A smooth take off and an ascent to cruising altitude set the stewardesses at work. The plane felt stuffier than usual. He was in the middle, his favorite location. He’d been at the front, not first class, but right at that front row, with all that legroom. It just didn’t suit him. He wanted to be appropriately uncomfortable, a badge of honor, a shared suffering. So here he was, middle of the plane, middle of the row. Priest to his right, old woman holding a Pomeranian on his left. He felt like he was living inside a not-that-funny-gotta-laugh-to-be-polite joke that he couldn’t remember the punch line for.