I was returning home from a fast visit to Mexico City this past Friday. Into D.F. at noon Thursday, out of D.F. at noon on Friday.
Connecting through Houston is my most efficient route. I can be on the ground in Mexico City five hours from leaving home. Similar on the return.
In Houston, after a crush at passport control (and more self loathing for my ongoing procrastination about getting Global Entry) I managed to walk up to my departure gate for home just as boarding was starting.
I’m a nobody with this airline because they have only two gates and a few destinations served from my home airport. Sadly* I am a big cheese on the major carrier that serves my city. (*I travel less now, but still too much).
This is a tiny plane and a short trip and I had a window seat near the rear. There was a couple walking down the aisle in front of me. Maybe 75 years old +/-. He has the demeanor of a college professor or maybe an Episcopalian minister. He smiled genuinely, acted in overt kindness, was aware of others, unlike 80% of people today, and wasted no time stowing things and sitting in seat 20A. That seat is alone on the right side of this small regional jet.
The wife was turned out as if she were attending a debutante ball for herself. She was dressed as if she was the age where that could happen. Bleached hair cut to young. Massive foundation make up and what seemed like black sharpie drawn circles around the eyes, seen peering through tip-o-the-trend eyeglasses, and the requisite tight jeans and too young trendy footwear.
After the man sat in 20A, she sat in 20C (aisle across from her husbands) I noted my seat was 20D, the window beside th wife, so I mentioned to the husband that Id gladly switch in any way they wanted so they could sit side by side. He smiled and was starting to position himself to stand up while he said thank yo, when the wife’s voice drowned him out.
I turned to look at her and she , while staring at him, said, “Yes thanks but he is…he can’t….he , well….he will need to get up and down a lot so thanks though but he can stay there. She totally spoke for the man. Plus she made no effort to speak quietly when she all but announced to several rows of passengers……”My husband suffers urinary incontinence”
He just stared straight ahead. The kindness in his face was shrouded by another emotion. He looked futile, resigned to something he once could say he disliked but now its so normal he just forges ahead. I thought about the way most of the western world sees marriage and men and women relating. The way most men and women see men behaving badly and woman saintly servants. I then thought about how red pill awareness clarifies things and I knew that what I saw on that mans face was the steadfast long-suffering that far more men than women choose to endure rather than divorce. Its in the numbers, and this man could be a advert. Tragically even he most likely would reject everything I am saying in defense of his
As the last passengers were boarding young woman behind us was struggling with a baby and the need to stow a bag overhead. The woman beside me turned into the aisle and hear head was on a swivel. She began speaking to no one in particular….”someone needs to help her….she ….the bag….here…hold on a sec….” Her husband started to get up. He would be delighted to help and it was obvious he wanted to be the one.
She rescued him again, “No, no one of those guys…..hey!, excuse me, can you stand up and help that girl please”. She was running a squad of men it seemed, in that mother hen I-gotta-watch-so-they-do-it-the-way-I- would-do-it way.
You know how helpful women are.
The flight is 1 hr 15 minutes. I had one beer, then a coffee, and I mildly seethed. I read my book and watched the clear view out the window. And the man never stirred from his seat. Not once.
When we landed, as we parked the plane and started standing and shuffling into position, an opportunity and a compulsion hit me at once. The could and I had gate checked bags to collect in the jet way. Few others did (which is rare). So as they got their bags and I got my bag I made eye contact and the man , not surprisingly, thanked me for offering the seat swap and that it was thoughtful of me.
I smiled at him and said it was no problem and that Id hope someone would offer me and my wife the option to sit together when we travel.
Then I looked at the wife and I said, “and my wife would let me completely respond to the offer…hopefully next time you will let your husband decide on the offer and speak his choice for himself and to decide for himself if he wants to get up and assist someone without you reprimanding him. ”
I added, “it was very disrespectful especially with so many others hearing all of it.” I looked back to the man, only him, and wished him a nice evening and a blessed Christmas.
It felt good. It felt right even.