I wasn’t copping a feel, but I did smack the flight attendant’s bottom.
I collapsed into my aisle seat. Next to the window, a small, dark skinned woman in her late 20s balanced a large baby on her lap. The mother had dark circles under her eyes and was dressed in brightly colored clothing. It was early in the afternoon and I was already exhausted from the three hour drive to the Calgary airport. The flight to London would take about nine hours.
The woman and I started talking about babies; her daughter was 18 months old and very big for her age. While we were chatting, a passenger stopped at our row and loomed over us for a moment, before claiming the woman was in his seat. He didn’t even bother to say “Excuse me”; he just interrupted our conversation. They pulled out their tickets to compare. She had made a mistake.
The mom shuffled across the aisle and up one row, carrying as much as she could with her free arm. I passed the rest of her things over – a bottle, a blanket, a little stuffed monkey, and a plastic ring for teething. I didn’t even get to ask her if she was staying in London or if she was going onto some place else. My final destination was Sri Lanka.
Eventually dinner was served. I listened to Bob Marley while nibbling on a tasteless, cardboard-like bread roll. The peas and carrots were soggy. I couldn’t even bring myself to touch the sketchy looking main dish, something covered in a red sauce. Empty dinner trays sat waiting to be collected. The woman’s baby started twisting and turning in her sleep, forcing the mom to set her dinner tray down in the aisle.
I only had seconds to act, or rather react. I didn’t even see or hear the flight attendants coming. I just sensed the trolley cart, fast approaching from the rear of the cabin. Instinctively my arm shot out, at a 90-degree angle into the aisle. My goal was to prevent a flight attendant from trampling backwards over the abandoned dinner tray.
My hand did not strike where I had expected it to – in the middle of the flight attendant’s back. He was tall and I was seated down low, giving me the perfect angle to thwack him square on the butt. Rarely do I turn red, but I could feel the color in my cheeks light up, my ears started to burn and sweat collected on my brow. I apologized profusely to the young man.
“That’s alright. I take what I can get,” he said in a French accent. “My bum’s so big that it couldn’t have been helped.”