Wednesday, March 02, 2005

And For Our Next Illusion...

02 March 2005

We will attempt to squeeze a 350 lb man into a middle seat, 29E specifically of a 777. Can’t be done you might suggest. Ha! This is an illusion remember.

I just sat down in my comfy aisle seat at 29D in center section of this wonderful 777. Naturally, the arm rest is broken on my right. I folded it up and folded it back down and things looked to be back on track. Or do they now?

Next thing ya know, this 350 lb man and his wife are shoe-horning themselves into the next two seats from the opposite side (thank goodness). Just as he leans all his 350 lbs onto the armrest on my right to steady all of his 350 lbs before he tumbles into my lap, the armrest gives way again! (Now imagine my eyebrows touching my hairline in utter shock wondering if this man was going to be face-first in my lap!) Well, this is going to be interesting (I’m thinking to myself). Tried to reset the armrest as I did before, but it was trashed.

As he gets settled into the middle seat, I start noticing the collapsed and limp armrest pushing into my thigh. It really is quite an imaginative idea of those Brits at BA to make self-sizing, self-accommodating economy seating for those pesky narrow middle seats! If you’ll just join me in my further amazement, I’ve never seen a person ooze into the next seat over until now.

But honestly, he was a very nice man. He was almost apologetic for trying to shoe-horn himself into this tiny middle seat. It was almost like watching a 6’7” basketball player trying to squeeze into an elementary school size desk. Just that it isn’t so comical when you know that you have to be the person on the other side whose got an armrest imbedded into your thigh – and even when you move more to your left, ever so little so you’re not thigh to thigh with the man on your right and the ooze just keeps on flowing! Not to say that I was seated next to the Blob or anything like that, it’s just a case of being dumbfounded as to how to handle this situation and being on a full flight with nowhere else to move.

Well, we all made it to Kuwait in one piece. Shirley was at the airport to meet me. She was dropping off Tony from the T3 cell for his vacation. We were waiting for another guy to show up, but by 945am, we gave up. His flight had been delayed, but no sight of him anywhere. Once we got back to Bldg 18, he had left a message that he was there already.

I quickly mailed off some stuff that I didn’t want to drag back to Baghdad only to mail it from there, then went over and manifested myself for the next flight to Baghdad. There were three flights that evening and the roll call was at 2pm. This is probably the quickest turn-around that I’ve had since coming to “theater”. Picked up my flak vest and Kevlar helmet, took a quick shower and I was off to the roll call. With temps in the low 30’s and snow when I left Europe, these temps in the upper 70’s have just been making me sweat like a pig since my arrival. I needed a shower for everyone else’s sake more than mine!

Next thing you know, we’re on a bus to Ali Al Salem and on a C130 to Baghdad. Very, very uneventful flight AND a smooth as silk landing. Nothing as dramatic as our departure. Since my arrival was after dark, normally our supervisors don’t allow the vehicles out after dark, so I was able to thumb a ride with some other support contractors here. That was really nice of the CACI people to help me out.

It’s nice to be back “home” again. But only for another five weeks. Soon I’ll be doing the Big Bag Drag back to the old U.S. of A. I guess I’m ready to leave the “big sandbox” as Pete called it today in our IM. Maybe I’ll miss it. Maybe I’ll want to come back. But for now, I need to go home for at least few months. I need a bunch of home-time. I need long, hot baths in the tub, Saturday night with the Sunday paper, reruns of MASH, walks with the dog, waking up in my own bed.
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