Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Mr. Plopper

The plane was filling up fast, but so far, so good – the seat next to me is empty! I can tell that the cabin crew is getting ready to fly – they have started closing up all the bins. I’m afraid to even hope that I will have the serenity of an extra seat, the space, the silence – it’s a very long flight.

“I was hoping this seat would be free!” says a long, tall man who has just plopped himself into the empty seat next to me. I didn’t pay for that seat, it isn’t MY seat, but neither am I feeling particularly friendly to this very tall man who sat himself down so emphatically next to me, and then FLUFFED himself up so that he is everywhere!

His shoes are over on my side, so while he is busy shaking his paper noisily (more fluffing) I quickly scoot them back on his side with my feet. He is leaning over into my seat and OUR SHOULDERS ARE TOUCHING and he isn’t apologizing or moving back away or anything, I guess I have lived in Kuwait for too long but this is a STRANGE MAN and his shoulder is over the arm rest touching my shoulder!

Just in the nick of time, I discover I have one of those slipping-back seats, where you put it in the old “full upright position for take-off” but it won’t stay there, it keeps slipping back, although not too far; the seats don’t seem to be able to go back farther than five inches or so, even when broken. Anyway, for the next ten hours, every time that shoulder encroaches back into my space I hit the button that brings the seat back up with a jolt, hitting his shoulder and reminding him to keep to his own seat.

All this is done without raising my eyes from my book.

This man desperately wants my attention. He has discovered his shoes, back under his own feet, and he gives a deep, disturbed sigh. You can kind of tell that this guy arranges the universe to suit himself, and he is not used to being crossed.

He leans across me and shuts the window shade and says “I am going to be using my laptop and this creates a glare,” and I lean over and open it back up about three inches and say “and I am using it for reading, so we will have to compromise.”

He says “you can use the light” and I reply “and you can turn your laptop” and I give him a huge, insincere smile, the kind with your mouth closed and sort of tight. I am sending a strong strong message – don’t screw with me, buddy. I can’t keep you from sitting here, but you are not going to encroach on ME.

I ignore his deep sighs, which continue every time I press that button to hit his encroaching arm.

I ignore whatever it is on his laptop. I think I am supposed to look and understand that he is an important man, but here it is – I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care. You can sit in that seat; I can’t stop you, but I don’t have to interact with you and I don’t have to share my space with you.

It’s a great book. Ken Follet’s new book, the follow up to Pillars of the Earth, called World Without End.

When I finish my book, I sleep for a couple hours so I arrive in Seattle rested enough to pick up my rental car and drive through Seattle. In Kuwait, KLM was kind enough to put big PRIORITY tags on my bags, which, we all know, means “take these bags off the plane last of all” so it took me a while to get through the airport.

It is, once again, L’heure bleu a la Seattle. It may be four in the afternoon, but it is raining and dark, and traffic is slow enough on the interstate heading north that I can even take (very carefully, of course) a couple shots to share with you the thrill of coming into Seattle in November:



Kinda different from L’heure blue in Kuwait, hmmmm? 😉

November 19, 2007 - Posted by | Biography, Books, ExPat Life, KLM, Spiritual, Travel


  1. welcome home, my friend!

    Comment by momcat | November 19, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thank you, sweetie!

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 19, 2007 | Reply

  3. Ah yes, l’heure blue in raining Seattle! I’ve only been there once for a couple of days and it was fun. Isn’t it funny how it is always interesting when traveling? You always meet the strangest people, and encounter the strangest situations! 🙂 Welcome back.

    Comment by N. | November 19, 2007 | Reply

  4. Have fun!!!!!!

    Comment by Chirp | November 19, 2007 | Reply

  5. N. – It has rained pretty much since I got here, with only a break now and then – very typical November, and hardly anyone even bothers carrying an umbrella, they just weather the rain!

    Thanks, Chirp!

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 19, 2007 | Reply

  6. Phew! Glad the flight is over! XD

    Comment by 3baid | November 19, 2007 | Reply

  7. HYSTERICAL. And good for you for fighting the good fight.

    I must have been seated next to Plodder’s cousin, an overweight, undertraveled Sunni from greater Beirut who sighed long and loud at my reluctance to give my floor space over to her plastic bags, extra pillow, blanket, etc. The flight from Beirut to Frankfurt is four hours, and she sighed her way through all of them. Ugh.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | November 20, 2007 | Reply

  8. Oops. Plopper, not Plodder 🙂

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | November 20, 2007 | Reply

  9. I couldn’t help it not to stop the boiling in my veins.
    Your seat adjustment kind of cooled me down but again that jerk with the window shade stunt and persisting attention invading needs, I wish you could just stuff him in the emergency hatch and flush him out to land on a cannibal island.

    Enjoy yourself.

    Comment by Touché | November 20, 2007 | Reply

  10. 3baid – You and me both!

    Plopper’s fat cousin. . . .LLLLOOOLLLLL, Little Diamond! Oh, I wish you were here! We could laugh and laugh!

    Oh, Touche, I totally love it! Honestly, I think I did the worst thing I could do to him – ignore him! He seemed to be a person not used to being ignored! All I wanted was to get home, and for the trip to end.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 20, 2007 | Reply

  11. Haha great post. We’ve all had one of those next to us on a plane. Welcome home.

    Comment by harmonie22 | November 20, 2007 | Reply

  12. Thank you, harmonie 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 20, 2007 | Reply

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