Following our esteemed leader, I will not identify the airline with whom I was flying when the following horrors were unleashed upon me, if for no other reason than the airline identity is immaterial to the salient facts of the event.

It was mid-August and I had an afternoon flight from Philadelphia to Cleveland and was flying on an exotic CRJ. I was fortunate enough to secure a window seat, albeit in the very last row.

Boarding was uneventful. I made it to my seat and settled in. I reached up to crank the air conditioning since the outside temperature was quickly approaching the century mark. I received nothing more than a blast of hot air and was promptly informed that the APU couldn’t keep up with the outside heat, so we wouldn’t have A/C until we were en route. No biggie. Shouldn’t be a long wait. I’ll just close the window and swelter a bit.

A swaying woman sat down next to me and tucked her average-sized briefcase under the seat in front of her. She asked me to open the window because of claustrophobia. I agreed because, again, it shouldn’t be long before we have A/C.

As we waited for boarding to finish, it became apparent that my row-companion was more than slightly intoxicated. She was having a hard time keeping her eyes open and kept erupting with surprised snores. I chuckled to myself, but didn’t think much of it.

We pushed back and began taxiing out. Then came the announcement. Due to localized severe storms (really, storms at LGA), the FAA had initiated a ground stop at PHL so we would have to wait on the tarmac. Without A/C. The announced anticipated wait was forty-five minutes. A quick search of FlightAware indicated that the ground stop was likely to result in a 90 minute delay. Without A/C.

I’m a pretty laid-back traveler, so I pulled some work out of my backpack and began some mind-numbing legal research. After about ten minutes, my seatmate’s head lolled onto my shoulder. I gave a passive-aggressive shrug, which elicited another surprised snore and a slurred apology. Over the next twenty minutes, her head kept rolling onto my shoulder. Each time, I gave the same shrug, with the same results.

By this time, the airplane was more than a little warm. In addition to being pretty laid-back, I am relatively hygienic. I shower at least once a day and engage in all other socially-accepted fragrant niceties. But, it was coming up on 4 pm, with no A/C, outside temperatures approaching 100, and a day of parking and walking.

I had to grab another document from my backpack, requiring me to lean forward. As I was leaning back, her head lolled again, and this time she landed with her nose planted firmly between my left bicep and ribs. I had become more than a little frustrated, so I didn’t say or do anything and figured she would eventually move. For at least five minutes, she dozed, inhaling my musky masculinity more deeply than my wife has ever partaken. Eventually she gave a renewed snort and sat up.

Finally, we take off and the first minutes are uneventful. However, we began to hit some of the turbulence that is normal in a hot August. At this point, she stopped sleeping and gave a scream every time we hit a bump. I kept my nose in my work and engaged in some proud midwestern silent judgment.

As I was working, I heard a couple snip, snips. I thought, that’s an unusual sound, but kept working. Then, I felt something bounce off my left arm. I looked down, and on my paper there appeared to be a nail. A human nail. I gave a little gag and slowly rotated my head. She was CUTTING HER TOENAILS. At 35,000 feet. And THEY WERE FLYING OFF AND HITTING ME. Thankfully, she only had the normal 10 toes.

Finally, the 60 minute flight is over and we uneventfully land at Cleveland. We taxi to the terminal and pull up to the gate. As soon as the pilot put in park, she was up and out of her seat, grabbed her average sized non-animal carrier briefcase from under the seat, and bolted to the front of the plane. Even though we were seated in the very last row, she was the first one off the plane.

As I was walking to the rental car counter, I saw her again. She reached into her average sized non-animal carrier briefcase and pulled out a Pekingese dog. From her briefcase without air holes or any support emerged a living, breathing dog. Like a rabbit from the magician’s hat. She then proceeded to let the dog drink from the drinking fountain. She didn’t fill a bowl. She let the dog drink directly from the tap.

TL;DR: No A/C and 90 minute wait on tarmac, 5 minutes of which was spent with an intoxicated stranger’s nose in my sweaty armpit. The same stranger pelted me with her toenail clippings in flight. And she pulled a dog out and let it drink from the drinking fountain.