I'm back in the United States, dear readers, and it is very hot. Go figure. I returned via a 9-hour flight on Saturday, and boy, was it eventful!
My parents and I had great bulkhead seats that we paid extra for. We were on an exit row, so we had those seats next to the bathroom with all the open space right in front of us and the exit door just in front and to the right. The area in front of these seats is where people congregate to wait for the bathroom, but all the leg room makes up for that slight inconvenience. Or so we thought.
So about halfway through this flight, I am watching a movie in the center seat, while my father watches a movie in his aisle seat and my mother is asleep next to the window. I glance up and happen to notice a woman waiting for the bathroom who is leaning on the exit door, appearing to intently look out the window. I made note of this because I remember thinking, "Hmm, I wonder what the view's like," and then I went back to being fully engrossed in my movie. So engrossed, in fact, that I had noise-canceling headphones and couldn't hear anything else around me. Well, after awhile, this woman, still bending over toward the window, starts moving her feet around and getting in my personal space a bit. I glance disapprovingly at her, but try to ignore it. I also make eye-contact with another woman waiting for the bathroom, but at this point, I don't think anything is amiss, except that maybe this woman doesn't have great spatial awareness. But then, she steps on my mother's foot, which awakens her from her nap.
At first my mother looks confused and disoriented, wondering what woke her. Then she looks at this woman, says nothing, but begins pointing with a look of abject horror on her face. Up until this moment, dear reader, my lack of interest in this woman and the positioning of her body kept me from seeing what was happening, but now I see what my mom sees: that this woman has vomited ALL OVER the exit door. Now that's bad enough, certainly, but it gets worse, because moments after my mothers awakens and sees what has happened, this very sick woman faints into her lap. Now, for those of you who are concerned, let me say that none of the vomit got on any member of my family. But now my mother has an unconscious, sick woman sitting on her.
I rush to the back of the plane to get a flight attendant, who has already been informed of the situation but still takes an amazing amount of time to come save us. When the flight attendant does come and escort the woman to the back of the plane, my mother immediately bolts to the section in front of us. We don't see her for a long time after that.
The flight attendant promises my dad and me that someone is coming to clean it up presently, but I end up sitting next to vomit for waaaay longer than I would like. Eventually, he comes back and suggests we move while they deal with the situation, so my dad moves a few rows back to an empty seat near a young English couple, while I move into a seat next to a lovely grandmother from near Stratford-upon-Avon and her infant granddaughter. I will spare you the details of these people's lives, but I will say that I had a very nice time chatting with her, despite the circumstances that drove me to sit next to her.
Eventually, the area is cleaned and we are assured that it is safe to return to our seats. My mother has still not reappeared, so we assume she also found somewhere to sit. We later come to find out that she got to sit in business class. She would.
For the rest of the flight, the area around our seats continues to smell of vomit, but, I am ashamed to say, I grew accustomed to it. They offered to let us move permanently, but we were all settled in and that leg room was too good to give up. The sacrifices we make.
Oh, also, while we were waiting for our seats to be habitable again, my dad informed me that another woman about seven rows back had also started vomiting, but into a bag. Given that we have not had any turbulence, I began to fear that we were in an episode of House in which the entire plane falls ill, but as far as I know, only those two women were affected.
So there you have it, dear reader. Not something you ever expect to happen to you on a trans-Atlantic flight, but the truth is, when all is said and done, the idea of a woman puking on the exit door and then fainting on my mother is funny as hell.