It was a lousy seat, 25C. Last aisle in the plane, right next to the crapper. It didn’t recline. Still, it was a whole lot better than the middle seat on the other side of the aisle. That one shared all the aforementioned shortcomings, plus it was right next to an obese woman who was spilling out of her seat.
I fastened my seatbelt and tried, uncharacteristically, to regard 25C as a glass half full. It was an aisle seat, after all.
Then two lovestruck Asian kids — I think they were Japanese — sidled up to my seat.
“Please, sir,” the young man said, in heavily accented English. “We’d like to sit together. Would you mind sitting in that middle seat over there?”
To which I replied, huffing and puffing like an ugly American, “I would mind. I really don’t want to sit in a middle seat next to someone who can’t fit into theirs.”
The kids smiled back at me. I don’t think they understood half of what I said, but they could tell I was being an asshole, which made them smile even more desperately.
“Thank you, sir, thank you.”
It hadn’t occurred to them that I might actually refuse.
I couldn’t bring myself to disappoint them. I got up and squeezed into 25E. I placed my arm on the armrest, not realizing it had been forced into the air at a 45-degree angle by my seat mate’s massive thigh, which had flopped over onto my own.
I put on my new Apple headphones — the funny looking white stubs with the excellent sound — and listened to some old Bob Dylan tunes, including a fabulous live rendition of “The Times They Are A-Changin’” recorded in 1963.
By the second chorus, I’d forgotten all about that intrusive limb.