Flying with Tip

Sept. 7, 2012

The airline giveth and the airline taketh away.  Just as I was about to sing United’s praises for having upgraded me to first class between BWI and Houston, I get to my assigned seat on the plane that is taking me to San Antonio, an Embrair pretend jet. I’m on the very last row. On the aisle seat. If I recline my seat I could likely hit whoever is in the bathroom behind me. To top it off, my row mate, on the aisle seat is Tip O’Neal, complete with a red face framed by a shock of white hair and 500 pounds of whatever wrapped in a light blue shirt and a linen coat.  He really does look like O’Neill  
Tip is nice and so I can’t be rude to him, but he’s also talkative, so I am forced to be a bit rude to him. I take out my iPad and begin reading my book, but that doesn’t seem to have any effect on him, and I resort to  taking out my headphones, plug them in and begin listening to Tony De La Rosa.  If Tip continued talking to me, I didn’t hear. 
He no longer is. I know that for a fact because he is now in the middle of an intense conversation with an an attractive off-duty flight attendant sitting next to him. In the aisle. No, not the aisle seat, but in a pull-down seat that is actually in the aisle! The regular flight attendant came back here a while a go and looked at us ,smiling.
“Like peas in a pod,” he said, making a sweeping motion with his left hand. 
Try sardines. 
Tip has now taken out his iPad and is showing his new friend some photos. She appears to be engrossed by the photos and Tip is immensely pleases
Tip apologized when he got to our row. “I’m really sorry to have to do this to you,” he said, looking at my not-so-tiny bulk of brownness. 
“that’s OK,” I assured him.  “it’s only a 45-minute flight.”
And I was being sincere. How can I be upset with him for being overweight when there’s nothing underweight about me?
So I squeezed in to my seat and leaned against the window. Fortunately, these planes have plenty of elbow room on the window side, so the situation is bearable. Or it should be for 45 minutes. So, take it away, Flaco. Play that accordion version of “San Antonio Rose” once more. Dale gas!

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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