May 2, 2016:

Cuban ladies at the gate, so much perfume they'd defeat bomb-sniffing dogs. Cuban lady as my rowmate, dour, unsmiling, an image of an earlier time when she'd have had her own coach and pair, and knows it. Energetic children bouncing in the seats behind. The flights are full and I'm too tall for comfort.

Gray man in white shirt with marlins, on vacation. Hipster with Jesus hair and Jesus beard, mellow. Thin woman in tracksuit, smell of alcohol. "Excuse me I know I'm going against traffic here..."

My rowmate duenna rudely rests her handbag in the empty middle seat, claiming it as her own. Entitlement, cluelessness, lack of concern. She'll be trouble for the attendants, believe you me. Let's see how this plays out.