2017-10-24 - Can't Concentrate

Can't Concentrate

Stalk The Comic:

October 24, 2017 - News Post

I flew to Florida on Friday. The flight was neutral.

To fly at 5am, I used Southwest airlines, an airline that allows you to choose your own seat. I boarded in the middle, and managed to find an aisle seat near the wing. A chain of people followed behind me, yet I somehow avoided a middle-seat passenger throughout the entire boarding process. It was probably my smell.

The lady in the window seat looked at me and smiled. We were going to make it. No one sat next to us.

Then SHE got on board.

A short woman in her mid-sixties stepped onto the plane. She was the last one on by at least a minute. There were many available seats, yet she passed them all on the way to the seat next me. She shoved her way in politely enough, and with that, my elbow room was gone.

Upon takeoff, they dimmed the lights.

I had 90 short minutes before a very very long day. I had only slept 2 hours the night before, so mid-flight sleep was a bit of a priority. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back (I’m not a jerk… I left my seat upright). I was juuuuuust beginning to dream when my eyelids were illuminated by a brilliant spotlight.

I looked up. My new neighbor was playing games, and she had her phone’s brightness set on “headlight”.

“No matter.” I thought. “I can sleep through anything.” I closed my eyes and once again leaned back. Dreamland returned once more.

doot… doot… BEEP!!!

My dream was making funny sounds.

BEEP BEEP… doot… doot, doot… BEEP!!!

I opened my left eye ever so slightly. My buddy was playing games with the freakin’ sound on.

I tried to ignore it. The noises were irregular and changing at odd times. I gave her a good seven minutes hoping she’d get the hint. Finally, I had to say something.

I swallowed my exhaustion-fueled rage. “Excuse me, would it be at all possible to lower the volume or use headphones?” I smiled. “I’m pretty sleepy.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.” She said, clearly oblivious to the pain she caused me. Her reaction was genuine.

Well that was easy. I even felt a little bad for bothering her. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. Nothing happened.

At any given second on any given day, I can fall asleep at a moment’s notice. Point me to a corner to lean on, and I’ll be out. I’ve always had this ability since childhood… and it was failing me at that moment. For 20 minutes, I laid perfectly still, completely unable to sleep. I was too tired.

When I realized I would never sleep again, I decided to be productive. If this person was going to ruin my rest, I could at least write the day’s comic. I pulled out my phone and began to type.

“Do you have internet service?” The lady asked.

“Nope.” I said without a smile. “Just typing up notes.”

“Oh, because I didn’t buy the internet service. I’ve been trying to send photos. Would you like to see my photos?”

I attempted to be polite. “In a few. Right now, I need to type—”

“They’re photos from my trip to Germany.”

I wondered how to push her out the window.

“My mother grew up there, and I had never been. Would you like to see?”

There was no stopping her. This would go on forever.

I sighed audibly, and heard my voice say. “Sure. Show me the photos.”

I wanted to murder this woman, and she began her long story.

And you know what? It was a fascinating, enlightening chat. Her parents met a decade after World War II. Her father was an American soldier and her mother was a German civilian, both in their late teens. They had a long, complicated courtship that wound up with several children. My seat-mate was on her way to celebrate her mother’s 91st birthday, as one of the few remaining children.

Her photos turned out to be beautiful. Her stories equally so. The rest of the flight flew by (yes, I know what I said) without me even realizing it. For the record, that’s 45 minutes of wanting to murder my annoying neighbor followed by 45 minutes of making great friends. All in all, a pretty neutral flight.

I could’ve used the sleep, but the conversation was wonderful. Who knew talking to strangers could be so enlightening? There might’ve been a lesson there about getting to know people, but I was far too exhausted to learn it.

After 770 words about nothing, I’m sure you readers know a thing or two about exhaustion.

I’ll have more exciting tales soon. Until then, rest up.

-Jeff