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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ode to the ArmRest Hog

This is not an affectionate "ode" by no means, if you thought it would be. See, here's the thing. I used to be a road warrior for my job. I bounced from city to city monitoring clinical trials for a good 5 years of my life. I have war stories like you would not believe. I once had the Pacific Tsunami warning system, a missed flight from Seattle, a search just shy of an anal probe, lighting striking my plane, 6AM fire alarms while in the hotel room shower, being re-ended in the rental car on an exit ramp in MN, getting lost in Minneapolis..again, and a staff member dying at a site in Canada, thus, cancelling the next visit....all in one trip....and that was only up to Wednesday. My colleagues, still say I have everyone beat on the worst itinerary of all time and funniest, although there were tears and the constant update of my resume on this trip.
The traveling, although I liked it, got old quickly. Now I am in management, so my travel is limited to mostly bid defenses and such. I will say that being propelled back into travel mode for a critical project for the last two weeks and the next two weeks, has had me reevaluate my travel pet peeves, and notably, they haven't changed. Warning: business traveler snarkfest ahead.
Let me sum up the things that push my travel buttons in a few short bullet points, ok?

  1. The moving walkway is not a carnival ride, people. Stand right, walk left, or I will mow you down with my matched luggage. I take no prisoners so I suggest you step aside.
  2. There's lightning. We aren't taking off. DUH! It's for your own safety and the people on the ground that stand next to large metal tubes all day. I think there is a chance of them getting struck and resembling frizzled onions afterward. The universe does not revolve around you and your golf game, business meeting, or vacation. Shut your mouth, play with your Blackberry, wear your headphones, but shut the hell up. One more complaint and I'll shove the SkyMall magazine in your piehole and you can tell me how redemption tastes.
  3. For the love of God, no one wants to smell your smelly dress-socked feet that have been sweating all day in your Huarache's. We can't wear perfume on the plane so we shouldn't smell your feet either, especially when the air conditioning isn't working. My God have mercy on my soul if you so as think to put your feet up on the back of my chair near my arm or head. I hate feet, especially other people's feet within minuscule inches away from me.
  4. The "general public" should have to pass a written exam before attempting to navigate the airport. You can set a watch to how fast I can methodically manage getting through security. By the time you've even walked into the line, I've walked up with my jacket off, laptop in my arms, baggie of liquids in my hands, and shoes ready to be slipped off. By the time, I get through, you've tried to walk through the metal detector three times because you belt was still on, change in your pockets, and laptop not out of it's case. How long have we known to do this? Do you ever watch the news? Business people hate you. Go home and stay there. It's safer for you since you could get mowed down by a deranged business woman and her matched luggage.
  5. And the grand-daddy of all peeves...the armrest hog.

How I despise a person not aware of their spacial surroundings. On rare occasion for a last minute flight or switch, I may end up in a middle seat. This are the days you wished you had gotten your free upgrade, but you knew the universe would not be that kind. So you manage to sit yourself between two business men, with their smelly, socked feet resting out of their huaraches, Blackberry attached to their ears, and newspapers opened well across the front of you in the dreaded middle seat. So once you've identified that your arms are crossed in front of you because of appendage spillage over the armrests next to you, the silent war begins.

Most people, myself included, do not speak up at the offender and kindly ask them to share a little space with you. Noooooo, we sit there and stew about the offending elbow...and so the silent armrest war begins.

But just think how many ways we can request a little space?

