Love Letter #74 | Germs on a Plane

Dear World.

If you’ve ever been on a plane: do you wipe the tray table before the plane takes off? Do you sanitise the arm rest?

I do!

I even say a little internal prayer for the seat I sit in. And the restroom? Wooh! If I dont have to use it, I wont.

Late last year, I travelled out of the country.


It was before the Coronavirus had begun to stretch beyond the borders of China.

At least I think so… 😅

But I promise, I’m fine!


Human Germs

In my travels, I get on the plane and made my way to the window seat I booked and confirmed and double confirmed with the airline personnel.

As I got to the seat by the left wing, I see a man seated comfortably in the seat I paid for. He was a white man.

If you don’t know, I’m a black woman.

Now, Candice had a slight panic attack.

“Is this about to be a case of flying while black?”, I asked myself.

“Is this man the epitome of germs in human form?”

I stood there looking at this guy and I said not so confidently, “You’re in my seat.” He looked at me and looked away.

A flight attendant, an island girl, saw distress on my face. She inquired if I was okay and asked that I take my seat.

“I would but this guy is sitting in it”…

“And I really don’t want this to turn into a flying while black situation. So, help me,” I said.

Island flight attendant lady to the rescue

This curly haired, black woman put on her best “wypipo” voice and asked for this man’s ticket.

He was in the wrong seat.

“Sir, you’re actually in the seat in front and not this one. Kindly go into the seat that’s indicated on your ticket”, said the flight attendant.

Mr. Seat stealer turned into a red rose in a matter of seconds. He was obviously embarassed. It was clear he didn’t mean to dispalce me and set my internal anxiety into overdrive.

He apologised and went to his assigned seat.

I thanked the superhero flight attendant and gave thanks to the heavens that this man wasn’t germs personified.

I also said to him, “oh no, it’s fine. Happens all the time.”

Clearly I was lying.

The Wipe Down

As I took my seat. I backed out my wipes and cleaned the arm rests. I also chanted a little prayer in my head for the seat to not contaminate me.

Something told me to pull the tray table down.

Once the table was pulled, I could’ve died right there. I gagged so hard and so loud.

The tray table was visibly soiled. All the germs having a field day saw me and waved, “hey girl! Glad you could join us. Come in and give us a hug”.

It appeared that the petri dish of a tray table stayed that way for at least one trip prior to mine.

I pulled out my antibacterial wipes again and gave it a proper wipe down. I’m almost sure Pslam 23 automatically played in my head.

“The Lord is my shepherd…”.

When I was done, the toilette wipe was dirty – visibly so.

I know it may have looked like I was wiping this man’s germs away.

I was. But. My reason was primarily to reduce the germ level in that space. I promise you.

The Aftermath

Once I was satisfied that I made the space as germ free as I possibly could, my satisfaction levels were at an okay space.

Needless to say, I heard someone cough. Then I died a little inside again.

Telling my Sister

My sister is probably the only person who has heard all my travel chronicles involving people and germs.

So natuarlly, I messaged her about the ordeal. And naturally, she died laughing.

It wasn’t laughter at my distress. It was laughter at my reaction.

But come on! Who wouldn’t respond in the manner that I did?

To all the people who wouldn’t – shut up.

In any event, she was the one who told me to document my experiences with other people’s germs. So this is one of the few I’ve already done and one of more to come.

Lessons in Plane Germs

1. Not all heroes wear capes. Some of them come in the form of a curly haired black female flight attendant.

2. If people wrong you, dont accept the ill treatment. Seek justice. No matter how minute your matter may appear to be. It doesn’t matter if they intended to wrong you. Seek justice. And do so with the most calm stance. Try to.

3. Always walk with your antibacterial wipes. If you forget them, source soap and water and paper towel and a bin ASAP!

4. You cannot avoid germs in environments that you do not control. All you have to do is to try and protect yourself. Prepare to protect yourself and act when the situation calls for said protection.

Don’t forget that germs are micro and human. Watch them all with your microscope. Sanitise your spaces and get rid of them.

5. Seat stealers are a dime a dozen. Some are purposeful and others are accidental. They come in the literal and the figurative form. How you deal with them determines how you move ahead in life.

If something worthy is taken from you or if you are unfairly deprived of something, address that ‘seat stealer’. If you are denied an opportunity, create your own.

The point is, we don’t ever allow seat stealers to win. We don’t ever allow germs to take over.

Well – we shouldn’t. Otherwise it’ll be a similar to our current sitiation of the coronavirus taking over the world.

So, how do you handle germs and seat stealers?

Signed with love,

The Suburban Girl

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