We did it! We finally had made plans to take our daughters with us for a week of fun and sun in Hawaii. Hotel reservations – check. Car rental – check. Airline tickets – check. Well, mostly “check,” anyway. All our frequent flyer miles are at American Airlines, but we have to travel during the holidays: Major blackout period. So, after doing some online research, we settled on flying Delta. Without using all our miles, it was significantly cheaper than American, for when we wanted to go (no red eye flights for us). Only problem was, by the time we booked out tickets to Maui, we couldn’t get two rows of two seats each anymore. We settled on a row of three in the middle of the plane (no window seat!), with one parent to sit by her or himself.
The pre-flight plans made sense; I would sit in the row of three with our daughters for the first half, and around midway through I’d swap seats with my husband. Fair enough! But about two hours into the flight, my spouse sidled up to to me and muttered, “You don’t want to switch seats with me.”
What? Is this some kind of Jedi Mind Trick? Of course I’m tired of playing Uno and Go Fish, of course I want to settle into my junky paperback undisturbed. I gave him a look. “I don’t want to switch seats with you?” I replied with a smirk, and stood up. But he had his Serious Face on, the Face which Must Not be Smirked At. He quietly explained that the guy he was sitting next to wouldn’t stop talking, had B.O. and bad breath, and – to top it off – was a slightly scary retired Navy Seal. This seatmate, apparently, wouldn’t stop talking, leaning too close for comfort, despite such nonverbal cues such as looking out the window and flipping through the SkyMall magazine. Making matters worse, Navy Seal had bad breath and B.O., and fervently believed in a couple of rather odd conspiracy theories. He has proof, you see, but he cannot divulge too much as it gets into heavily guarded State secrets, and you never know who’s listening.
I looked at my kids. They were happily playing with their Tamagotchis (muted) and laughing, getting along with each other. I leaned out to take a peek at Dave’s seatmate. He certainly was talkative. With Dave gone, Navy Seal had pulled a flight attendant into his orbit, using his arms and hand to gesticulate wildly as he continued, midway through a story about how, apparently, Ronald Reagan is both our country’s Greatest, and Most Underappreciated, president. …Suddenly, six hours of Uno and Go Fish didn’t seem so bad. Plus, there is that party popcorn cart in the SkyMall magazine to look at. In short, I stayed put. My husband: Hero Dad.