people I hate on this airplane are as follows:
The Guy Sitting on my Left
He's old and he's busy. Strike one,
strike two. I'm in the aisle, trying to stuff my bag into the overhead
compartment, and he forces his way past me and into his aisle seat. He
does this quite urgently, as if I were about to steal his seat. I say
something like "I'll need to get in there in a second," because I have
the middle seat, and he'll just have to get up to let me in, but he doesn't.
Instead, he kind of pushes his legs to the side, forcing me to squeeze over him
and the canvas briefcase he's got on the floor.
I make it to my seat, upon which are three
white pillows and three blue blankets. I feel like handing two of them
back to the old guy and the guy to my right, but I just stuff them into the
seat-back magazine holder.
I get of whiff of Old Man's breath, which is
abysmal. I mean, really bad, like those people who have that
problem where they don't generate enough saliva and their mouths become a dry,
pasty cavern. Breath that leads by a good six feet. I turn on my air and
point it directly into my face. Meanwhile, he's busy rummaging around in
his briefcase, arranging notes, opening and closing envelopes, and capping and
uncapping pens, which he will proceed to do for the entire four-hour flight, his
right elbow like a spear, jabbing into my ribs for the duration.
Since the old man is taking up the armrest on
my left at two-second intervals, and the guy to my right is using his, I have to
pull my shoulders together and keep my hands between my knees, which doesn't
seem that uncomfortable until you do it for four hours straight. The guy
to my right is reading, so I'm hoping he won't feel a need to pummel my ribcage
with anything sharp. I sneak a peek at the book and it's Gerald's Game,
by Stephen King. I've read it myself. I get out my book out and
The guy to my right starts laughing
The Guy Sitting on my Right
Okay, I've read Gerald's Game, and I
guess there might have been some funny moments in it, but nothing to laugh about
for five minutes at the top of your lungs. I mean, a woman is handcuffed to a
bed the entire book. Not exactly a laugh riot.
The guy on my right starts saying things out
loud during the flight, like "Boy, this window is dirty," and
"Son of a bitch," and "Oh, man!" and "HA HA HA HA HA
HA." Am I supposed to be sufficiently intrigued to ask him what's so
funny or distressing him? Should I agree, out loud, about the unclean
state of the window? What is my role, here? Another thing he does is
pull out his pocket watch to check the time. He does this every five
minutes. I like pocket watches, and I understand that to check the time,
you do have to pull them out and open them. But he does it with his left
hand, and when he opens it, he holds it at arm's length. Since we're in
coach, arm's length means directly in front of my face. He
then appraises the time thoughtfully, snaps it shut with a flourish, and turns
the watch over in his hands for about ten seconds, as if suddenly realizing how
startlingly sophisticated and attractive it is. Then he puts it away for
All this behavior seems to be for my benefit,
but maybe I'm just being paranoid.
I order up some booze, as does Pocket Watch.
Later, the stewardess goes by to collect the empty bottles and napkins, and I
hand mine in. Pocket Watch is too busy checking the time to notice, and
the stew moves further up the aisle. Realizing he's missed her, he picks
up his empty cup and napkin, and holds them out for her. She has already
passed by and doesn't see him, but he just holds his arm there, three inches
from my face. He doesn't call her, or wave his arm at all, just holds it
there in front of my eyes. He doesn't do what any normal person would do,
namely, put his shit back on his tray and wait for her to come by again, he just
holds it there. I am about to snap his arm off at the shoulder, and use
his elbow to jab the old man on my left, who by now is really pissing me off,
when another stewardess comes by and takes his trash.
He continues reading his book, breaking into
deafening laughter every so often. I notice his laughter sounds just as if
he were reading "HA HA HA HA HA" off a page. It's odd to hear
someone laugh like that, kind of like when you hear a dog bark, and it literally
sounds like "Bark!"
The Guy Sitting Behind Me
He gets up. Often. To get up, he
grabs the back of my seat and yanks himself from his chair. This causes my
seat to lurch backwards, which is unfortunate if I'm trying to sip my drink,
read my book, or maintain the location of the vertebrae in my back.
We're preparing to land. It's pretty
choppy, a lot of turbulence, and the plane is dipping from side to side. I
feel a strange sensation, and I realize it's the feeling of not having my ribs
stabbed by a sharp elbow for five full seconds. Concerned, I turn to look
at the old guy, and I notice he has taken out a pair of scissors and is cutting
something out of a magazine.
I think about bringing up the fact that we're
in a vehicle that is both traveling a couple hundred miles per hour and
preparing to connect with a good-sized planet, but you know, right now, I can't
think of a downside to those scissors winding up protruding from his skull.
The Guy Sitting in Front of Me
He didn't bother me at all during the flight.
I just hate him because I wish I'd had his seat.