About 10 minutes after Peter dropped me off the airport last week, I had to call him to turn around because I’d left my laptop in his car. He obliged uncomplainingly – love ya, Peter!
The lady at the luggage check-in was inexplicably hostile with me. First she tried to get me to use the machine, and I told her I didn’t know how. Then she glanced at my ticket and ID and caustically said something to the effect of I had what I needed, I didn’t need else anything from her, what did I want? Well, I still needed to check my luggage. She appeared to now be ignoring me, so I hoisted my suitcase onto the scale unsolicited. I was about to tell her off when I remembered it’s best these days not to get belligerent in an airport.
Lest you think I imagined her rudeness, about 30 minutes later at the gate, some man said to me out of the blue, “That lady at the counter sure was giving you a hard time.” He then told me that another man had gotten so angry with her that she had to tell him not to get in her face. I replied that if she keeps acting that way a lot more people will be getting in her face.
Two men in front of me in the security line smelled so strongly of … well, I’m hoping that one of them had merely stepped in the source of the smell. I kept backing away from them so that the lady behind me couldn’t get close enough to smell them and think I was the culprit. I prayed they weren’t on my flight to Dallas.
The flight was a bit rough and I panicked a couple of times, such as during take-off, the duration of the flight, and the landing. The man next to me was maddeningly oblivious to my anxiety. As if that wasn’t irritating enough, two young women a few seats up (that had already annoyed me by laughing too loudly), kept throwing up their hands during turbulence, as if they were in a roller coaster. You might think this would have lightened the mood for me, but it only resulted in my wanting to smack their joyous hands back down where they belonged. It just looked so stupid and I was so scared and nobody cared. “Everyone is a jerk!” I vented to myself, and somehow that made me feel better.
The coffee on the plane was terrible, and it took me most of the flight to figure out that it tasted exactly like mildew smells.
The next flight got interesting even before take-off. As with the previous flight, there was not an empty seat and people kept holding things up by forcing oversized carry-ons into the overhead compartments. I watched in disbelief while one lady attempted to push in a carry-on that was sticking a good four inches over the top of the storage lid. I guess other people were staring as well because two of us jumped in with suggestions and one motivated young man grabbed it himself and shoved it in.
Eventually, the flight crew began pleading with people to quit holding things up. They asked two or three times for people to get out of the aisles and take their seats. Astonishingly enough, people responded by continuing to take their time and even started switching seats with other people. “Would you and your wife like to sit together?” “Honey, do you want this seat or this seat?” At one point, a man who appeared to be the only sane one besides myself said to his wife “Just sit down!” in exasperation. I couldn’t believe the number of seat-switching I was witnessing, as if the flight crew had pleaded with them to please take more time.
And then, as if that weren’t enough, my seatmate finally appeared, a tall, young , red-headed girl with several facial piercings. And guess what. She asked me to switch her seats so that I had the window and she had the aisle. That was fine with me since it didn’t require holding anyone up. However, rather than sitting down, she got into the seat on her knees and peered overhead to her friend who was several rows back. I knew what was coming next, and sure enough, she asked me to switch seats with her friend. Now I was going to be one of those annoying aisle walkers.
I dashed to my new seat to find a man in probably his 40s who had a strong Texas accent and a cavalier attitude. He continued a conversation on his cell phone even after the instructions had been given to turn cell phones off, and he would simply say “hang on” and place it in his lap whenever the flight attendant passed by.
When we began lift-off, I informed the man I am afraid of flying. After my last flight, I was determined that, whether he cared or not, he would be aware. He asked if there was anything he could do and I told him no, but thank you. During ascent, the pilot began a turn which caused the wing dipping that I hate most of all. “This is the part I hate the most,” I said to the man, determined not to be ignored. He obligingly said, “OK.”
I tried after that to avoid bothering the man, and the rest of the flight was relatively uneventful, except for a small moment of discomfort when the flight attendant mistook us for a married couple. (She asked if we were going to share the peanuts he had purchased. I should have said "Yes, that would be very nice.")
Moral of this otherwise pointless story: if your job requires you to work with the public, don't be an ass. If you are going out of town or even just out of your house, make sure you have no fecal matter on you of any kind. If you find yourself sitting next to nervous people, tell them that you know for a fact they will not die today. (Just say it.) If you are boarding a plane, remember that yours is not the only plane in the air that day and the pilot is on a time schedule. And don't assume people of the opposite sex who happen to be seated together have also been united in matrimony.