Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Do They Do That?

This post comes to you from sunnier climes. It's hot, it's humid and it's not Sri Lanka. I'll tell you more about it later.

But, sitting on the plane on the way here, I observed something that I've seen happen a few times recently that bugs me. It bugs me in a weird way, not a losing sleep kind of way but enough to make me ponder a bit. I've seen this happen two or three times on flights recently and it makes me want to smile, laugh and rant a little.

There I was, it was a long haul flight and I was deep in the heart of the economy section. Like the famous Whitesnake song, but that was called "Deep in the heart of the city". Someone said to me recently that the sign of a wealthy person is when they can afford to fly business class and pay for it out of their own pocket. Well that makes me a pauper, well and truly, perhaps quite rich in air miles, but they never got a chap anywhere did they?

You know how it is on a plane don't you? We all sit there and check out everyone else within our view. We all do it cunningly so that the other people don't realise we're doing it, except they do. but they pretend that they don't. Then they check us out and pretend that they're gazing past us, at the window and the view of darkness or maybe a cloud. And we pretend that we haven't noticed, unless it's an attractive girl, but they always sit in other parts of the plane anyway.

I was sitting there, reading Modern Drummer magazine, listening to my iPod and trying to shut out the annoying conversation between the Swede and the Kiwi that were sitting next to me. They were having a vague attempt at a drinking competition. Unless it was an elaborate set up they hadn't met until we all got on the flight but there was a strong smell of male ego as they "casually" chatted about how much they drank and how much they loved alcohol. They then proceeded to have one of those unacknowledged drinking competitions.

Swede and Kiwi matched each other drink for drink, each pretending that he was just behaving normally. I knew full well that neither Swedes nor Kiwis can behave normally, so I sat there and carried on with my air drumming and waiting for both of them to pass out. Sure enough they did, the Swede lasted four, maybe five seconds longer than the antipodean, but I think it would be fair to call it a draw. It's even fairer to say that I, representing Sri Lanka, played a tactical game and won.

While they were sleeping I noticed a biggish bloke about two rows in front of me but to my left. He must have been about fifty and was travelling with a woman who I assumed to be his wife. I assumed this because they just looked as if neither of them gave a hoot about their appearance. He had a paper clip holding the arm of his glasses to the main bit, that kind of thing. The thing I saw was him get annoyed, I mean really annoyed here, with the guy sitting in the seat in front of him.

He wasn't getting annoyed because the chap was farting at intervals of three seconds, he wasn't stewing because the guy was chucking bits of paper backwards and they were landing on the paperclipped bit of his glasses. No, he was going off on one because the chap, the horrible and nasty evil fellow in front of him, actually had the audacity to recline in his seat. He didn't say anything to him but he was miming to his wife that he wanted to give the evil recliner a smack in the chops, that ge wanted to push the seat forwards, that he hardly had room to move and all other miming activities.

It would have looked a lot better if he had been Marcel Marceu and was doing the whole stuck in a box or behind a window thing, that would have provided entertainment for many of us watching him, but it wasn't to be. Perhaps Mr, or Monsieur, Marceau used to practice by sitting on a plane stuck behind a reclining seat, I know not, but he was quite good at it anyway so maybe the need wasn't there.

I watched the idiot and just condescending thoughts towards him. We were travelling on a plane in economy class, it's no random coincidence that many people actually call it cattle class. The seats are actually designed and made to recline, that's what people do when they sleep, or do a vague impersonation of it, on a plane. Yes, if we really were cattle in a lorry, we probably would be entitled to about double the space that we're entitled to as Humans. But we're scum, we're just economy passengers and we should know our place.

So Mr Paperclipped glasses. If you read this I hope that you don't ever recline your own seat, I hope that the next flight you go on has someone in front of you who leans back as far as their seat will go.

Or pay for business class, where you'll get some champagne and a neighbour who's got an upgrade because he's got lots and lots of airmiles. He might even have my expired ones. I often wonder where they go.


Hakim said...

Nice post Man! I usually recline it 50% when I sleep, but I hate it when people move it up and down when I am having my meal, it should be either up or down!

the1truecoolguy said...

"...unless it's an attractive girl, but they always sit in other parts of the plane anyway."

I've been meaning to blog about this for months now!! However, with each passing month (and ~16 flights/month), this theory is getting solidified...

BM said...

"...unless it's an attractive girl, but they always sit in other parts of the plane anyway."

I could say the same thing about attractive boys in planes...

Darwin said...

I don't mind the person ahead of me reclining his/her seat as I always have abundant leg-space (I'm small enough to curl up in my seat when I fall asleep). My pet peeve is when the idiot sitting behind me uses the back of my seat to hoist himself/herself up when they need to stand up. I once told someone off for doing that repeatedly every 10 mins or so.

Oh, and don't get me started on whiny babies/kids on flights. I dream of carrying a tranquilliser gun with me during times like that.