guard and family sat at the front of the plane. We landed in Houston with the usual flight announcements. As we approached the gate fifteen minutes early, the attendant asked us to remain seated until the Honor Guard left the plane. She choked on her words. The plane stopped at the gate as silence hung thick on the plane.
Before the Honor Guard could unbuckle and stand, the fat ass slob of a damned fool four rows ahead of me popped up and started rifling through his crap in the overhead bin. My eyes widened as he continued. The attendant repeated her request to remain seated. His only reaction was the rolling of his overly-entitled multiple chins. Someone from the window seat of the last row on the left side suggested less than mildly “Sit the fuck DOWN!”
He remained standing, rattling through his crap. That someone in the window seat was boiling, and more than ready to assist the jackass with sitting down, likely with several bruises and, if luck held, some broken bones. It would have been so simple, so easy, so quick, though the floor might have been more involved than the seat.
The flight attendant rose and walked down the aisle and stood by our clueless jackass, silently violating his space until he sat down. She returned to her post sharing a brief glance with me, offering an additional tissue as the large white shipping box was off-loaded from the plane under the watchful eyes of the Honor Guard.