Good Friend Kerry, who has a printer at her house, was gracious enough to check me in for my Sunday flight, online, and print my boarding pass. Kerry is a totally savvy traveler, and takes the time to select seats on the flight, and I had requested a window seat.
I was REALLY not looking forward to the Alaska trip. REALLY not. The thought of My Window Seat, in Row 6 on a completely sold-out flight, was the ONLY sunny spot in my rainy-forecast outlook.
The baggage-screening line was about 3500 people long, and the airport was packed, so I only managed to make it to the gate when the last group was boarding. And, OH crap I need a bottle of water. So I ran to the stand, bought the water, and then scooted down the little tunnel and onto the plane, feeling relieved, and anxious to get to My Window Seat so I could curl up against the window and watch the scenery fly by.
Did I mention I suffer from mild claustrophobia? So I either need to be in a window seat, when the window shade is open (to provide the illusion that I could escape if needed...), or an aisle seat (so I can escape...into the crowded aisle of the plane).
I'm counting down the rows as I shuffle past the First-Classies, and I look at what I think is Row 6, and there are no empty seats. The row behind that does have a middle seat open, but I'm pretty sure someone is just confused, and I'll show them my boarding pass, and then tuck into My Window Seat for the flight.
I reach Row 6, and find 5 apprehensive faces all looking at me. Three from Row 6, and two from Row 7. I had my iPod earphones in, and was listening to something, loudly (probably Mandy Moore, or something else terribly uncool that I would have been enjoying), so I yanked one earphone out and said "Hi, I'm actually in 6A". A little boy, probably around 7 yrs old, was sitting in 6A, and a woman (his mother) was in 6B, and then a large, beefy man was in 6C (I assumed he was the father/husband). He was not the father/husband, but was apparently elected Speaker of Rows 6 & 7, and said "we were hoping that you wouldn't mind sitting in 7B (the scary, scary middle seat), so the boy can sit with his mother." I blurted, without thinking, "I really wanted a Window Seat, sorry."
So large, beefy man-who-is-not-father-husband, and doesn't even know the mother and son, makes a huffy production out of climbing out of his aisle seat, and relocating to 7B. I stood there, in a mildly embarrassed state, waiting for them to GIVE ME MY WINDOW SEAT, and the thoughts starting colliding:
1) All 5 of those people had hatched this completely evil plan, JUST because I was the last one to board. How rude is that?
2) I am a horrible person, and oh my God how could you not give up your seat so the mother and son could sit together (which they were doing anyway, but the boy just wasn't in My Window Seat, he was in the middle seat, where little people belong, and his mother was in the aisle seat - loudly thanking EVERYONE in Row 7 for being SO NICE.
3) Why didn't large, beefy man volunteer to move in the FIRST place? If he were really SO NICE, he would have moved seats (or the aisle girl in Row 7 could have offered...or the window guy in Row 7...), before I even got on the plane, and the whole awkward scene could have been avoided.
4) Oh, but I am really awful.
5) Nuh UNH - THEY are awful. It was a conspiracy, and I was the unwitting pawn!
I ended on that thought, and tucked into My Window Seat and relished my view of the tarmac, then disappearing Seattle, then the clouds, then appearing Juneau. This would, most likely, be my one and only opportunity to fly into Alaska, and see it from the plane. I later overheard the woman (while her son was yelling and making inappropriate noises) talking about how they lived there in Juneau, and I was thinking "they must take this flight all the time - why did that mean little 7 yr old take My Window Seat?"
So, when I recount this story, my single, child-free friends are all appalled that those people ambushed me like that. My friends who are married, with kids, all look at me in horror, as if I just ate one of their babies.
Suzel - I classify this as "Unintentionally Mean-but-kind-of-justified"