Neatness is not my strength. I can still hear the disdain in my grandmother’s voice as she entered my bedroom during my teenage years – “Is that your UNDERWEAR on the floor?” I have gotten better at that. Okay, no, I haven’t, but I live far enough away that she will never have to experience that horror again, and when I stay with her, I keep my room fake neat (i.e., shove everything into my suitcase).
So I am not in danger of being diagnosed with OCD, but for some things, I am more obsessive compulsive than Melvin Udall and his plastic utensils. Sitting at the top of that short list, you will find airline seat assignments. I am completely obsessive about getting the perfect seat for my flight. Well, truly, the perfect seat would be in first class, so I guess I am looking for the perfect seat in the cattle section.
It has to be an aisle – so that I can get up and use the spacious restrooms 45 times during the flight. Can’t be the seat in front of the emergency exit, since they don’t recline, and the only time my seat is not reclined is during take off and landing, and that is only because the flight attendants raise it for you if you don’t do it yourself (of course I tried fake sleeping – that doesn’t work either). Can’t be the last seat – double whammy with no reclining and the waft of blue toilet cleaner mixed with whatever the last visitor left in there. Not a huge fan of the first seat – no room to put your belongings at your feet. I like to have all my entertainment available at a moment’s notice. If I want to read, do sudoku, have a sip of $4.25 water I purchased beyond the security entrance, listen to my (not)iPod after we are above 10,000 feet, or whatever other fun treasures I lugged through the x-ray machine that are permissible on a flight these days – I would like to do so without unbuckling, opening the overhead bins and hoping that items have not shifted during flight.
My first choice would be an aisle seat in the emergency exit row. If there are two emergency exit rows, it has to be the second one, because the first one doesn’t recline – allowing for 3 extra inches of safety so peeps can squeeze through in case of an emergency where the plane actually lands and we have to evacuate – really, don’t you think people would get through even if the seats were reclined to the resting point of 94 degrees? Which leads me to the other reason I like to sit in the emergency exit row… I would like to be the first one out. Or, rather, the third one out. Apparently my priority for accessing the restroom without having to crawl over some sleeping stranger outranks my safety.
For my next flight (cross country during the Christmas holiday – sounds like fun, no?) the airline randomly assigned my seats. They are not to my liking. Yes, I am in the aisle (directly behind the emergency exits – ready to pounce if one of those suckers replies "no" when asked if he/she will assist during an emergency – hey, I’ve seen it happen) so what is my concern? Well, we have the aisle and middle seats. If the fun little buttons they taunt you with on the plane drawing they show you when you book your tickets online actually worked, I would have clicked on an aisle and window seat for myself and my lovely (but one seat away) spouse, respectively. Here is my master plan (don’t tell anyone, okay?): book the aisle and window seats – increases the chances of having the middle seat empty. Everyone wants a window seat (except me), so our row will most likely have 3 people in it now. But if the middle seat was the only one open, it could be the last seat assigned on the plane.
Weird that I don’t want to sit next to my loved one? Well then hold on to your horses (or mouses, as is the more likely case). On one of our recent flights, I put my plan into action, and booked window and aisle. Unfortunately, the flight was full, and the seat between us was assigned. We stayed in our seats. Yep, rode the whole however many hours sitting next to a complete stranger instead of each other. I think it is these little things that make our marriage stronger.
I was unable to change our seats due to the airline's strict rules on hoarding seats for platinum gold triple titanium club members, so I will wait until 24 hours prior to the flight to call in and request better seats. I am considering setting my alarm for 12:41 am to make sure I am the first to call in. Is that too much?