Hawkward 3.0: The Trials and Tribulations of Air Travel


Graphic by: Cassie Jeong

By Cody Duane-McGlashan

Airports can make for some of the most awkward experiences on Earth, and a recent trip to San Diego affirmed this for me. I’m a responsible adult, and as such I decided to make a pit stop before boarding my flight. I walked into the restroom without paying attention, instead thinking about how much physics homework I would stare sadly at during my flight, then give up on.

Graphic by: Cassie Jeong
Graphic by: Cassie Jeong

I was so zoned out that the fact that only women occupied the restroom made no impact on me. I started wandering around the bathroom, looking for the urinals, which were, of course, nowhere to be found. Just as it hit me that I had made a grave mistake, a woman standing at the sink informed me with a mix of confusion and sickening delight that I was in the “Wrong bathroom!” A chorus of women laughed in unison, and it seemed like every (clearly female) head was turned towards me. My muscles tensed up and soon my face was redder than Clifford’s.

This was certainly not my first airport/airplane-related awkward moment. My first uncomfortable experience on a flight occurred when I was just a wee lad of 13.

I’ve never enjoyed sitting next to strangers on planes. I am in a constant debate with myself about who has the right to the armrest, or what an acceptable volume for my music is. And, undoubtedly, the worst dilemma occurs when the stranger in the aisle seat falls asleep.

On this six-hour flight to Boston, I sat in the middle seat next to a kind, elderly women. As expected, she conked out shortly after takeoff.

This wasn’t a problem at first, as a particularly fascinating episode of “Two And a Half Men” was playing. After three hours, though, I could no longer suppress the need to get up to use the bathroom.

Unfortunately, the woman sitting next to me was still fast asleep. I was forced to make a judgment call. My bladder, or this women’s nap?

I gingerly unbuckled my seatbelt and attempted to take a large step over her—just as she awoke. I immediately apologized for startling her, but the damage was already done. My ungraceful maneuver will continue to replay in my memory, and it remains as one of my more awkward encounters.

In conclusion, airports and airplanes should be avoided at all costs. While they’re technically safer than driving a car or riding a motorcycle, I’m in favor of modes of transportation that decrease the potential for unnecessary angst and cringing.