I was reading an article on the airline passengers; “The 19 Most Annoying People on A Plane.”
This article reminded me the last trip back to Japan, the trip I booked the flight the night before the departure and threw random things into my suite case to attend my father’s funeral.
I always request an aisle seat whenever I can, especially for an international flight. I don’t like the feeling of trapped by two fellow passengers or the worse by four. Unfortunately, this time I was not able to get an aisle seat, my seat was all the way back of the plane and sandwiched by two passengers. The man right of me, who got an aisle seat, stood up and down through out the entire flight fromO’Hare to Narita and annoyed me greatly. I was tired and sleep deprived yet I could not sleep. Not just because the man next me was bothering me the entire time, but also many different emotional thoughts of my father came to my mind. I knew this day would come but I didn’t know it was that day.
10+ hours later, I finally landed at Narita International Airport. A big surprise was waiting for me! Because of the jet stream, my flight was delayed, and I only had 30 min to the connecting flight. If I have missed this flight, I would have been in a trouble. I would have to take Narita Express to downtown Tokyo, and then bullet train to my home town, it would take at least 3 hours instead of 45 minutes. Unbelievable! I was about to burst into tears. With the lightening speed, I went through the immigration, called my mother, picked up my luggage, the customs (Thank you for letting me go through without asking any questions.), rechecked in my luggage, through the security AGAIN, and finally reach to the domestic gate. Narita Airport is BIG. When I arrived at the gate, the boarding already started. I got on the bus which took me to the plane, I climbed up the steps to the plane. I was beyond exhaustion. I walked to my assigned seat.
In my assigned seat, there was an elderly man sitting. I gently and politely told the man the seat he was in was my seat, my assigned seat, showing my boarding ticket to prove my point. The man acknowledged me with annoyance on his face. He took no action, he would not move out of my seat. I told him again, gently and polity, the seat is mine. He pointed towards the back of the plane, and with his eyes he told me to go there. The airplane was empty, I could have gone to any empty seat.
Before I got here, I had to…
The day before I left Chicago, I closed my first ever property. The day before that, I was busy getting a bank check which was the biggest amount I ever cut in my life. I did the final walk through to make sure everything was OK. On the day of the closing, I had to go to the title office between my work hours, and checked a mountain of papers and signed them all. After a brief visit to my proud old but new condo to take care a few things, I came home. Just as I was getting ready for dinner, I received the news, the sad new, unexpected news, my father’s death. My family is a firm believer of you should live for someone alive not for the dead. I was obligated to do what I had to do, I would not be allowed to go home if I left something here. I booked my flight first. I had 12 hours. There were so many things I had to do. I needed to take care in my old but new condo, I asked my dearest friend to take it over while I was away. My boss told me not to worry about the work, and just go home. I stopped the mail service, and activated electric service in my old but new condo. 12 hours went by, it was as if only 3 hours. I barely slept that night. I could not sleep in a trans pacific flight, and I ran in Narita Airport at the speed of light. I was drained, physically and emotionally.
I did not want to take any more steps, I was exhausted. I did not want to move even one inch because of this mean old man who stole my seat. But I told myself to calm down and not to loose myself and ti handle the situation peacefully, I also told myself this poor old man had no reasons, besides he stole my seat, to be dumped on the emotions and stress that I had to deal with past 48 hours. I took one deep breath. I protest with my eyes and I told the man again with firm but gentle voice, “This is my seat.” He finally moved out of my seat to his own seat. His attitude towards me was not acceptable for some like myself spent almost all of adulthood in a country where women are respected. It was clear to me. I also wanted to send him a message that just because I was younger and a woman, I was not going to give him his way.