Friday, May 14, 2010
The non-verbal, unwritten agreement was established hastily and without negotiation, just seconds prior to the delivery of Grey's orange juice and honey roasted peanuts and Towson's Pepsi and pair of Jim Beam mini bottles.
Each contract participant's refreshment was to be provided on their own allocated 16.625 by 9.625 inch square horizontal surface but the flight attendant's planned service for the two passengers was impeded by her laptop and his Super Sudoku book.
Towson's quick action to unclasp and lower the unused center seat's tray table drew implicit approval from Grey as she immediately secured half of the much needed surface space. Her requisition of the left side of the tray table was met without objection from Towson.
The two-hour agreement was not without some contentious moments however. Just minutes after the seat-belt sign turned off, Grey got up and went to the restroom. It was at that moment that Towson attempted to obtain 10% more space upon her departure. His assumption was that by her vacating the area, it was an act of acquiescence by Grey of any property claims.
An immediate challenge was levied by Grey upon her return and a new agreement was reached after fifteen minutes of non-verbal negotiations. Tactical napkin placement and subtle maneuvering of their Biscoff cookies once again resulted in a relatively equal, although rather asymmetric, sharing of the tray.
When the plane's final descent into Denver was announced, the joint-use arrangement was dissolved just as effortlessly as it was created. Without so much as a spoken word, Grey and Towson each fulfilled their final obligation to the initial agreement, applying an equal and simultaneous force to the bottom of the tray and returning it to its upright and locked position.