The day after our wedding, my wonderful new husband and I were enjoying breakfast in out stunning honeymoon suite overlooking Dallas via a floor to ceiling window. The sun shone in the sitting room as we basked in the warm glow of new marriage. I wanted to stay in this place forever but I knew if we did we would miss out flight. Our honeymoon . We had booked a European castle tour with a brief stop in the fairy tale land of London.
We loitered as long as we could before we had to leave for the airport. We gathered our bags, checked out of the lap of luxury and climbed in the SUV. Because it was an international flight, we thought getting there two hours before would be plenty of time. Yes, it was our first international flight.
After we passed customs, a quick baggage check (the pre-9/11 baggage check), we checked in at the front desk. Because we wanted to spend three weeks overseas, most of our honeymoon allowance was spent on the tour and hotels, leaving us in coach. But how bad could that be? We flew coach to Cleveland, Florida, everywhere else. Coach is just fine.
We asked the clerk, for two seats by the window. She laughed.
"Those seats filled up hours ago," she smiled. "We only have the center seats left."
"Center can't be too bad," I smiled. Nothing was going to break my spirits. I just got married.
We got on the plane and realized the center section was five seats across and we were seats 3 and 4. I said a silent prayer that maybe seat #5 or even seat #2 would miss the flight. They did not.
Seat #5 was a young, single girl traveling for business. She seemed sweet. Seat #2 was a British man traveling with his wife in seat #1. He was a bit bigger than the average Joe but looked nice. The couple was coming back from vacation. They looked happy and relaxed.
Shortly after take off, seat #5 pulled called for stewardess and got a cup. She proceeded to pull a mini bottle of scotch out of her carry-on. I thought she might have a good idea--it was a ten hour flight after all. I noticed my new husband glancing through a magazine and decided to do the same. When the captain announced we were about to pass over New York City, I peered up from my magazine to try to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. I looked over seat #5's tray and saw two empty bottles of scotch and a third half full. I said another prayer hoping she could her liquor.
Once we started our journey over the Atlantic, both my husband and I noticed a rather foul smell. I began to worry it was our dinner. Then my husband tapped my shoulder and tilted his head toward seat #2. He had made himself more comfortable by taking off both his shoes and socks. And he really should have kept them on. The odor was worse than a boys' high school locker room (according to my husband--I've never been in one, really). I picked up the bag of chips they had just passed out and put it against my face to kill the smell. I wondered if it bothered seat #5--she was reaching for her fourth mini. And exposed a rather hairy arm pit that was suddenly giving seat #2's feet a run for their money. Lovely.
Eventually the cabin began to darken and we were entertained with a second rate movie (no I do not remember). Once it was over, I began to dooze off between my movie watching husband and sleeping seat #5.
And then Mr. Bean came on. If you are not familiar with Mr.Bean, he does zany physical comedy. Britain puffy hearts Mr. Bean or so I've been told. He was widely successful at the time. But as an American, Mr.Bean is not funny--I'm sorry my overseas friends. He's not, he's really not (at least in this Texas gal's simple mind). Well seat #2 was a HUGE Mr. Bean fan. Both my husband and I found Mr.Bean to be the perfect sleeping pill, not seat #2. Every time, I felt myself drifting away from the smell, the tight quarters, the hum of the plane...I was awakened with the sound of the most loudest gut-filled laughter I had ever heard in my life. It was a joyous laugh I would have enjoyed during daylight hours but not when I had not slept in at least 20. I was wondering if seat #5 would notice if I snagged a mini--not to drink but to break over seat #2's head. Hey, I was tired.
Finally Mr.Bean was over and 'Friends' came on. I heard seat #2 mutter about how silly the show was and put on an eye mask. And ya know what my new husband and I did. We laughed at every single joke .
Tune in next week as we visit the Queen's house and learn our dollar is not so great in the world of pounds.