I am in hour 3 of my flight from DC to Frankfurt. It’s not a full flight, and from stress position 36F, I can clearly see an exit row aisle seat not far ahead just after the midgalley bulkhead. However, I must remain here because the exit row counts as Economy Plus and thus another 97 dollars. Bremen will only pay for Economy Minus, and even then only after griping from my boss. Fortunately, I can vent my sarcasm onto this laptop, and then redact any hint of other indiscretions such as (continued on page 77673).
To my right is a characteristically tall German man with whom I played a high stakes game of footsie until we silently compromised on space sharing. Specifically, he can intrude a little into my footspace as long as I get the armrest and associated airspace. My right shoulder is thoroughly planted to dissuade renegotiation, with my right arm shielding my rib cage against any ‚accidental’ slips from his left elbow. This only resolves three out of four; knee space remains disputed. For the first time in my life, they are charging for alcoholic drinks on an international flight, which sours the deal for me, but not him. Good, it’ll impair his reaction time. On my left is a rather cute brunette who seems to find me far less charming than I do. She’s kinda dull, and it’s tough to recover when you open with Spanish, then say (truthfully) that you were just hanging out with some Italians. Bad moves, she’s Portuguese. Woulda guessed that next, but women have no Three Strikes law. At least she’s small and noncombative. I might have recovered thanks to my new retinue of Italian hand gestures that Febo Cincotti just taught me, last night and a thousand years ago. But we all know there is a $10,000 fine for stretching in economy class, or disabling or destroying any responsible United executives.
Five hours left. Despair inspires sarcasm. I am graced by United Hemispheres magazine. The flashy article about Telluride this month bullhorns inaccuracies and poor copy editing, which is appreciated because it may discourage tourists. The highlight is on page 124, where they have six helpful stretches for us. They are:
The descriptions of these elaborate motions seem written by teams of doctors, sports therapists, and masters of physiology, with impressive sounding terminology that obfuscates the stark and simple reality that they just tell you to lift your knee, then straighten your leg as much as possible. These two both give me a solid, written defense if the person in front of me accuses me of kicking her chair.
If I didn’t know better, I would suspect they are just splitting one exercise into two to impress us with the grand array of stretching options. Sort of like a bench press is actually two motions: lifting, then lowering. But of course we know we can always trust glossy technobabble. Then they start to sound really high tech! They must be very advanced exercises that will clear away any trace of lactic acid, permanently eliminate fatigue, and rejuvenate my soul!
(layman version: lift your heel. Lift the ball of your foot.)
(layman version: roll your foot inward. Then, roll it outward.)
I think this pretty well ends any competition within the airline industry. I mean, how could American, El Al, even KLM ever compete wth this? I wonder if there was some oversight giving me Hemispheres magazine, as these exercises are so helpful and nonobvious that they should only be provided to first class passengers, and then only if they sign a nondisclosure agreement.
I’m still pretty pissed off that nobody paid me a dime for German 2.0. But it’s still available, on my prior entry On the Engineering Superiority of German Speakers, and you should buy it quickly before the krauts engineer their own airline seat exercises. Nobody bought my Urban Hop maneuver either, which is also foolish, and I’d love to be bracketed by midgets right now. But I’m gracious, and bored, and so I cast more literary pearls before you graceless swine. Ready? New airline stretches!!!
Extensor hallucis longus dorsiflexion and metatarsal counterrotation
With feet flat on floor, lift your big toe. Press the base of the big toe against the metal bar under the seat to further stretch the big toe back toward the foot. Cease during turbulence. Repeat with the left big toe.
Podidigital perpendicularization via abductor hallucis actin electrification
With feet flat on floor, bend the right big toe until the front is perpendicular to the floor. Repeat with the left big toe. Continue until exhausted.
While seated with the bottom of the buttocks firmly in the chair, tighten the sphincter muscle. Release. Repeat. If any sounds emerge, yell, „Thar she blows!!“ or „How did Mabel get THAT one through security?“ Warning: avoid the release component within 8 hours after eating airline food.
Barf bag extension
Remove the vomit bag from the seat pocket in front of you. Open it and hold it in front of you. Better yet, ask a neighbor to open it. Purse lips and blow, inflating your nasovocal cavity to maximize cheek concavity. If desired, combine with the „upward stretch and call button press“ described in the previous edition of Hemispheres magazine. If a flight attendant arrives, apologize for the false alarm, but state that a repeat may be imminent. Recite: Here I sit, broken hearted. Paid a dime, and only farted. If the flight attendant is not amused by the metaphoric association between an aborted shit and puke, initiate a foot eversion in front of his foot just as he tries to walk away.
Right finger pronation
Hold your right hand such that one finger lies such that its pronatory displacement would depress the seat back button. Pronate and thereby also stretch your saccral region by four degrees. Next, press the button while leaning forward. Repeat until dizzy. If the person behind you complains, accelerate this motion while yelling, „We got a live one here!!“ If female, first place a pillow under your blouse and instead scream, „He’s coming!! The Messiah is here!! Breathe breathe breathe….“
Place one finger in one nostril. Rotate in a counterclockwise motion, then clockwise. Evert the finger to maximize the diameter of your nostril, then invert to stretch intranostril cartilidge. Repeat with all (of your) fingers and orifices. If bleeding occurs, blame it on the altitude and demand a free ticket. Otherwise, continue if desired with (your) pets and infants. Ask before involving others. Expert’s tip: a disproportionate number of flight attendants are gay and may participate with unanticipated enthusiasm.
Mile high rub
Reach down and apply your own special mix of pronation, flexion, and eversion (but NOT inversion) until attaining maximum extension. Freely stretch your legs and feet, as the pushy Kraut to your right will probably give you a wide berth. If a flight attendant objects, state that your doctor instructed you to avoid stress, and you have a morbid fear of flying. Demand free wine and threaten a discrimination lawsuit.