  1. The Socialite Method: I say dear fellow, would you be so kind as to offer me space on your armrest? I can just tell you're a generous chap. My what a lovely Brookes Brothers tie...oh and yes, do you have any Grey Poupon?
  2. The Vanilla Ice White Rapper method: Alright. Stop. Collaborate and listen. Get yo junk out my seat yo. Word to your mutha.
  3. The Monty Python French Taunter (ridiculous French accent) method: Go away you silly kaaaaniget (knight) or I taunt you some more. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled like elderberries. I catapult livestock at you. If you don't a move your arm, I fart in your general direction *sticks tongue out*
  4. The My Cousin Vinny Deer-a Hunting Method: Looking at armrest hog and states in a thick Jersey accent (which I do well, BTW cause I represent), "Pretend your a deer-a, your prancing along through the forest, you come across a brook, your put you little deer-a lips down to the cool wata, and BAM!, a bullet rips through your skull, your brains all over the ground in little bloody pieces. So I axe ya, do you share the armrest with the person sitting next to you or do you like your brain in little bloody pieces all over the seat pocket in front of ya? Did I also fail to mention that my family is in the concrete business?" *snaps gum and flips hair*
  5. The Jack Sparrow Pirate Sword Fight Method: *said with a cunning smile and rum-drunken swagger*, "Say mate, how about you sharin' the armrest booty with me, says I. Join me crew. Together we be the greatest scallywags of the salt, mate....burning and pillaging our weaselly black hearts out, savvy? *armrest hog doesn't budge*. Avast me hearties, barrels of rum and pleasurable company. *armrest hog turns to look, moves his arm and realizes he'd been ousted off the armrest* Armrest hog, "Hey! You cheated!". Jack, *shrug*, "Pirate, mate."

See? Not so hard, eh? Nooo, we sit there and wait for them to move slightly so we can inch our arm ever so slightly on the armrest to regain our rightful piece of property. Tell me you don't do this? Ok red-eye is kicking in...naptime.

Oh and yes, I did win the armrest war. Huzzah!


At 1:55 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

dear lord! Your posts need a "not safe for work" label or at the very least a "don't drink or you may have it come out your nose while dying of laughter" label! :) I particularly enjoyed the Vanilla Ice one.

And dude, you forgot the best way to make them move. Poke 'em with a sock needle or two!!! ;)

At 3:37 PM, Blogger betty said...

My rule is, the middle seat person can have both of his/her armrests, no questions asked. I feel the middle seat person deserves the armrests because they are suffering enough be sitting in the middle seat.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Robin said...

HOLY F'G CRAP, Sharon - tears of laughter are STREAMING off my face right now!!!! Thanks for the hilarious post! LOVE to HATE the smelly socked huarached feet (oh, the visual - for some reason I also got a flash of that scene in the Office Space dream where Lumberg is 'going to town' on Jennifer Aniston with her foot in the air - except replace it with the socked huarache foot - EW!!!) and also the Ice Ice Baby and Jersey moving requests. Only you would know the words to that Vanilla Ice song!! And I could totally HEAR you doing the Jersey thing. It's similar to a Chicago accent but even funnier. LOL.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Annie said...

AMEN! I have never traveled for work, but I have flown a lot, and I agree with you! I can get myself AND my 5 year old through security in record time--he has flown so much he knows to take his shoes off and put them in the bin with mine without me saying word one.

The one you forgot is when the person sitting next to you LIFTS UP the armrest, usually because their cup (belly?) spilleth over, if you will. I have been known to wordlessly slam that sucker back down before it's all the way up. Boundaries, people!

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Nicole said...

If I ever come to America, we are so getting together, if you are funny in print, you must be hilarious in person.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger KubusKrafts said...

I see you had some free time in the airport. Do you feel better now that you have vented?

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Thea said...

another ploy for you. Act nauseous. As for their extra airsick bag, cause sometimes you need two.

You'd be surprised how much room people give you if you warn them you just might puke. :-) I used to warn them my daughter might, and often I even got a whole empty seat!

hilarious post. must share w/ my husband when he gets home from DC on the shuttle tonight!

At 1:28 PM, Blogger PerfectMomentProject said...

Love it... just had that battle..

Is that a Blackberry in your pocket? Traveling for work can be tough on the heart. But there are tricks to keeping in touch.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Brilliant and hilarious post! I can't stand armrest hogs or seat hogs on the train during my commute to work. Skinny white guy, are your balls so big you need to spread out your legs like that and infringe on my seat?? Sharp jab with the needles! BTW, I heart SkyMall magazine. I really want the Garden Yeti sculpture for my birthday.

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Juti said...

As a fellow business traveler, I say AMEN, sistah, you nailed the armrest war thing.

I'm too polite, too. Even when it has been a transatlatic flight originating in Denver.


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