On one of my flights today, I clipped a pen to the magazine holder sack on the rear of the seat in front of me. You know — the one that holds the in-flight magazine, the instruction card on what to do in the event of a water landing, and the SkyMall catalog.
The pen fell into the inside of the sack, and without thinking about it I stuck my hand in there to fish out the pen. It was humid and sticky inside the sack, and kind of disgusting. I immediately retracted my hand, like I’d received an intense electric shock, and I never did reach the bottom.
It reminded me of the pouch of a kangaroo. I read somewhere that a kangaroo’s pouch is warm and wet and sticky — not surprising, since it’s where a baby kangaroo spends most of her time. The pouch on the back of the aircraft seat similarly isn’t given a lot of attention by the cleaning crew.
In fact, as we were leaving the aircraft, I noticed that the cleaning crew folks were wearing the sanitary gloves, to protect them as they fished old newspapers and discarded plastic cups out of the seat sacks. That probably tells you something.