And, nine times out of ten, I love the flight. The food isn't that bad, compared to hospital food, and the in flight entertainment is pretty decent. It also gives me a chance to catch up on those movies that I haven't had time or money to see. This brings me to my main theme for this blog. The one thing that bugs me on long haul flights is getting seated next to someone who will, eventually, cause you to rip your hair out. See, I don't care about children travelling and I don't mind the snoring or drooling that accompanies most long haul flights but sitting next to that one obnoxious person does me in every time.
I few back from LAX on Sunday and, at first, there was a small swap around of seats since a mother and daughter had been given seats in different rows, which is just silly, but they were able to switch. (This is a happy story.) However, this switch resulted in me being seated next to a guy who, at first seemed sane and polite, but who quickly deteriorated into a plane psycho.
Now, don't get me wrong, he seemed very pleasant while we were waiting for the plane to take off but then it started. At first I thought he was just being silly, you know, trying to ease tension or nervousness but I think I was wrong. There were a few infants on the flight, you see, and infants, as we all know, have the tendency to cry.
So, here we were, sitting on the plane and participating in idle chit chat when one of the children begins to cry and the next thing I know he starts exclaiming in a loud tone, 'Be quiet' followed by loud 'shushing' sounds. Now, if we were at a movie and this had been going on for sometime I would, possibly, understand, however, we were on a plane after eight at night and we hadn't even taken off yet.
I ignored it to begin with until, it happened again and he turns to me and says, in a somewhat officious tone, "I hate children." To which I just smile and nod...as those of you who know me realise that I do this with some frequency especially since I am going to be stuck next to this guy for the next 14 hours or so. While my mind is racing with all sorts of thoughts, least of which is a mental plea for him to shut up or for someone to help me...
Another child begins to cry to which crazy passenger begins to swear, and none too quietly I might add. Now, I was beginning to become aware that dark glances were being shot his way and, since I was sitting next to him, this glares were hitting me before him though I knew that was accidental. Still, having people shoot hateful glances in your direction does not bode well, especially since I am convinced that one day, someone will develop the ability to kill you with a glance...
Me, being the peace-maker that I try to be, replied with the following: "Kids are okay. And, once the plane gets going, they'll fall asleep."
To which he responses to with a grunt and a roll of the eyes before asking me about New Zealand and asks why I was in America.
I thought that this would be the end of all the bizarreness but I was wrong. A quarter of the way through the flight he turns to me and informs me that he doesn't sleep on planes...which was interesting in the kind of way that I don't really care, especially since I am trying to watch Inception*. Anyway, I do the whole smile and nod thing and the next time I look over he has fallen asleep with his neck at an odd angle and, though don't quote me on this, a small trail of drool...
When he woke up he declared loudly that he was hungry and stopped every passing flight attendant and asked for food. And there are many more weird and wacky things I could add but this gives you some idea.
So, things that you shouldn't do on a plane are as follows:
- Don't act like a jerk - even if you think you will impress someone. This includes swearing loudly at things you can't control - this never makes you cool.
- If you need to go to the toilet please make sure you do it before the person on the aisle falls asleep.
- Don't complain about service - especially when you admit to paying for the cheapest seats though you could always afford business...if you can afford business fly that way.
- If you must converse with someone keep it simple - most people don't need to know about marriage affairs, sexual dysfunction and/or anything to do with politics or religion.
- And, finally, if someone has their headphones on and are pointedly looking away they are trying to avoid polite conversation - best to leave them alone.