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October 17, 2002

People Watching in a Tube

People Watching in a Tube

I am flying as I write this, and with nothing but time on my hands I am taking the time (or wasting it) noticing the people who are flying on this metal tube with me. It's amazing how many times in a day we pass strangers, never taking the time to talk to them. I don't know why today is different from the other times I have flown, but today I am keenly aware of the people who surround me, and whose stories I will never know. Noticing the people today has caused me to reflect on people in general, and how our behavior appears to others when we fly.

First of all, there is a guy sitting beside me (actually there is an empty seat between us so I hope he can't read this) who I believe thinks a lot of himself. I noticed him in the boarding area. You all know his type, perhaps some of you are his type. He coolly walks up to the gate desk dressed in his suit and walking with his buddy. He flashes what he believes is a winning smile and says to the women at the desk, "Are we still on time?," as if he is part of the crew. He throws his hand towards the sky to check his expensive watch, that I believe he wanted us all to see and then took a seat.

Now that we are on the plane he keeps looking at that watch and fixing his tie so we can all notice that he is a big time player in the world of sales, and wish that we could be like him. I know he has looked at me and thought, Poor guy, as he surveyed my attire. I don't tend to dress well when I travel, or any other time I guess. I am traveling to a conference in Park City, UT, but I think this guy believes that he has such a better life than I do, or perhaps better than most of the people on this plane. If he had met my daughter he wouldn't think that.

I really don't mind that people make so much more money than I do, I don't think, I just hate it when people act as if that somehow makes them so much better than I am. Some people walk around with such an arrogance about them that I can hardly bear to talk to them. In actuality, I don't want the guy to speak with me because that might show me how wrong I was about him. These are simply observations, nothing more.

Next, I have noticed several women who are traveling with infants or small children. This is not an easy feat. If you have children, you know how hard it can be to pack all your stuff in a van, but packing all of that on the plane can be even more difficult. You worry about whether or not your child will cry and disturb all of the people around you, or get so upset that you cannot calm him/her down.

The worst part of flying with babies is the people around you. People suck at hiding their emotions, and I have already seen a number of mean looks today as the women took their seats. I'm sorry if my child cries and bothers you, but can't we at least be tolerant of it. Some of these people look so mean.

Finally, there was a bit of a panic aboard the plane as one woman was reportedly dizzy and had a history of heart problems. She was sitting on my row, that is how I learned all of this. Turned out she has a cold, I think, so everything was okay, but the flight attendants were talking about diverting the plane if necessary. I have to admit, I was glad that did not happen.

Sidenote: Somebody just let a big one and of course I cannot open a window. Dear God, it is terrible and I bet the Fortune 500 guy thinks that I did it.

Another interesting thing I have noticed today is how some people approach the boarding process. For those of you who have never flown Southwest, let me explain it to you. They don't assign seats. It is like general admission at a concert, and don't we all remember what happened in Cincinnati at the Who concert? It can get ugly. Anyway, there are some people who get in the gate and immediately go and stand in front of the place where they will take up tickets……….IN AN HOUR AND A HALF!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I admit, these people bother me a little. I can understand when buddies are flying together and want to make sure that they sit by one another, but people who were flying solo were doing the same thing. They stand up there and look suspicious at anyone who makes a move towards the front of the line, as if they are the king of the flying jungle and the rest of us are the wounded gazelles. Over the course of an hour and a half I purposely walked up to the front of the line and looked out the window just to kind of piss them off. Not much, but I had to find ways to entertain myself.

I guess my attitudes about flying have changed somewhat since the WTC attacks. I just don't care as much. I don't care too much if a very overweight person sits next to me and takes up part of my seat too. I don't mind if a woman sits beside me with a crying infant in her arms. I don't even mind the person sitting in front of me leaning her chair back into my space. Hey, we are all sharing a SMALL space for a couple of hours together. So, I don't sleep, I hear babies cry, or I have to smell another poot (they are not pretty), at least I think we are going to make it there safely, and that is more than some people have been able to say about their loved ones.

UPDATE: After closing down the computer Mr. Money Bags beside me started picking his nose and blatantly flicking it into the center aisle. I'm sure he wasn't doing it to show everyone that he could, he was in one of those zones when you are reading something and not paying attention to what you are doing. It was gross. I wanted to say something but wasn't exactly sure what would be appropriate.

Posted by Woundwort at October 17, 2002 10:32 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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