While Daniel was mid flight heading to South Korea from the U.S. he jotted down some thoughts in a moleskin notebook. An unedited excerpt follows:
A nice-figured, tanned, dark-haired flight attendant, Margarita, asks the passengers to please sit toward the front of the jet plane because there is a light load (too few people) and apparently this is good for aircraft’s balance. I happily comply.
Flying out of Syracuse I am catching a connecting flight in Chicago. From the Windy City it’s off to the Korean peninsula. Peninsulas are like islands that aren’t as independent is how I remembered what a peninsula was in Geography class back when my greatest concern in life was how well I performed in physical education.
While we are taking off, my hands instinctively grip the arm rests and my stomach performs somersaults as we ascend toward the clouds. I look around and all the passengers are all at ease either sleeping, reading, or chatting with their neighbor. I am relieved that I don’t have a neighbor. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some enjoyable experiences while sitting next to people and I like being in the company of others, but I often find myself in a situation …
Margarita just offered me a beverage. I asked for a chocolate milk. She smiled and said she was sorry but they didn’t have chocolate milk. I acted very disappointed. She acted very sorry. After a failed flirting attempt I ended up with a Coke. I think she’s into me?
I often find myself in a situation where I am squeezed next to an individual with real girth. The seat next to me must look like a vat of rich, creamy ice cream because the obese are constantly plopping down next to me. Let me be clear, I am no weightist. I like all people, but I also like some personal space and so do my balls and they don’t get any when my legs are zip-locked together. In some instances you also have to deal with panting.
Once, I had a very nerve-racking experience on a train ride, and the weight of my neighbor had nothing to do with it.
I am around 13 years of age and I am heading down to NYC with my brother to visit family. While I’m thirteen I probably look more like I’m ten. Dave and I did everything together: sports, lemonade stands, joint investments in candy, neighborhood adventures, you name it. We also fought. We get into an argument, and subsequently he went from the seat next to me to the seat across the aisle. I pridefully pretend that I’m pleased with this new arrangement. Dave knew about my bad luck on the train and he reveled in my uneasiness.
I am listening to my cd Walkman (Busta Rhymes?) when a very imposing, tattooed guy (think Ving Rhames) with a scowl sits next to me. I curse Dave under my breath. After about a half hour I doze off with my head against the window. I wake up to my new neighbor nudging my head with his bicep. Apparently while in my slumber, my head moved from the window to this guy’s shoulder. When I wake up and realize what is going on, I jerk my head back and as this is happening I spot in my peripheral vision a string of drool connecting his shoulder with my lip. I quickly karate chop the curiously strong string of drool with my right hand and apologize profusely. He does not say one word, the fury in his eyes say it all. I notice some remnants of saliva on his shirt so I attempt to wipe it off, but he does not seem to appreciate this gesture and offers me a look of death. I apologize, again. Then I curse out Dave under my breath, again. For the rest of the trip I manage to stay awake without an ounce of difficulty.
Now I am at liberty to drool with no serious repercussions (although I wouldn’t want Margarita to see such things) and arrange my legs to optimum comfort.