Monday, June 14, 2010

I Am the Butterfly

I apologize for the animosity towards butterflies. I was suffering from sleep deprivation and that sort of anger directed at any of God's creatures is truly unwarranted under any circumstance. That being said the butterfly is an essential piece to the chaos theory and as it turns out, so am I. Could it be that I am a butterfly? Not one of those fru fru ones, but one with a menacing pattern that looks like a face or skull or something….menacing.

Yesterday I boarded a flight to Dubai and experienced something that I have never experienced before. The flight had about 250 people on it; the majority looked like they were from India based on their attire. But since I am not an expert I will base my assumption on that. The bottom line is that they clearly do not abide by the rules that the majority of Americans hold to be both true and sacred. Boarding the plane was a nightmare based on the fact that most could not reach the over head bin and had to step on the seats to put their stuff away (multiplied times a couple of hundred). Of course the standard government fare put in the very back of the plane and when I got to my seat someone was sitting in it. I am a nice guy, well I did a nice thing one time, but considering I was about to embark on a 13 hour nonstop flight, I was pretty serious about having my aisle seat so I could stand and stretch from time to time.

The man stood up, to about my waist, and said in broken English "we trade you sit there." He then pointed to the middle section where there was an empty seat with 2 or so people to either side. I said "You short, I tall, get out of my seat." He didn't take me seriously so I took my hat of displaying my cleanly shorn scalp and I said "I want my seat." This time I remembered the key to international communication, speak really slowly and loud. The problem was that the men on the flight insisted on sitting with their women, but like all airlines, they are not necessarily booked that way. So he moved and began bargaining. At some point some guy moved so they could sit together and it was at that point that I noticed the majority of the people were trying to do the same. It was nuts.

The flight attendants were working hard to get people to sit, as they would get one, two more would get up and move around. It came to one man who refused to sit unless his wife was next to him. The flight attendants politely asked the man to sit and stated that they would sort it out once we go into the air and that it was necessary for the flight to take off. The man refused.

I became the butterfly (menaced of course) and flapped my mighty wings. I wish it had looked that cool, however, I don't know how to describe what happened, or exactly what I said. Imagine if you will, a 6'3" man weighing in at 225 pounds with a freshly shaved head standing up in an airplane and going berserk. Well, that was me I got up and yelled "for the love of everything holy, everybody sits down. I will give you my seat if you will just sit down." A hush came across the plane, everyone sat….and stared. It was silent; I grabbed my stuff and crawled across two people to my new seat.

What happened next is almost unbelievable; a flight attendant approached me and said she owed me a drink. While I don't drink I was just glad they didn't kick me off. Then another attendant approached and said that after the seatbelt sign went off that I could move to an empty aisle seat a couple of rows forward. As the plane began to taxi on the runway and take off people got up and started moving around again and someone moved to my soon to be seat. This was insanity and I would have 13 hours in my sub-compact seat.

Once we were in the air a woman approached me and said "I need to speak with you privately in the back." So I crawled to the aisle and went to the back where I figured an air marshal was waiting for me. When I got there, the flight attendant said "We appreciate what you did for us, my girlfriend spoke to the boss and we scored you a seat in 1st class." That was the last thing I expected from freaking out on an airplane.

I was a hero, when I got to my new super huge seat that reclined and had massive amounts of room I nearly cried. An older flight attendant who I assume was the head person said "we appreciate what you did, what can I get you to drink." She even gave me the whole can of tonic water. The ladies from the back periodically checked up on me.

Much like the butterfly, I have the ability to set things in motion and while my outbursts usually end in chaos, this ended up in a nice chair with free comfort socks and a delicious meal. They even had all you could eat Walker's Shortbread in the hard to find variety with chocolate chips.

I am the butterfly! (Queue menacing tune).


  1. That is an awesome story! You totally deserved that bump to 1st class. Who am I allowed to share this with? :o)

  2. i love you Brent, your my hero. We miss you.

  3. That. Is. Awesome.
    I just found your blog a few weeks ago and love reading it! Thanks for the smiles.
    ~ Nikki and Ray

  4. Spoken and executed as only an Army officer could do. Very well written Brent. Vaya con dios my friend. Be safe

  5. Very Impressive! You tell a good story and live a good life. Be safe.

  6. I read this to Nick (a.k.a. the Warlock) while we were driving. It gave us both a good laugh. We're so grateful to you and what your doing. It seems we're not the only ones. Glad you got the seat you deserved.

  7. what I would have given to see that...