Sunday, May 5, 2013

Birdwatching in Arizona, Part One: Airports and Airplanes

Trillium and I took a birdwatching trip last week to southeast Arizona. I keep a journal while on vacation, and this is the first entry of a handful of installments for the blog. I'm not going verbatim from my entries, rather I'm paraphrasing, summarizing, and highlighting the good parts.

Travel day is usually a long one and it's a day where I usually have some sort of mini-adventure or encounter with an odd person.  My adventure began on the departing flight from my home city. For the first time in years, I actually had a good seat. I was in row 16 instead of the usual row 29 or 30 in the back of the plane. When I arrived to my designated chair, there was a man sitting in my spot. I immediately knew, but to be polite, I made a point of looking at my boarding pass to see if he would take the hint. When I told him he was sitting in my seat, he stared at me blankly, almost as if he was willing me to disappear. Apparently subtlety was not the way to go with this guy. When I told him my seat was 16D and he was sitting in it, he grumbled he wanted the aisle seat before moving to the center spot. Too bad. I've done my time sitting in bad seats and was not willing to sacrifice the aisle seat to someone who was purposely sitting in the wrong chair. I snuck a peak when he pulled his boarding pass out and found he was supposed to be sitting in 17E, the middle seat in the row behind us. Lots of nerve there pal. Cheater seat guy was also a seat space hog. His arms and legs extended beyond his allotted space so that he was crowding both me and the guy sitting next to the window.

Not long after takeoff, the man sitting in front of me leaned his chair back, giving me that hemmed in feeling. Between cheater seat guy and the lean back man, I felt like Elaine from Seinfeld where she was trapped in the crowded, broken down subway. Like her, I was inwardly screaming "Move. MOVE!!!" The lady sitting across from me repeatedly made the sign of the cross during take off and landing, and even a few times during the flight. I understand she was nervous, and found comfort in prayer. I silently pray in public from time to time too, and while I do not judge anyone who prays out loud, I thought she went overboard with the nonstop cross signing. How much of that was sincere prayer, and how much of that was for attention?

My destination was the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. I've been in that airport a few times and always groan because it is such a big airport. I exited from gate C2 and had to walk clear down to gate C28 for my connecting flight to Tucson. I sped walked down to gate C12, passed the trams that led to other gates, down a flight of stairs and had to thread my way through a crowd to C28. While walking, I noticed there was a Starbucks at least every 5 - 7 gates. Seriously. Not sure how wise it was of the DFW airport to allow that many Starbucks in the terminals, especially with the air traffic control furloughs (now since resolved) and the resulting delays. I can't imagine those delays are pleasant for the airplane personnel, who are in an enclosed space with a bunch of impatient, hyper-caffeinated passengers. But I digress.

The other interesting scene in the DFW airport was of a disabled passenger golf cart driving through the crowd that came to a stop. I overheard the driver tell a woman on the cart that he was going to drop her off at her gate (I'm guessing she tried to jump off while he was moving). She had the nerve to tell him he was driving too slow. The cart had DISABLED ONLY in large blue letters all over the cart. She was the youngest person on that cart and she certainly did not look handicapped. Maybe there was more to that story, but her audacity to criticize certainly surprised me.

I met up with Trillium at gate C28 and we sat across the aisle from each other during the flight to Tucson. We landed without incident and began our birdwatching adventures.

To be continued...


  1. I was waiting for you to call that passenger Vegetable Lasagna.

  2. I'm about to board a flight tomorrow with my 19month old. I'm pretty sure she is going to hog most my seat. LOL I hate that feeling when you know someone is in your seat and you are trying to polite. Good for you for standing your ground! :-)

  3. Hillbilly Mom,

    I wish I would have thought of that Seinfeld episode...then I could have yelled at seat cheater. But like Elaine, I know I would not have gotten away with sitting in First Class.


    It's a good thing I was polite and didn't say what was really on my mind "GET OUT OF MY SEAT YOU JERK!". Good luck flying with your little Junebug!