Oh no.

No, no, no, this can't be happening.

No, no, no, no, nooooooooo it can't be, no...not...not...


Oh yes.

I can't believe this. I know I double, no, TRIPLE checked.  I always, always get a window, always. I would never, ever choose the MIDDLE! Wait, let's look again...28E. E. Row 28 D, E...F.

Kill me now.

You'd better believe I'm pulling that arm rest down mister, and it's MINE, you got the window, you lean on it. What? Why is she talking to me? Do I look like a chatterer? I'm in the middle seat lady, what do you think? Talk to that guy across the aisle, and keep that vermin-ridden blanket off my leg. I should have taken an extra Dramamine, and maybe a Benedryl. I am not going to be sufficiently comatose to survive four hours in the MIDDLE SEAT. Oh my God, what is that smell? Is someone, no really, he can't be, he IS. Who changes a baby diaper in an airplane seat?  Am I the only one who SMELLS THAT? I...I must be, she is seriously unwrapping a sandwich. Is she, oh no, ugh, is she  going to EAT while he does that?

I'm not trying to sleep to loudly for you, am I dude? How about you turn that Shuffle up one more notch, your ears aren't bleeding yet.

O.K. it must be almost over, right? Is that still the same movie? Oh no , it is. Aaaagggghhhh it's only been ten minutes. That's it, I have died and gone to MIDDLE SEAT purgatory. I'm pretty sure my foot has swollen to three times it's normal size and I think my spine is telescoping. My neck pillow is overstuffed.  It's perfect to lean against the window with, but I feel like I'm at the dentist in the MIDDLE SEAT.

No, no that was great, hey you tried to cover that sneeze. The fact that it came shooting out the sides of your cupped hand and hit my cheek is really not your fault. Just a few peanut crumbs, no biggie. Please, please, please  put your shoes back on.

Is it over? Oh yes, solid ground. We're here. Just a few more minutes. O.K. then... alright...O.K...PARK THE FREAKIN' PLANE ALREADY!

Anytime you want to start moving lady. You've got, you know, all that stuff, your giant purse, that pink Harley Davidson suitcase, that half eaten sandwich... I mean, it would help me out if you could get going. I did keep my mouth shut when you kept talking on your cell phone after the flight attendant had said it should be turned off and stowed, soooo...

Sorry, didn't mean to smack you in the face with my bag, and almost knock you unconscious as I charged up the aisle, but  I've been in the MIDDLE SEAT for four hours. You understand.


"Come with me."
"I'll make eggplant Parmesan just for you."
"No. I am not going to drive all the way to Tucson just to sit around while you do your thing at some conference."
"Oh, but it's not a conference, it's a FESTIVAL!" I zoomed in for the kill. "There'll be funnel cake!"
Two hours later long-suffering hubby and I arrived at the Tucson Festival of Books on the campus of the University of Arizona. To say it is a large event is an understatement. Don't believe me?
I did have "my thing" to do, but in between carrying stuff, holding stuff and guarding stuff while I waited in line for various restrooms, hubby was more than able to entertain himself among the booths, bookstore tents, and of course the food court. I presented with the author of my two books on Muslim holidays, Asma Mobin-Uddin, signed some books, and gave a drawing workshop for kids. The workshop's four o'clock time slot had me sure I would be taking a well deserved nap instead, but surprisingly I had a nice turnout of future authors and illustrators. Asma and I had to compete in our time-slot with some dude named Mark Teague, of whom I'm VAGUELY aware, so attendance was not standing room only. There is no accounting for taste. This was the first time Asma and I had met in person, something which seems to boggle everyone except writers and illustrators. Usually, an editor or art director umbrella is needed to protect each from the poo storm that is unleashed when one dares to comment or criticize the other's writing or art. Fortunately, Asma and I realized we could probably have handled it. Mostly.
" Please, please, everyone, no pushing, single file! There's enough autographs to go around!"
How cool is this? Huh? Huh? That's right-my books! In a STORE! Animal Mischief was there too! Piles of them! I had to sit down.
One of the highlights of the day was spotting the various book characters, obviously student volunteers in large, foam suits of dubious cleanliness. We saw a rather pasty Junie B., a slightly linty Hungry Caterpillar, a Wild Thing that almost got stuck in the doorway (and me without my video camera) as well as several fast food characters.
"Can you believe that," I voiced my outrage to hubby over the crass commercialization aimed at kids while I slurped down my third McFrappilicious as the Hamburglar and Grimace waddled by. I turned just in time to see hubby sprinting after them.