Returning from the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, I was assigned my very first front row plane seat. Like a kid who just got a triple-scoop ice cream cone and the means with which to eat it dribble-free, I beamed. Good fortune was sure to follow me today.
My luck-cup bubbled and spilled over when comedian Mo Rocca of CBS Sunday Morning sat next to me. "Play it COOL, Heidi," I coached myself. I nonchalantly opened a book I purchased at the workshop. He would recognize it, realize we’d both been at the Erma festivities, and ask my opinion. I would then say something SO HILARIOUS, so hilarious, that he would beg me for my blog address.
“Someone in the first two rows is going to have to move to the BACK of the plane--we’re “Nose” heavy,” the flight attendant announced.
No one moved.
I feel it necessary to point out at this point that although I am a plus-sized woman, I am not “Jabba the Hut,” or "circus tent attraction" big. But, as the unanswered request loomed, of the 8 of us in the first two rows, I was the girl “Most Likely to Weigh down the Nose of a Plane.”
“OH, I’ll do it!” I blurted when I couldn’t stand the pressure one...more...second. “It was just a fluke that I was sitting here anyway!” I began awkwardly gathering my stuff. No “Mo Encounter of the Close Kind” for me, I thought.
Then I couldn't get my seat belt unbuckled. Seriously. I became quietly frantic.
“Mommy, the Airplane Nose Weigher-Downer is thrashing in her seat!” I heard children announce with glee, as if they’d just seen “Bongo the Gorilla” peel a banana with his toes. They gawked at me and clutched at their parents, mouths open in amazement. I felt up the arm rest for the eject button or maybe a trap door... to escape through... and die, when finally, I sprang free.
I took the “Walk of Shame” down the narrow aisle to the back of the plane, wincing, imaging what the fellow passengers were thinking:
“Did she try to sneak into First Class?”
“Is the plane going to “pop a wheelie” now that she’s in the BACK of the plane?”
“Please don’t sit here.”
Creating a spectacle and redistributing the weight of the airplane weren’t my only jobs on this flight. I was kept very busy in my new seat, next to the lavatory, answering questions from passengers who couldn’t get the bathroom door to open, or who wanted to know where their used paper products should go. I, of course, didn’t dare use the bathroom. I might have caused the plane to a roll.