We were flying from Alameda to Los Angeles in a plane that was designed more like a long conference room. I knew one person on the flight (Jonah) and had made acquaintanceship with two of his friends earlier in the day on a group outing at a museum of miniatures. Jonah and his friends sat together at an upholstered booth around a game table. I was several rows behind surrounded by famous, imaginary rappers.
I had a good view of the only people I knew, and wondered about changing my seat to join them, but life was exciting with the rappers. A woman dressed in a black chiffon secretary blouse and red pencil skirt with decorative buttons from the waist to the knee, sat behind me getting caressed by a beast of a man. He must’ve been 300 pounds and 6’6″. He took up the whole of two seats, and was slouching in them so low that his legs went underneath my seat and came out to scoot my feet aside.
The woman whined about how horrible he was at touching. “You’re so rough! You need to touch me like I’m woman! Don’t pat me like a dog!” I turned around and gave the guy my hand. “Touch me.”
He wove his fingers into my own and squeezed. It was a disaster. I felt like he was trying to crush me. I looked at the woman and offered my opinion. “He’s incredibly strong. I think that’s the issue.” I looked at him, “Pretend like your hands are dead…numb. Maybe you suffer from paralysis. Touch her with dead hands.”
And she crooned, “Baaaaaby, YES! That’s perfect. Keep touching me like that.”
Things started to get intense. I looked away.
A rapper called “Murphy” leaned over into my seat from the aisle to serve his friends who were sitting around me a custom cocktail his on-board bartender had mixed. His reach could only go so far, so he put one of his knees onto my lap to reach further. He treated the situation like a person wasn’t involved. He never looked at me, asked if he could squeeze in, or apologized for taking over my lap. And for some reason I didn’t say anything either. I wasn’t even offered a drink.
Once everyone had their liquor in hand, our row got very loud. People started to yell (no one was angry; that’s just how they communicated) and I couldn’t concentrate on anything. There was nothing for me to enjoy: the group wasn’t dressed particularly interesting, no one was sharing insider industry information, no one was trying to include the one outsider into the circle. I got myself out of the middle of the 6 person row and found a seat at the opposite end.
I turned around. Jonah’s two friends were calling out to me. “Wanna thumb wrestle?”
“I’d love to but my thumb nails are breaking on both fingers. I think they’d get ripped out if you guys are any good.” I showed them. They both agreed. “Oh yeaaah….that looks bad. Bummer.” They want back to their seats and I joined them just long enough to realize I didn’t want to be there either. “Where are you sitting anyway?” “Back where you found me — with all the rappers.”
I excused myself to go stand in the very back of the plane. I had my huge jacket with hood on and used the hood cover my face and try to sleep. As my eyes closed, I saw a familiar pair of pants and shoes. I thought it might be Jonah, but the pants were too loose. He’d never wear pants that moved.
“Andrea, is that you?” I looked up. It was my space planning instructor from about 12 years ago: Shepard Vineburg. “I saw you and just had to say ‘Hi.’ You look great! Gotta run. It was great seeing you.” He headed towards the door.
And that’s what’s great about dreams. Even 36,000 feet in the air, people can exit and be alright.