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Desperate Measures at 30,000 Feet

Category: , Posted:13 Oct 2012 | 06:00 am

I am sitting on an airplane cruising towards Hong Kong about to commit a murder.
You might ask yourself, did you drop into the middle of someone else's life, or is this article the tailend episode of a two parter. Neither actually, but welcome to my life as a bruised and battered road warrior.
No scenes of Mel Gibson here, and I'd have a hard time mustering up a Mohawk haircut, but I guarantee you the savage beast exists deep within each of us – just waiting to be summoned. Much like that bartender in some trendy and chic drinking hole that is waist deep in a teaming horde of humanity.
"Please sir, don't you understand? I only want a small portion of alcohol, anything will do, and yes, throw in an ice cube or two." But it's all to no avail as your begging gestures and muted pleas are ignored like some biblical pillar of stone.
The captain has just turned on the seat belt sign as we pass through some turbulence. Yes sir Mr Pilot, my soul is aching with criminal intent. My eyes are burning a laser beam hole through the man's head in the seat in front of me.
Let's go back into history, in this case, after being packed on board a crowded Airbus, which seemingly could hold no more, while a steady stream of people continue down the aisle oblivious to those seated as they bash their way forward.
Whoops, carry on suitcases are wielded like objects of war. The incredible 300-pound-man who has extended his bulging waistline by another 6 inches on each side with matching fanny packs.
Of course, desperate mamas carrying babies that deliver Beckham-like kicks to unwary passing heads. And my personal most loathed traveller, the one with an overloaded backpack who pivots down the aisle smacking me right in the nose as he looks for his seat number on the opposite side.
Flying used to be a magical experience. I remember dressing up as a very young Bill in suit and tie. They'd hand out those little metal airplanes or even pilot's wings on clips. Once, when we flew down to South America, they even gave out certificates for plying the tradewinds past the Equator.
It's not like that these days, as I'm usually grateful to arrive in one piece at a destination.
Now with low-cost airlines throwing the entire industry into a battle of the cage, seat space has shrunken to something similar to grabbing the last seat on a helicopter out of the fall of Saigon. I'm packed in tighter at the moment than a sardine.
Of course I remained an optimist at takeoff, as I slid out my handy MacBook Air.
The family sitting in front of me appeared to be nice and certainly I was headed for a pleasant trip. Now all I want to do is take said MacBook and bash mom, dad and the young one over the head, blowing off some much needed steam.
Right after takeoff, the wife of my nemesis handed over a modern day version of mother's little helper to junior – the iPad.
Immediately the annoying little gizmo starts spouting repetitive little noises.
Of course, the woman conveniently passed out with headphones on, and now all we hear are these little buzzing bings, booms and yelps from some nameless app.
Then dad cranked back his seat, and suddenly my MacBook screen was two inches from my face, my legs were cramped so far up to my chest I feel like a yoga apparition.
Worse, is that dad seems to have spent a good part of the day out in the tropical sun and somehow missed taking a shower.
I tap him on the shoulder, asking politely to give me two inches back.
I'm exceptionally nice, he seems to clearly grasp the situation and in a triumphant moment of humanity he hits the button and I am free.
Free, yes, just like getting out of jail or one of those joyous Rocky movies, where the boxer runs up the stairs. The momentary bliss turns to agony a few minutes later as he plunks on his headphones and reclines back smack into my face.
Seat wars commence, a knee to the back, with retaliatory seat jolting and re-adjustment in front.
There are unwritten rules about these silent confrontation's that must be followed. Never make eye contact and keep those sharp jabs and pushes within the confine of your own area. Nothing it seems can keep me from the inevitable idiot in seat 28C.
My mind wanders over the alternatives. The plastic cutlery on the dinner tray wouldn't harm a baby poodle, much less drop a full grown man. And yes, the plane is full – too many witnesses.
All I can do is wait and plot.
My opportunity comes eventually, as the light on the lavatory turns green for a moment I jump up and in a move that slightly reminds me of a roller derby surge. I jut out a quick elbow shot to the head of my nemesis in 28C, resulting in a loud "Ouch".
That's it, it was my best shot and I will have an hour of misery ahead of me, but yet for just a moment, I was indeed a hero of my own destiny and am vindicated.
Now if I can just find a way to shut that kid up.

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