shrinking seats…

I’ve criss-crossed the country numerous times in recent years to visit my daughter who was dancing in the southeast. Those who commute between coasts for their jobs probably feel as I do…airline travel sucks!

airport security wands

Hoisting carry-on luggage onto and off of airport security belts, as well as into and out of airplane overhead bins in record time, is enough to throw anyone’s body out of whack. Make that a six decades old body already twitching with arthritis and fibromyalgia…and you’ve got the beginnings of one grouchy passenger. However being raised a long-suffering Catholic, I’m primed to absorb as much pain as the false gods of travel can dish out.

Whether or not age is to blame, or my brain goes into overdrive knowing my access to bathroom facilities is severely restricted once on the plane…I find I have to go to the restroom several times before I board the aircraft. It seems I have to squeeze every last drop of liquid from my body in order to stave off any possibility of neurotic behavior once on board.

On one flight when I heard what I thought was the signal allowing passengers to move about, I jumped out of my seat and raced down the aisle toward the forward bathroom. While the flight attendant didn’t stop me, she sternly notified me that the sound I heard was for passengers to keep their seat belts fastened.

Airplane Electronics Sign

Oops! Well, when ya gotta go…your brain’s only got one thing on its mind…ya gotta go!

Many plane rides later, I’ve figured out what I can drink and what I can’t.

I can’t drink caffeine. It messes with my digestion. I can’t take regular sips from my water bottle. That’ll get me bouncing in and out of my chair running to the bathroom for the duration.

Cranberry juice. That’s what I can drink and still maintain my equilibrium. Isn’t it suppose to help with urinary tract infections? Maybe that connection calms my mind into thinking “This is good for  urinary issues. So go ahead, have a glass or two.” Which I do.

Knock on wood…I’ve been fine. But who knows? Older age might make spaghetti of that solution. I’ll have to figure this out…one plane ride at a time.

Having just returned from visiting with my daughter in Houston, I was reminded of my disdain for the whole, unsavory stew that air travel has become. As if a festering wound required more salt, today’s Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled “The Incredible Shrinking Seat.” 

Airplane seats.

Airplane seats. (Photo credit: La Shola y EL Gringo?)

Comparing an airline coach seat these days with seats in other venues, the article highlights the fact that airlines really do expect us to morph into sardines when we fly.

A Boeing 777 First Class seat measures 21″ across…a Regal Cinema non-premium auditorium seat measures 25″ across…a Texas Eagle Superliner train coach seat measures 20.5″ across and the Barclay’s Center upper/lower bowl stadium seat measures 19″ across. By comparison the Boeing 777 10-seat economy coach seat measures a paltry 17″ across.

I’m 19 inches wide, shoulder to shoulder. Sucking in 2 inches is probably not a major issue for me since I’m a smallish woman at 5’2″. Maintaining a shriveled up version of my normal self, however, is a trick.Gumby and Monkey

One learns to become silly putty, literally.

I stretch my limbs into whatever shape is required as I’m jostled by air turbulence…flight attendants and their food and beverage carts…and, of course, my seat buddies. And every so often I just have to move, or else I’ll go…stir crazy!!!

Strapped into uncomfortable seats for 5 hours is not my idea of a good time. It’s become the norm that I now deplane with considerably more aches than when I awoke the morning of my flight.

As I waited to board my return trip to Seattle I overheard a woman say that this was her last flight. Once she returned to the comfort of her home, she was never flying again. It sounded like something I could commit to…if it weren’t for my nomadic child. 

I will play the role of long-suffering Catholic…pee 5 times before I get on the plane…lose 2 inches off my 19 inch wide frame…play silly putty…drink cranberry juice…and refrain from an overwhelming desire to start an in-flight revolution…so long as my daughter lives an airplane ride away. 

…just don’t expect me to like it!…

………hugmamma.

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2 thoughts on “shrinking seats…

  1. OMG, I so know this is true! I used to commute for 6 years (!) south to north 2 times a week for work. Lots of “things” happened to me, like getting my work clothes “washed” in some colorful liquid by my seat neighbors, not pleasant…now only flying when I absolutely have to for work. I’m happy my son & family moved to the same state last year, 4 h driving 🙂

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    • So happy you related your experiences. I don’t like to whine, publicly at least. But air travel is truly one of life’s thorns. But with my daughter as the rose which rewards, I will endure this, life’s thorn, with as much forbearance as I can muster. hugs for confirming my lackluster attitude toward flying.

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hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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