Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the way

This doesn't have much to do with knitting. Well, a little, but there won't be photos...you'll see why. You may find this amusing anyhow...

My nephew's b-day was a big hit. Lots and lots of people came and everyone had a ball. It was fun although I was pretty dehydrated and over tired from my flight. Nephew himself is doing very well. He's still got serious delays (wow, a lot of delays) but he is smiling at people, grasping at noses and waving a little. He can stand (with help) and seems to be doing a lot of neat baby behaviors, even if they are happening a bit later than usual. Not normal by any stretch of the imagination, but good. For the most part, I'm avoiding the details, as he and his family deserve their privacy. Still and all, even including the stomach feeding tube, compared to last year, things are good.

My first flight, from Winnipeg to Ottawa, was great--lots of room to stretch out and knit and enjoy myself.

I had a very peculiar experience on my second flight from Ottawa to DC. A large older gentleman, sort of olive skinned, with a beard and a nicely cut gray pinstripe suit, was sitting in the wrong seat. He was redirected to the seat next to mine and he made peremptory humphing noises in frustration. He settled in, stretched out, and proceeded to take up 1and 1/2 seats. (half of mine.) He stretched his legs out, fell asleep with his hands cradling his crotch, and started to snore. He had a bit of food in his beard. I figured out after a while that he had little or no English at all.

I was wearing Doc Martens and sort of fought back when he started nudging my leg over even further. He was touching me (not sexually, just inappropriately) and oozing over in my seat! I finally lost my temper entirely when I lifted up my cup of water and he was touching the side of my body under my arm right around my bust. I whipped out my best "sharp elbow" and gave him a good shove. He looked very surprised but gave me a bit more room after that. Needless to say, there was no room to knit. I could barely read without having to guard my personal space.

I was thrilled with relief when the 1.5 hour flight was over and got off the plane---but then shocked to find a guy in army fatigues, a secret service guy and several other armed gentlemen received this man cordially right as he stepped off the plane.

I walked away with a brisk hustle but then discovered that unfortunately, I was keeping pace with this entourage. The guy had at least 2 or three interpreters as well as the military men and a couple of onlookers. I kept pace so well that the secret security police looked worried....entirely coincidental. I got my luggage off the baggage claim. As I left, I asked a guy with a gun who was standing guard who this "important" guy was.

He was a General. From Afghanistan. I explained that I'd not known that and elbowed the heck out of him when he kept getting into my seat space. The guy with the gun grinned, he thought that was hilarious. I told the guy to keep the general safe and went out to meet my dad's car.

Just another ordinary flight to Washington, D.C., I guess!

Later, I did a little searching. Here's the guy who sat next to me. Here's what he looks like when he's not snoring, in uniform, and doing his job. Something like the equivalent of Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff General. He was flying from meetings with the Canadian military and government folks to meetings with the U.S. military and government folks. Oh.

My dad and I wondered why he was flying without an entourage right beside him, but mostly, I commented about the most important thing I'd learned. Growing up in D.C., I learned that even very important folks put on their pants one leg at a time. I don't feel bad about the sharp elbow...all polite indicators of discomfort had failed. Only the professor and a very few others (like my nephews or my dogs...) get to be that snuggly with me on trips!

Travelling provides for lots of adventures, doesn't it!?

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Blogger Jody said...

I think you showed great restraint actually! I probably would have given him the evil eye and said something nasty that would have transcended the language barrier.

October 14, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jame said...

Personal space is culturally variable, but too close is too close. No, I don't really know what I'm try to say here, but your story gave me a giggle. Hope your flights back are more comfortable!


October 14, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I imagine you were real close to telling a flight steward...


October 14, 2009 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger PBnJ said...

Sorry for your discomfort and lack of personal space, but this was a funny story. Thanks for the laugh.

October 14, 2009 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger SueJ said...

Don't care how important he is, he should still keeps his hands & other bits to himself!I think a shove with a sharp elbow was wholly justified. Funny though!

October 15, 2009 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger Jame said...

And I want to add, Hurray for your nephew's 1st birthday! -Jame

October 15, 2009 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger knitalot3 said...

LOL! I hate flying when I have to share my seat with anyone except DH or my kids.

I'm glad your nephew is doing well.

I sat next to a guy once that kept twitching and elbowing me in his sleep when he wasn't reading court reports. I was flying from DC to Atlanta.


October 15, 2009 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger MaƂgorzata said...

Good one! I would have called the flight attendant, I think. And why wasn't he in the front of the bus, i.e. business class. Wait a minute May be you were in business class?! Wow. ;-)

October 17, 2009 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

oh my, I was creeped out while reading your story and totally applaud your efforts to keep your personal space. I remember protecting mine more than I liked when living in Toronto and travelling on public transit. Ugh. Good for you Joanne, who does he think he is?! :-)

October 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Must respond to say, I was SO not in business class! It was a small plane, so that's probably why a general sat next to me. On the other hand, why would the armed forces pay for business class travel on the US/Canadian/Afghani tax dollar?

October 26, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

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