Jeff had been in London for nearly a week. I flew out on a Thursday to join him. Aunt Jerry and Uncle Spencer showed up about an hour before my folks were going to take me to the airport, which was pretty poor timing. Dad helped me bustle around, getting lunch for the girls and myself and trying to get everything ready to go while Mom entertained my Spencer and Jerry in my front room.
Also, I realized I can’t find the battery to this computer about ten minutes before Mom and Dad got here. I still haven’t found it… Sigh.
Anyway, with that rough start, Dad drove me to the airport.
On the flight to Atlanta I sat between two rather heavy black guys. That was fine, it just meant that I kind of ended up leaning toward the guy on the aisle, since the guy on the window side didn’t have anywhere else to go.
On the flight into London the plane was set up two seats together on either side and three down the middle. I sat on one of the middle seats.
As I was getting onto the plane a Russian guy lined up behind me speaking to someone, and it seemed obvious the guy he was speaking to wasn’t paying too much attention. Next thing I knew he was talking to me. As I moved forward up the line I started thinking Please oh Please don’t let me be seated by this guy…
Sure enough. I was on one side of the three center seats, and with an empty seat in between us, he was on the other side.
It started out okay, he was quite chatty, but pleasant enough. But I could quickly see I was going to have trouble. He kept slipping into Russian and then getting frustrated when I couldn’t understand him. No, sir, I don’t speak even a little bit of Russian. And I was having trouble with his English. Part of figuring out what someone with a thick accent is saying is kind of having an idea of what they’re going to tell you anyway. When he’d come up with some completely new concept, changing the conversation out of nowhere, I wasn’t sure I understood what he was telling me, and he got mad at me.
We ate our dinner, and they started the movie. My plan was to ignore the movie and get as much sleep as possible. This was not the Russian guy’s plan. First of all, he kept trying to share some of his vodka with me. When I didn’t want any he was offended, and tried to order some for me from the stewardess when she came by. No thank you. Then he kept batting at me, and telling me something else. Finally I told him I was going to sleep now and I rolled over on my side, away from him. He batted on me a few more times, apologizing, and kept talking. I’d respond, but was getting more and more insistent that I am going to sleep now, good night.
He announced “NO! No Sllleep for YeOU! Yeou Talllk To ME!” He batted on me and I pushed his hand away. I heard the stewardess tell him “Sir, she’s sleeping. Leave her alone.” Finally the stewardess came over and knelt by my head and asked if I wanted to move.
I did. It turns out I moved back to the seat of another woman who had moved up to the two empty seats on the other side of the Russian. My new seat was right in front of the door so there was no one in front of me and I could stretch my legs out. The man in the seat next to me was very quiet and slept most of the way. But I could see the Russian guy ahead of me on the other side of the steward station, and about three rows up. He turned his attention to the woman whose seat I had ended up in, who had moved up to the empty seats by the Russian to spread out. I didn’t sleep very well at all, between watching the Russian and not being comfortable at all. I saw him talking to her a lot. At one point the stewardess bell started ringing like crazy, and I heard a woman yelling “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!? GO AWAY!!!” Later a stewardess came and sat down in the jump seat in front of me and told me he’d come up and bothered her, and had touched her. She’d gone into “Attack Mode” she said, assuming a Karate pose. She told me she’d threatened to have him restrained, and that he’d finally gone back to his seat. We watched, and he did eventually go to sleep.
When “daylight” came I found out I was sitting next to an artist. Then I found his wife was the one sitting up by the Russian, and she’s the one I’d heard ringing the stewardess button and yelling to him to go away. She came back and said she’d been soundly asleep and he’d pulled the blankets off her, that’s when she yelled and started pounding on the call button. All in all it was an interesting trip.