Meandering Out Loud

Don Thorp’s Musing, Muttering, and Mischief Along a Random Path


smist A little travel tale for my trip to San Jose yesterday, April 6th.

On the Austin to San Jose leg, a guy who looked more sleep deprived than I felt, plopped down in the seat next to me with blanket in hand. He was quiet and immediately fell asleep. A bit later, as they were serving beverages, he woke up long enough to request a 7-up. The attendant handed him a can of Sierra Mist instead. Taking the cup and can, he took just enough time to fill the cup, drink half, then slipped back into a comatose state.

The flight was mostly smooth with the occasional moment of clear air turbulence. Each time we hit a rough patch, I’d glance over at his mostly full can and half-filled cup and wonder when they were going to end up all over me.

As we neared the end of the flight, my seat mate’s slumber took a slightly more violent turn. Every so often he’d suddenly shift and spasm which, more often than not, resulted in my being kicked or elbowed. It wasn’t pleasant, but it didn’t hurt so I let it be. Anyway, by this time, I was amazed that he never woke up and that the open containers of liquid were still perched on his tray ready to cover me in sticky goo in an upcoming spasm.

Apparently, the calm air and riveting podcast novel Weather Child helped me forget about the drink. Very near the end of the flight, I was startled by the sound of his drink can hitting the tray and the cup, with some ice remaining, clattering off the side of the cabin and onto the floor.

Turning to see what had happened, I remember thinking, surely that will wake him up. Realizing that it wasn’t, I quickly reached over, righted the can, and then tried to wake him. I poked, prodded, and shook him and he slept right through it all. A little concerned I looked at his face and noticed that he was in REM sleep, dreaming away. Thinking on it now, I hoped it was at least a refreshing dream.

Not sure what else to do, I glanced over at the guy across the aisle and he shook his head, shrugged and offered no words of wisdom. Since I wasn’t his mother, I decided to just leave it alone. After having no luck trying to wake a man whose hand is sitting on the tray table in cold Sierra Mist while rivulets of lemon-lime water tumble over the side onto his already drenched pants, I decided to go back to my podcast.

A a couple of minutes later, just as I was about to push the attendant call button realizing there is still enough on the tray to drip on me if the plane banked right, he shifts in his seat and starts to wake. Half awake, it takes at least a couple of minutes for him to realize that he’s covered in sugar water and a couple more for him to reach up and press the call button to ask for napkins. Which by the way were the only words he spoke the entire flight.

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April 7th, 2009

Don Thorp



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