You may have noticed on my previous blog about my flight to Boston that I referred to the first leg of my flight as disturbing: Previous Blog Posting
Now for the why.
I sat on one of the aisle seats. There were 3 seats on each side; a window, middle and aisle seat. When I got to my seat, 6D, there was already someone sitting in the middle seat. A somewhat attractive young man, probably in his early to mid 20′s, middle eastern, with an extremely straggly beard that he had obviously never shaved. In other words, a nice young (quite possibly) Muslim guy. Now I do my best to not let prejudices bother me, but this guy was just creepy, once you sat next to him for any period of time. He looked eXTREMEly nervous. His eyes where kinda shifty. He did not smile, or anything. The one word he spoke to the flight attendant later, “Water”, was the only word he spoke the entire flight (out loud) and that with an accent. Taken on their own, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but in one package? Oy. Maybe if I’d told him my father was Muslim (not really, he just told people that) he would’ve relaxed. Until I told him my mother was Jewish, ha! However I, always trying to assume good intent, chalked it up to perhaps he was afraid of flying. I hope.
The window seat was empty, so I felt a bit concerned that I would be sitting alone with him at this point. It wasn’t until the very last that another lady sat in the window seat, which made me feel a bit better.
So we start taxiing down the runway, and young muslim dude starts muttering to himself. Or maybe he was praying. He was obviously very disturbed about something, because he kept it up for a solid half hour or so. Are you getting a picture of this now? Young, unfriendly, muslim, nervous, on plane, with accent, talking/praying/muttering to himself? Good. Let’s continue…
I was pretty desperate to get some sleep on this flight. It was only about 4.5 hours, and I wouldn’t really have any chance to get any decent sleep afterwards; this was my only shot. I did stay up long enough to get my little shuteye kit, since it had ear plugs and a sleeping mask, which was a big help. I also wanted to get some soup to warm me up. Once I got that all settled (they initially claimed to not have any soup, but they ‘found one in the back’. I didn’t ask) I slapped on my mask, attempted to squeeze the earplugs in despite the fact that they did not remain rolled up for longer than a nanosecond no matter how much you rolled and squeezed, and tried to get some sleep. Muslim boy apparently had the same idea, which was all good with me. He had found a blanket somewhere and was doing something underneath it, but I tried really hard not to think about that. I mean, he did have his mask on too…
I woke up about an hour later. Muslim boy had his elbow clearly in my personal space, pushing on me a little with it, but the hand at the end of that elbow was caressing my leg. And squeezing. And stuff. I shifted and tried to move away (ha! I might as well be a sardine!). But nothing, he just squeezed and stroked my leg. I looked at him and he appeared to be asleep. And the hand seemed to be getting more into it, squeezing harder and more of my leg. I just sat there, totally dumbfounded, for at *least* 10 seconds before I shot up out of my seat and stalked to the bathroom. And stayed there a good 5 minutes, taking my time. So much for my attempt to get as much sleep as possible, since I had lover muslim boy next to me. I mean, cute can only take you so far, and everything else was just…creepy. I sat in there trying to figure out what if anything I should do. I mean, it’s entirely likely that he *was* still sleeping, and was….sleep…fondling? Brother.
I went back to my seat. Sat down. Muslim boy had shifted away…good. I slapped the mask back on and went back to sleep, thankfully for the majority of the rest of the flight.