Getting a middle seat on a twelve hour flight is like finding all the good sweets have gone in a box of roses. You still chew on the dark chocolate orange flavoured hazelnut whirl, it’s just you wish you got there sooner. With the window seat, you get to see the take off, and, if you are clever, can make pillow out of the indent in the glass. The aisle seat isn’t bad. Apart from hot drinks and flimsy trays being passed over head and the uncertainty of when the person is going to tap you on the shoulder for the fifth time for a toilet escape just as you start to dose, the aisle seat isn’t bad either. Well, the middle seat, that just for slow torture.
Mr Wim Chang Whom got off to bad start in my books. “Sir, you must put your luggage in the containers above before we take off” came the voice from the pink shirted steward. “Me, no understand, English is bad” came the short and sharp reply. I felt sorry for him in a way. It must have been difficult to read the Financial Times, after all, it was in English. It would have been easy for me to hold the aisle blocking bag against him in case there was an aviation emergency and I tripped up whilst trying to escape. There was something far more serious. His blanket was blocking the video channel selection button to my left. Not only was I missing the start of the Wedding Crashers (with hindsight not a bad thing) I also became aware he was omitting a strong smell of oranges. Maybe not the worst smell in the world, but rather strange.
Maybe my luck was in. The two people to my other side were talking about aviation, apparently, so it semed, the woman to my right was an air hostess. All the signs were there, immaculately dressed, perfume stolen from a hundred samples, manicured hands from a hundred bored stop overs, a ‘would you like anything to drink’ posh yet toned voice. But just like Mr Whom next to me with his citrus issue, I was to get a small surprise when she turned around to talk to me. I immediately started to sympathise with Luke Skywalker when he removed his fathers mask. Okay, her head wasn’t green and she was not the leader of all things dark, but she was thirty years older than I had pictured her to be. I she looked familiar. I swore I had seen her on ‘When plastic surgery goes wrong’.