Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Seatmate, Ethel.

Well that was quite the hiatus, wouldn't you say? My last post was nearly a month ago! Holey Moley!

During this last month the main event was our trip to Philly to go to the wedding of our friends Kevin and Katie. More on wedding stuff later, I know what you're really wanting to hear about are the hiccups along the way because that's what makes for funny narrative.

Let's start with the flight, shall we?

As Matt and I raced to the gate I let him check which gate we were boarding at. Once on the plane we had that weird feeling that we were on the wrong flight. First off our boarding passes had a different gate than what we had entered at. And then there was a lady sitting in our seat. After clearing things up with the flight attendant we were relieved we WERE on the right flight and not headed to Milwaukee.

I was slated to have the window seat, but I volunteered to sit in the middle seat being of smaller proportions than Matt, and so after explaining to Ethel (I never got her name, but we'll call her Ethel) that she was in our seat, we all got settled, me in between Matt an Ethel.

At first glance I thought Ethel was maybe in her early 70s. She told me she was coming back from an Alaskan cruise with her girlfriends (who were sitting across the aisle...with an empty seat). While the ladies across the aisle chattered away about Sudoku, Ethel promptly passed out with her mouth hanging wide open. Awww, how sweet.

A few minutes after takeoff she was awake, fidgeting around. Now, I have to say one of my pet peeves is people who get on a FIVE hour flight with absolutely nothing to do. There's no screens on the flight, so movies aren't an option. And so they SIT. And twiddle their thumbs. And tap their fingers. And stare at the back of the seat in front of them.

Drives me crazy. I want to hand them the in-flight magazine.

Ethel didn't bring anything to read. So Ethel fidgeted.

And took full advantage of the armrest and several inches of elbow into my ribs without noticing.

Finally the drink service came by. Ethel wanted coffee, and HALF a glass of tomato juice. After the ten minute discussion on how many packets of sugar and cream she needed, the flight attendant poured her a full glass of tomato juice.

"I only wanted HALF!" Ethel protested.

"Well, ma'am, you can drink half and throw the rest away," he responded nicely.

She huffed.

And the tomato juice lasted, reeking its processed lukewarm tomato-y-ness, for the rest of the flight.

At this point it was dark in the cabin and I, who'd had my light on the whole time to read, suddenly saw thrust into my field of vision a tiny watch inches from my face.

Um....I glanced at her. She was holding her watch up to my light to try to read it, completely oblivious to the fact it was inches from my face. Would she like me to turn on her light for her, I asked?

NO. She acted offended.

Ok, I shrugged.

Oomph. Another elbow in my ribs.

Ethel's fidgeting then was ratcheted up a notch. She fiddled with her seat belt. Looked up and down the aisle. Humphed. Growled. Puffed. She yanked again on her seat belt.

"Do you need help with the seat belt?"

"YES, how do you get this thing off?"

I undid it for her and she continued looking up and down the aisle. Finally an attendant walked by and she reached out and tugged his uniform. "Can I go to the bathroom now?"

The attendant responded in the affirmative and she began the process of getting up. Envisioning stinky tomato juice all over my jeans I offered to hold her glass for her, then as soon as she was in the bathroom I took my chance and rushed to get to and from the bathroom before she got back and we had to repeat the whole ordeal.

Settling back in, Ethel took possession of her tomato juice again and proceeded to tap her fingers and twitch and moan until the snack/dinner service came. After studying the menu for twenty minutes she placed her order and then (after shoving it inches from my face and into my light) was shocked to find it was salami and acted like it was the poor attendant's fault.

Ooomph. Elbow in my side again.

By this time my arms are beginning to hurt from staying as closely pinned to my sides as possible. Adjusting and losing my right armrest again to Matt I pleaded in a whisper, "Can I p-p-please have the armrest?" He was of course gentlemanly and I was able to relax a bit. Until I felt a head on my shoulder.

Ethel was now leaning far over into my seat with her head nearly on my shoulder. When I shifted a bit automatically she faced me and reared back with an open mouth in apparent shock. I heard Matt stifle a laugh. I opened my mouth...and closed it...not quite sure what to say.

The flight finally landed in Newark and as we got off the plane I muttered to Matt, "You OWE me mister!"

An hour later we finally found where our hotel shuttle was picking up, and were hanging on for our dear lives in the back of a minibus blasting offensive rap music. It now being past midnight, we checked in, dumped out bags off, dug out our dollar bills and dined on gummy snacks, vending machine crackers and a ginger ale.

Saturday morning we got back on the dangerous hotel shuttle, went back to the airport, picked up our rental car and were finally on the road towards Philadelphia. I have to say I preened that morning and was wearing a cute new dress and just looked like such the traveling jet setter...until I spilled my Starbucks mocha all down myself. God has a way of humbling the prideful, doesn't he?

We finally made it to Media, PA, the smaller town outside of Philly were we were staying at a Bed & Breakfast. Cutest place - a 300 year old stone barn with eclectic decor and the nicest people running it! After changing our of my mocha-laden dress we were off to Katie's parent's house to get Matt's tux and head to the rehearsal.

After hi's and hugs all around, Matt and I split off from the main group to get our first real meal in over 24 hours. A glass of wine, some gourmet pizza and a stroll around the mall left us uber-relaxed. Driving to the wedding site I got very very sleepy...

Though it was warm out, the sky was clouded over and it was sprinkling. They were slated for an outdoor wedding...let's hope they're flexible! I thought as I dozed in the car during the rehearsal. Trust me, they didn't want a grumpy Kait on their hands.

The rest of the evening was a fun mix of food and catching up with Matt's old college friends and remembering all the pranks they'd pulled. Like trying to steal the tiki hut, or throwing old computer monitors off the science building, or throwing squid on the gym floor after the first score was made at Homecoming. You know, harmless things like that.

After the rehearsal dinner we loaded up and went to Kevin and Katie's apartment in downtown Philly just off of State St., then to a pub where we were a wild and crazy group! Not. And yes that joke is old. We were the tamest group in there...one drink and we were done!

The Groom...texting his Bride that we're a bunch of chumps I'm sure...

Sam & Katrina...who traveled the longest and had more energy than anyone else...

We look like strangers. We like each other...really we do!

I just want to title this one "The Conspirators."

Sorry we were such party poopers the night before your wedding, Kevin! We still had a good time!

I'll leave you there for now. Coming up next is the wedding with pics to boot!


  1. God bless Ethel - ya just gotta love her ... cuz her family probably can't stand her@

    Great job Kait as usual. I can smell the talcum powder and Charlie perfume from here!

  2. you crack me up! i was SO engaged in this story. i hate to read, but if you wrote a book, i would be hooked. CUTE dress by the way!

  3. I don't mind flying. I get my standard ginger ale and buy extra goodies despite their exorbitant prices. It's people I don't like. You are a saint. Just be glad Ethel wasn't fat to boot.

    Also, your dress is super cute and compliments the colors/theme of my wedding. Therefore, I decree you wear it to my nuptials too if you are able to attend. Just try not to dump your latte on the front of it next time. ;-)