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Judge John Hodgman on Taking the Middle Seat on a Flight

On a recent flight, I anticipated being stuck like a sardine in my window seat. But there was only one other person in my row, sitting in the middle seat. I expected her to move over, but instead she used the aisle seat for her bag and trash. Please order that a person closest to an open seat should move over.

It feels extra risky to interact with strangers these days. Tempers are short, politics are hot and misinformation is rampant. Often it seems as if we don’t even share the same reality, while airplane seats, paradoxically, force us to essentially merge bodies. Plus, anyone who chooses the middle seat is automatically a terrifying chaos agent. Asking her directly to move might get you a lecture on how you’re part of the global conspiracy to force aisle seats on people. Or not. Either way, I still think it’s valuable for humans to at least try to talk to one another.

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