Stop the Spread

I sat next to a sprawler on an airplane recently. Sprawlers should have their own section of the aircraft…somewhere near the back where they can freely entangle their wayward limbs with other sprawlers and get a taste of their own medicine.

Sprawlers, invariably, are big guys with huge feet and untucked shirts who have no sense of personal space once they lapse into rapid eye movement sleep, which they can do at a moment’s notice. Sprawlers should be tagged at check-in…just like overweight luggage. Their tag, which they would be forced to display on their chest, would read ; Hello. I’m a sprawler. If you plan to sit anywhere within three metres of me, you’d be advised to choose an aisle seat’.

I chose a window seat because I never get up to use the washroom on a plane. I go in the terminal, at the last possible moment during boarding, and then I challenge myself to hold it in. Obviously, I’m not banging back much water on the flight. I sip just enough to stay rehydrated without triggering my bladder. It’s a delicate dance.

So I’m at the window seat about half an hour after takeoff and the sprawler beside me starts his slow, inevitable slide into my zone. One is instantly reminded of John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A seat belt never seems to stop the drift. Sprawlers should have to wear their belt cinched across their forehead. His face has fallen to resemble one of those Shar Pei dogs and I can see a wellspring of drool damming up behind his lower lip. If I don’t stop him soon his head will be on my shoulder and I will get wet. His legs have splayed like a corpse and are now clearly intruding into the territory reserved for my feet.

The face of a sprawler

This is when you pray for some turbulence…something suddenly jarring to awaken the sprawler and remind him of his social responsibilities. I would gratefully trade a sprawler for one of those kids who never stops kicking the back of your seat. The best combination is to have one of those children directly behind the sprawler to keep him stimulated.

The sprawler sleeps the entire flight this way. Understand, this is a position he could never achieve through exercise or yoga. He has migrated so far into my seat (flowing over the armrest) that all I can do is microscopically stare at the frost crystals that have formed on my window.

my view

When we land,  the sprawler awakens and is refreshed. I am cranky and cramped. This is the real reason why they take sharp objects from you at security.


One Response to “Stop the Spread”

  1. Your post made me laugh out loud. I have been a victim of sprawlers in my past travels. Thanks for a great read.

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