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Where my mind wanders, rests, and flows

 

Routine of the Middle Seat Passenger

Laarni San Juan

Whenever I travel on a plane, I cross my fingers that I get an aisle seat. I routinely do not pay for ‘extra leg room’ nor do I spend on perks like boarding earlier than my fellow passengers. I am petite at 5’2” and I take up about 80% of the leather seat width with a simple cotton outfit on.  A couple weeks ago, I took a total of 8 plane rides.  As my luck had it, half my itineraries had me on an aisle seat (whoo hoo!) but the other fifty percent had me in the dreaded middle seat. I am pretty social but there is something about air flights that I prefer not to perk up nor socialize with my neighbors especially if I don't have to. I consider it my “me” time because I get to zone out, read up on the latest (and useless) hollywood updates, and do mindless things like clean out my purse. My bag usually houses my wallet, makeup, the wrinkled boarding passes, my drivers license aimlessly floating around in a pocket I shoved it in, crumbs from pastries that I impulsively buy just because I’m at the airport, and unwrapped king size twix bars with smears of chocolate lining the edges of the golden wrapper. I get to the task of cleaning out my purse right about the time the flight attendant does her last check to make sure our belts are fastened and when the emergency demonstration shpeel starts.  Once my bag is neatly cleared and tucked away on the floor, my mind automatically starts to think of which of my gadgets I will dabble with during my flight. This is when I quickly calculate the length of the flight and assess how I want to spend my time if I’m not in the dying-to-take-a-nap state.  This is also when I size up who is sitting on my left and who is sitting on my right. I immediately figure out if I’m sitting with a nosy person who watches all my moves, or with the chatterbox guy who thinks striking up a conversation is fun, or with the mute neighbor who really does not care what is going on. I can usually handle the surprise statures of the two next to me but once I smell a chatty patty, oh boy, I immediately pull out my laptop, fire it up and rustle through my carry on bag as if to start what appears to be an important task for the duration of the flight.  That strategy usually works and chatty patty (or chatty matty) can usually get the hint of my anti-social posture. Someday I hope to upgrade to be a routine first class passenger so I do not have to trivially figure out how to get through the plane experience in the middle seat.