I have issues with other people’s elbows. This is not to say that I obsess about them all the time. No, I only have an issue with them when there is a shared armrest at stake, such as at the movies or on a plane.

I have issues with other people’s elbows. This is not to say that I obsess about them all the time. No, I only have an issue with them when there is a shared armrest at stake, such as at the movies or on a plane. 


The unspoken rule with shared armrests is that you are obligated to find some kind of armrest middle ground where both people can find equal amounts of elbow room on the armrest without impinging on the other person’s personal armrest space. Occasionally, however, one person decides to take ownership of the entire armrest and then, naturally, armrest wars ensue.


BTW, if you are wondering if I have gone off my meds, the answer is no, I am always like this.


Anyway, I recently had to take a trip and found myself on a plane, in a row, next to an armrest hog.


Had the person next to me had a weight issue, I would have overlooked the extreme elbow space he was occupying on the armrest because the armrests, like the seats, are ridiculously narrow and it would not have been his fault. However, he was not overweight or in any other way compromised by the seating. He was just monopolizing the armrest and his elbow was hanging over the armrest so far we could have linked arms and Shuffled off to Buffalo together.


Hey, some people have issues with crying babies on planes. For me, it is armrest hogs. So sue me.


Trying to reclaim the part of the armrest that was rightfully mine, I tried to nudge my way on with my elbow, but the armrest guy didn’t budge and actually grabbed the end of the armrest with his hand to get better traction. Then I tried to push his elbow out of my personal space with the side of my arm, but he held firm. I wondered if perhaps the guy was practicing some kind of armrest isometrics to keep his arms toned between trips to the gym. Or maybe he had been deprived of enough armrest time when he was a child. Either way, I really didn’t care and found myself getting more and more irate over the armrest situation. 


At a loss for what else I could do, I glanced around to see if there were a federal marshal on board who could arrest the guy for reckless armrest hoarding. I was pretty sure it constituted a threat to airline security and I, for one, would be happy to do my civic duty and turn him in. I guess I could have said something, but I really hate confrontation and I didn’t want to get the guy angry and then have to deal with that for the whole rest of the flight. On the flip side, I could see he wasn’t taking a hint and if I didn’t speak up, I was going to have to sit with his elbow in my side for two hours.


I finally decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to say something.


“HONEY, COULD YOU PLEASE GET YOUR STUPID ELBOW OUT OF MY RIBS AND SHARE THE DANG ARMREST!” I barked at my husband parked in the seat next to me.


He gave me a sullen look and withdrew his elbow.


“Thank you!” I said.


“Fine,” he said grudgingly. “But next time I get the aisle seat.”


Follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyinSuburbia.