Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Not the Bill Gates kind. That’s a necessary evil...unless, like Morris William, you are a confirmed MacHead.

No, the windows I’m talking about are airplane windows.

I have been flying for over fifty years now - ever since I was a two-year-old pisher going to visit the grandparents in Florida - and I still like the window seat. Looking at the scenery from the window of the Great Silver Aerial Bus never bores me, even now. An extra benefit is that I can fall asleep with my head against the side of the plane without having to worry about it lolling over into the aisle where it will get sheared off by random passing beverage carts.

Last night, on our return trip from Foat Wuth, I had the window seat and She Who Must Be Obeyed took the aisle. The plane was an MD-80, so there was no middle seat on our side of the aisle. This works well for us, because SWMBO does not like the window. It reminds her that we are On An Airplane In The Middle Of The Frickin’ Atmosphere Way High Up.

Earlier, we had been faced with one of those Great Decisions: should we leave on the 7:45 pm flight as originally planned, or should we try to get out ahead of the front that was moving in? The weatherpundits were bandying terms about such as “Tornado Watch.” The clouds were gathering as we raced off to the airport, and as we waited in line to check in, hail started pounding the roof.

Feh. So much for getting out ahead of the weather.

But we figured that we might as well grab the earlier flight anyway, as that way we might get home in time to catch the tail end of the Michigan State - Baylor game. And that 7:45 flight was the last one out, meaning if that one got held up, there would be no fallback option. So off we went at 5:45.

Right into that front, which was still boiling its way toward east Texas. Bumpy? You betcha. SWMBO does not like flying to begin with, and this was not going to help her change her mind, no, no. So I held her hand and tried to reassure her as the MD-80 bounced all over the sky.

There is now a permanent hand-shaped imprint on that armrest. Next time, I’m going to bring a charcoal briquet for SWMBO to hold. If I’ve gotta fly on a bouncy flight, I oughta at least get a diamond out of it. Fortunately, after we got through that first few minutes, everything settled down. “Flight attendant! More whisky, please!”

But we were talking about window seats, weren’t we?

Maybe the only time I regretted having a window seat was on a five-hour odyssey from Atlanta to Montréal back in the 1980’s. I was wedged in next to Abdullah the Butcher, a professional wrestler who had to weigh about 400 lbs - so large, he could not lower the tray table due to his Prominent Abdomen. Lucky we were riding in First Class that day, otherwise Abdullah would not have been able to cram his Extreme Bulk into the aisle seat at all.

I don’t know if you have ever heard of Abdullah. The “Madman from the Sudan,” Abdullah (real name Larry Shreve, or Shreeve, depending on who you ask) was one of the “bad guy” wrestlers from the Pioneering Days of the sport. And, no, he was not from the Sudan; he hailed from Windsor, Ontario. A wall of solid muscle with a big, bald head on which there were grooves. Really. Grooves. Not the kind of person you would want to piss off. But despite his fearsome exterior, “Abby” was very pleasant company during the journey. Engaging and friendly, he walked off the plane in Montréal with a six-pack of miniature booze-bottles that he had managed to charm out of the flight attendants. And then I could unfold myself from the highly compressed fetal tuck into which I had been packed between Mr. Wall o’ Meat and the window.

For many years now, he has been running a restaurant in the Atlanta area - Abdullah the Butcher’s House of Ribs and Chinese Food. I heard a rumor a couple of years ago that Abby had died, but all of my Internet research has failed to confirm it.

I hope it’s not true.

[Thanks to Mac at pesky’apostrophe for getting me going on this topic...]

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