Hayseed Clan Intrudes Into Passenger’s Space

August 28, 2009

in Portly Stories

So I’m boarding a flight from Frankfurt to Philadelphia with the three other members of my band and all is going well.

Everyone looks mellow, no kids, no obese people no—wait a minute…OH NO!!!

Coming down the aisle I see a large party of people, most of whom are obese and with many small children in tow.

OK, don’t panic. They could be on their way further back in the plane. Yes?


As they’re putting their belongings in to the overhead bins I start to notice that they are kind of oddly dressed. Nothing too outlandish, but they were all wearing kind of strange outfits that looked like they were from another time. I could swear looking back on it that some of them were wearing denim overalls and straw hats. Like something out of Grapes of Wrath.

No big deal. It was a little odd, but in the end, I really don’t care what people wear.

Turns out that they are all missionaries returning from some…uh, posting or mission, or whatever missionaries do, in some part of Africa. How they could have stayed so fat in whatever impoverished country they were working in is beyond me. They must have consumed 25% of the country’s GDP just to stay that big. So, of course, the biggest of them, a veritable mountain of a man, sits in the seat next to me!! Whoopee!!!

He immediately spreads out (kind of oozes) into the two seats on either side of him (one of them being mine). I’m kind of a big guy at 6’2” and already have kind of a hate-hate relationship with airplane seats, but this was looking really bad. I was basically sharing my seat with a third of this guy’s fat. I get up and go up to the front of the plane to talk with the FA, but no dice, it’s a completely full flight. She had seen where I was and I could tell she felt badly for me. I asked if I could use her flight seat and she could sit on my lap. Still no dice, but at least a giggle.

I go back to my seat and discover that obese farmer john has oozed further into my seat. I’m thinking what the hell am I going to do? Push the fat aside and then squeeze in? Well, that’s basically what I ended up having to do, as I asked him if he could “shift over” (the politest way I could think of saying it), and he made some sort of rocking, shifting contractions that accomplished nothing. So I slip into the warm sweaty embrace of his fat and try to figure out how I’m going to stay sane for a 7 hour flight to Philadelphia.

Once we’re airborne they break out the food; stuff they had brought with them. Vinegary, sour stuff that smelled like a cross between sour kraut and old raw beef. They’re handing it over the backs of the seats to each other, dropping napkins, plastic forks bits of lettuce or some kind of greens on people. Talking back and forth and laughing, standing and having conversations with other members of their party who were one or two rows back like they are the only people who exist in the Universe.

Then the kids start in. Crying, coughing, fighting, kicking the backs of seats and finally, the coup de grace, a baby takes a dump in its diaper. OK, no big deal. That’s what babies do. They even have a fold down changing pad in the lavatory, but still, this was all starting to pile up.

Anyway, does she get up and go back to the lavatory? No! As if we’re in a straw shack in Ghana instead of a Boeing jet plane, she lays the baby down in the empty seat next to her and changes its diaper right there in coach. The stench of baby poo mixed with the sour rotten food they brought on board and the obese BO of my seat mate was the most miserable situation I think I’ve ever been in. The worst part of it was not being able to get away. I felt like I was going insane and we were only an hour and a half into this flight.

I jumped out of my seat with a loud “this SUCKS!”, walked into the aisle and down to the back of the plane with the hayseed clan staring at me as if they couldn’t possibly comprehend why anyone would be so upset. They genuinely had no idea the extent to which they were living all over me and the other hapless people next to them.

Mercifully, I found a seat right back by the galley and lavatory.

It stank a little bit, people kept bumping into me as they worked their way around each other into the bathroom, and the cart knocked be on my knee a couple of times, but I was in heaven.

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