By Lindsay Garric Special to Published Mar 02, 2015 at 3:38 PM

I fear I am cultivating quite an expertise within the travel-writing niche of "rant."

I actually love to voyage beyond my normal, everyday life and I am endlessly grateful for my extremely bountiful opportunities to do so.

But these days, it is commonplace for travel to come saddled with all sorts of expected inconveniences and annoyances like delays, cancellations, lack of complimentary meals and snacks, oversold flights and overcrowding.

I'm my constant attempt at gratitude; I do try to let these little grievances slide. They are par for the course details that if you journey often, regrettably do happen. I smile through each set back, try to surrender and see the bigger picture. For example, I recently had the chance to reframe a small scheduling conflict as perhaps divine intervention resetting my course for my own protection.

Now, I acknowledge that my ability to complain about these minute nuisances stems from my own inherent craziness, unique personality flaws, social complexes and deeply held beliefs about propriety.

But there are some things that no human, no matter how much grace, patience or tolerance they possess can abide. There are some things that get the goat of even the Mother Theresa of airline passengers.

This recently happened to me – and I’m no Mother Theresa. I was assigned to seat 8b on a recent domestic flight that became what I like to refer to, as my personal travel hell.

Seat 8b is a middle seat, at the mercy of the aisle and window, which in and of itself, I don’t necessarily mind. In fact, I think middle seats are one of those sacrifices that some of us have to make. As a member of the 5’2 and under club, I feel it is almost my duty to take one for the team by volunteering myself as the proverbial meat in an airplane-seating sandwich.

Now, in defense of airlines inferior to Southwest that choose to use an assigned seating system, I recognize that I did indeed choose seat 8b myself from a seating chart - albeit blindly - during the purchase process. I mean it’s not like there were avatars and personal bios that included idiosyncrasies of who would be sitting next to me, but I’m starting to think that may be a good idea. So, I do take full responsibility for putting my chips on Red 5 for the spin of the roulette wheel.

As stated above, I am a proponent of Southwest Airlines, whom I feel has the right idea when it comes to passenger arrangements. Their general seating policy may confuddle some upon virgin voyage, but once you get the hang of it you realize that their procedure empowers passengers to choose their own seating destiny. Yes, you may end up with a middle seat by default, but unless you are the very last one to board on a full flight you have a choice of who you sit next to by examining the folks you will be layered in the aviation parfait with. If I choose sit between Pepe Le Pew and Oscar the Grouch I have to take responsibility for my own actions.

So, when I snuggled into my middle seat 8b between two gentlemen who had, of course, already commandeered the arm rests – I took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

I closed my eyes and went deeply into an airplane meditation anticipating to drift into sleep, only to be startled by seat 8c coughing violently. The series of coughs were followed by a snotty chortle that originated somewhere between where the back of the nostrils meet the back of the throat. The sound was akin to hocking a loogie and the repetitive nature of this series of bellows was testing my equanimity and nonreactive nature.

I could see out of the corner of my eye that 8c was using one hand on his iPhone 6 and the other would occasionally, half-assedly travel up to the vicinity of his face in a weak gesture of "covering" his mouth.

Let's get something straight here. A proper mouth cover is defined as both hands cupped over the mouth and nose during the expelling portion of a cough. A floppy, loosely clenched, internally rotated fist waved in front of the facial area does not qualify. The cough spray and spooge does not magically and accurately take a direct flight into the hole limply fashioned by your thumb and forefinger and your germs do not become contained in your half open fist.

After 39 minutes of actually feeling the force of breath from each cough "poof" on my cheek, I could no longer hold my tongue. My nerves were lit up and I blurted, "please cover your mouth when you cough!"

Here I thought I was being merciful not mentioning the disgusting after-cough phlegm gargle fest, but my request was not received well. 8c insisted he had indeed covered his mouth and that, "It was allergies anyway."

Your allergies are not an excuse to drench yourself on me sir! And that weak attempt at shielding your face does not count as "covering your mouth" within my definition!

Do we need to include a "Travelers’ Coughing Etiquette" section to the safety spiel that goes down at the beginning of each flight? It will have to include proper coughing and sneezing protocols and while we're at it - bathroom manners! 8c should have worn a surgical mask if he wanted to dilly on his phone while one-handedly conducting the concerto of coughs that were a supposed symptom of his "allergies."

This is a good time to mention the human sound domino effect that occurs on planes. All it takes is one clearing of the throat, one stifled cough and a chain reaction of "ahems" and "ahek ahek" ensues. Observe this on your next flight. You will be stunned at how the sound of beautiful silence, maybe flavored with in-air white noise, can be broken by one little "hack!" or "harummph!"

Interestingly, 8c seemed to be able to suppress his "KHughhh! Khughhhh!" down to one or two random outbursts for the remainder of the flight. He did however inspire our seatmate, 8a to let out a few mucusy percussions of his own. I will spare you an extended description of the soundtrack of how 8a drank his complimentary tomato juice, but will tease you by saying it did not lack slurping nor was it sans ice jingling.

Perhaps the worst part of this aggravation is the next part of this tale. Another aspect of today’s travel hassles is the abundance of indirect flights, one of which I was on that day. After we deplaned and I gratefully inhaled less offensive air on my way to my next gate, I was hit with the realization that Murphy’s Law would guarantee 8c to be on my next flight and probably seated right next to me again. Of course, as I arrived at the next gate, there he was - bound for my final destination. I spiraled into an inner monologue of how I would now continually run into this cougher and how he probably held some job or position of power where he would exercise his resentment over our little in seat altercation.

Then, guilt took over and I began to feel terrible for speaking out. Perhaps I should have had more empathy or I could have tried to change seats, or maybe I should have just wallowed in my silence, clawing and clenching in my seat, holding my breath to survive that last flight. Being Jewish and a germaphobe is a terrible combination for a frequent flier.

The airline started calling "zones" for boarding. He was some sort of A-list passenger with premier boarding status, so I had some time before my lowly zone 5 position, to come up with a plan to break the ice should we once again be seated body to body in a triple-decker pastry of air transport. I formulated an apology to ease the awkwardness of another intimate seating arrangement. I devised funny lines, charming lines, pick up lines – anything that would somehow make this guy forgive me for what had now corkscrewed into my error and my rudeness.

I walked the plank of the jet way almost preferring to just drop into the ocean or a trap door that would take me away from having to grovel at 8c. Thankfully, I was spared from dealing with the consequences of my scolding his open mouth style. I released an audible sigh of relief as I viewed the seating arrangement. We were in the same row, however the aisle and one person separated us. I was especially sweet to my new seatmates who cooed over my sense of humor and complimented my jacket.

And when 8c started his ballad of chest propelled noises on that second leg of the journey home, I decided to delve deep for some compassion for the trio he was now nestled with and found a way to hear music in the cacophony.

Lindsay Garric Special to

Lindsay Garric is a Milwaukee native who calls her favorite city home base for as long as her lifestyle will allow her. A hybrid of a makeup artist, esthetician, personal trainer and entrepreneur all rolled into a tattooed, dolled-up package, she has fantasies of being a big, bad rock star who lives in a house with a porch and a white picket fence, complete with small farm animals in a version of Milwaukee that has a tropical climate.

A mishmash of contradictions, colliding polar opposites and a dash of camp, her passion is for all pretty things and the products that go with it. From makeup to workouts, food to fashion, Lindsay has a polished finger on the pulse of beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends and is super duper excited to share that and other randomness from her crazy, sexy, gypsy life with the readers of