The Longest Flight

I had a direct flight from Auckland to LAX. I think it was an 11 hour flight, and very very long. Not so much because it was 11 hours, but because of the drunken Iraqi I had to sit next to. When I checked in, I was told I had an aisle seat, but when I boarded to plan, I was seated between a middle-aged kiwi woman by the window and a 60 year old man from Baghdad/New Zealand on the aisle. The woman was quiet and would leave her seat for long periods of time. The man was friendly and slightly chatty. He got up once in a while to walk up and down the aisle to strech his legs and encouraged me to do the same. I read my book at first and when movies became available on our personal screens I started watching movies.

A few hours into the flight, the man ordered a whiskey and coke to help him sleep. And he loved it so much he ordered another one. And another. And another. He had 4 whiskey and cokes within a hour. He kept saying "Tina, this is so wonderful! You have to taste this. You'll love it!" Meanwhile I was trying to watch my movie, but he kept interupting me to talk. He initially told me he was going to the US to visit friends. But after a few drinks, he took my hand and said now that we're friends he could tell me why he was really going to the US. He was apparently traveling to the states to try to get a contract job working in Iraq. I don't know why this was a secret. Anyway, he'd been living in New Zealand for 14 years, and thought that he would be a good candidate.

Whatever...that's not the point of the story. The point is...he finally started dozing off after his 4th drink, but his arm was over my armrest and his head was leaned so far over that it I could smell his alcohol breath. And his leg was pushed up against mine. I kept moving away from him, but he still always seemed to be too close to me. Turns out he wasn't sleeping because when I started scooting away, he asked me, "Does it bother you that I am so close?" To which I replied, "Yes, I could use some more room." Then he said something like "I'm sorry. i just get very emotional." And then something about how friends should be close. Creepy! Half way through the flight, with 5 hours and 30 minutes left, the man put his hand on my leg. Freak! WTF? So I grabbed his hand and put it on his own leg. And I took my pillow and wedged it between us. He apologized again, and asked me if I was angry. I said, yes. He didn't bother me much after that. Until....I was finally able to sleep after the guy left me alone. But I only slept for maybe half an hour before I felt someone rubbing my arm. When I woke up, he was still holding my arm and looking at me saying, "Aw, you slept!" Oh my god, I was soooo furious that he woke me up. He really didn't bother me at all after that, except that I still had to sit next to the drunk.

So after 11 very long hours and very little sleep I arrived back in the USA. I like when the customs officers say "Welcome back" after they check my passport. Three hours in LA passed very quickly. I had to check-in again for my flight to Tucson. My luggage was 3 lbs over the weight limit, so I had to rummage through my pack and find heavy things I could take on the plane with me. Pain in my arse.

Finally, I arrived in Tucson! View from the plane.