My flight, 3950 from Kansas City to Chicago, was delayed due to a maintenance problem with the brakes. This was okay with me for two reasons; first, because I for one would not feel comfortable with the plane sliding beyond the end of the runway in Chicago, and second, because I had a nearly four hour layover at O’Hare Airport before my connecting flight to Brussels.
I decided to have an ice cold Boulevard Wheat beer at the Red Star Bar while waiting. The NFL playoffs were being shown on the bar TV, and since the Chiefs were not involved, I was glad to catch a bit of the action before leaving the US. My place at the bar also allowed me to observe the various people coming into that area of the terminal.
As always, most people are pretty normal, even if the stress of travel throws them somewhat off their usual game. But no worries, there is always the few odd ducks that inevitably show their faces to provide free entertainment. It wasn’t long before a young woman presented herself at the bar and promptly ordered a double Bacardi straight up. I had never heard of anyone drinking a double rum straight, and certainly not at 11:00 am. She took her drink and headed back to another gate area. I guessed that she had already hit her limit with the bartender at that location.
As soon as she left, the bartender at the Red Star, a young guy full of tattoos, continued discussing his past criminal problems with a patron who seemed to be from a city where the barkeep had apparently spent some time in the adult playpen. Although it was all in the past, I don’t think I would discuss my prior criminal behavior even if I was still a criminal. But, as long as he did not attempt to open a conversation with me, my evaluation was that he was doing a good job.
A group of men then entered the section of gates where the Red Star first greeted everyone. The man bringing up the rear for the group was a large fellow with a three inch goatee. As he passed closer by, I noticed he was wearing a t-shirt that did not amply cover the bottom of his rolling, bouncing, giggling flab. I had never seen a larger slab of bottom gut fat protruding from a t-shirt in my life. Mr. Fat, as my mind quickly labeled him, needed a longer shirt, and some friends or a wife that paid better attention.
Just as I finished my refreshing beverage and paid the criminal bartender, airport personnel announced the brake maintenance was complete and boarding would proceed immediately. My ticket assigned me boarding section three, behind a man that looked like a grown and slightly heavier version of Urkel, without the glasses. I minded my own business and boarded the United Express Flight.
Express flights are the smaller planes with two rows on one side and one row opposite. These planes are cramped for the passengers and their luggage. Overhead bins are small causing the lone stewardess to struggle to get everything and everyone situated as quickly as possible. I was sitting on the side with two rows, window seat 20 C. I noticed that Mr. Urkel was sitting one row up and across in the single row, 19 A.
As I settled in, Mr. Fat and his protruding slab made his way down the aisle stopping just past 19 A. He looked at the seat numbers and tapped Mr. Urkel on the shoulder. “You’re in my seat.” Mr. Urkel seemed bewildered and showed Mr. Fat his ticket. Mr. Fat pointed out that Mr. Urkel’s ticked said 19 C and he was sitting in 19 A. I’m sure Mr. Fat requested the one row seat because, well, he was fat. Mr. Urkel gathered up his coat and moved over the 19 C, right in front of me.
Everything seemed good but I was wondering if Mr. Urkel should be relabeled as Mr. Clueless, but I held off on that call for the time being. Right then, the lone stewardess announced from the back of the plane, “I have a black and red backpack, d oes it belong to anyone? A black and red backpack, does it belong to anyone?”
She began making her way to the front repeating, “I have a black and red backpack does it belong to anyone, if it is no one’s it will be taken off the plane.” As she got to row 19 Mr. Urkel apparently snapped out of his trance and spoke up. The stewardess looked at him and sternly stated, “You can’t just leave your backpack in the back of the plane at the stewardess station, it has to be stored.”
Mr. Urkel seemed bewildered again. The stewardess noticed an empty seat behind me and asked the person sitting in Seat 21 B to please put it under the seat next to her. The former Mr. Urkel, now officially Mr. Clueless was finally situated and the plane could take off for the short trip to Chicago.
We landed without incident and pulled up to the gate. Since the plane was late the flight crew asked those with a final destination of Chicago to please remain seated so those who had connecting flights could deplane quickly. I watched Mr. Clueless to see what he might do next. I had a good guess but wanted to confirm his cluelessness.
My assumption was correct. Mr. Clueless immediately pushed his way over the person next to him and began making his way against the flow of passengers to get back two rows to get his vaunted black and red backpack. He could not wait, could not let others get their luggage and make a path, could not ask the person to just hand it to him. No, he had to push his way back causing other passengers to cram against their seats to let him by.
Once he got the backpack, which by the way was way over-packed to bring aboard as a carryon, he reached into the overhead bin above row 19 and pulled out another carryon bag. It was not a briefcase, purse, or computer bag. It was a second carryon. Fucker had broken the rules. No wonder he didn’t have room for the overstuffed backpack. This person was truly clueless and my earlier comparison to Urkel was an insult to the actor that played Urkel.
As I began to deplane, I noticed Mr. Fat was calmly sitting in his seat waiting for those in a hurry to get off. Mr. Fat was fat, but at least he was not clueless. Every flight has a story.
Author: Mr. Jim Weller