• Howard Wolpoff

A Space Invasion


For years I wondered from a distance about the lives of people who travelled for work on a regular basis. What types of challenges did it bring to their families? How were they able to accomplish everything they needed on a weekly basis? How were they able to continue to participate in their social and charitable endeavors?

I truly believed that those were the biggest challenges. Oh how wrong I was. As I have begun a new job and now travel to Houston for half of my week, I now see an even greater obstacle. It is one I am learning to dred more than flight delays.

It is manspreading.

Every flight brings the unknown of who will I sit next to. Now I am six feet tall and weigh 200 pounds. I am not a small man, but I have always been respectful of my row partner and keep myself within the clear boundaries of my seat. I am quickly learning that I am a rare male who does so. What I have not expected are the everyday individual who feel entitled to their seat and some of yours as well.

Two weeks ago, I am in line to board for my return flight home. The flight had already been delayed getting to the airport so we were now over an hour late. I stood behind a very loud attention seeking man dressed in a tailored suit. He is very animated as he feels the need to take his business call on line, becoming the only sounds the rest of the passengers are able to hear – including the instructions from the flight crew. My thoughts focus on the hope that I do not have to sit next to him on the flight.

As fate would have it, I see him take the seat next to me. He settles in, spreads his legs and claims his space for the flight he feels he is entitled to. This included three to four inches into where my seat clearly began. He immediately fell asleep and I was left to squeeze closer to the window in my now smaller sitting space.

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an older gentlemen, somewhat larger than myself, who also settled in, manspread and pressed against my leg for the next two hours to ensure that he had the level of comfort he needed for our flight back to Florida, my comfort be damned.

This morning, I have a different experience as I type with my fingers just inches away from each other, having no more room to maneuver around the keyboard. My seat partner immediately took charge of the armrest and has continually pressed his elbow into my arm and side throughout the fight. Even after asking him to move back into his seat area, he has still continued to consistently move his arm back and forth as he reads his book. He clearly shows no concern of how his elbow assault is affected my flight experience – or my ability to type within the space of my seat.

I can better understand some of the in air altercation stories that the media have enjoyed sharing with us. I see where the level of frustration can develop on a flight. A short period of time, but with it the common occurrence of major levels of disrespect, violations of personal space and physical assaults.

I’m wondering why the airlines do not have PLEASE DO NOT MANSPREAD AND ELBOW ASSAULT as one of the announcements their flight crew makes before each flight departs. Perhaps that could add to the level of civility that the melting pot of people on the flight can express to each other. At the very least, perhaps it will provide me with my entire seat. And that should not be too much to ask

#airlines #flights #passengers #manspreding #courtesy

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