Thursday, October 20, 2005

Should I tickle her feet?

A week ago I was on a flight back from Houston and had a wonderful experience. I had an window seat and there was a guy in the aisle seat but no one in the middle. He didn't seem too twitchy so I started up a conversation with him. Turns out he lives in Nicaragua and runs a tour guide service and seemed like a nice guy. His name was Lawrence. You know the conversation is good when you are trying to talk over a takeoff.

When the plane was boarding I noticed a surly guy get on and sit in the aisle seat opposite of Lawrence. Something told me that he was going to be trouble. As we continued our conversation the web site of the CIA World Fact Book came up(Link to factbook). I have found that it was a great source of information. The surly guy, on the other hand, thought that it was a load of crap and wanted to heat up the discussion over it. He started yelling profanities about how it was worthless and you got better data from encyclopedias from the 50s. Lawrence was able to talk him down and then we continued our conversation.

We had sort of a gentleman's bet on whether he was crazy or just drunk. I took crazy, luckily we didn't bet colones on it. There was a girl ahead of the guy who had all three seats to herself and was laying down sleeping. He was leaning around the seats asking us if he should tickle her feet. All that he could talk about was tickling her feet. He asked Lawrence if he should do it. Lawrence calmly told him that it would be a bad idea.

Then he proceeds to down a pint of Southern Comfort. That is the point where I lost the bet. That is also the point where the guy started to get really rowdy. He started leaning over the seats and talking to the girl who was obviously scared to death. He started cussing a bunch and interrupting our conversation which after two and a half hours was still going well. Then he started talking about chopping the windows out of the plane with an axe.

Luckily we landed so he didn't have time to find that axe. Then he tried to change seats and sit next to girl while we were still on the tarmac. I would say this is the point where the major breakdown happened. She told him to get lost and he started calling her the B word and the F word and some other words with first letters that I can't repeat here. I leaned over to tell the guy to shut the hell up and Lawrence put himself in front of me and convinced me that it wasn't the proper course of action. Sadly I agreed and instead we hit the Call button. The stewards came and he started yelling at them. The stewards called the pilot and he yelled at the pilot.

As soon as the fasten seat belt light got turned off Lawrence hopped up and put his bag in front of the drunk man's seat so that he couldn't get up. That worked amazingly well actually. He couldn't physically harass the girl any more.

On the way to customs we apologized to the girl. It was her first trip to CR and she was traveling alone. Then we were waiting in line at customs and saw the drunk man being wheeled away in a wheel chair by airport security. Hopefully they do a cavity search on him and then permanently ban him from the country.

Roberta and I gave Lawrence a ride to his hotel and found out that he was giving a talk to the Costa Rica Residence Association the following day on the benefits of tourism in Nicaragua. Did anyone see it?

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