Friday, January 30, 2009

WIHP: Airborne Edition

A cracking example of Why I Hate People on the flight from Boston to Heathrow today.

I was settling in to a relatively empty flight, and just starting to enjoy having a row of 4 to myself. Then, like mold that grows slowly behind the walls and creeps up on you, making you realize after it's too late that you have a life-threatening infestation, I started to hear her. More accurately, her grating tone started to work it's way into my ears.

She was kneeling on her seat, leaning over the seatback talking to the person behind her. They were four and three rows in front of me, respectively, and on the opposite side of the plane. I was desperately trying to focus on my book. After I'd read the same sentence 3 times without absorbing it, I realized that what I had retained was information about her that I didn't care to hear. There were words like 'human rights lawyer' (a noble profession, to be sure. Not sure it's what she does, though), 'Oxford', 'Cambridge', and 'fellowship'. Since she was flying from Boston, I'm surprised I didn't hear 'Harvard' somewhere in the mix. I got the impression that she wanted everyone else to hear her drop the names of places of significance.

The captain came over the p.a. to deliver his greeting, which is the only part of the pre-flight dronings that I care to hear. Her loudspeak made it impossible to hear what the captain was saying, which only heightened my annoyance. The only thing that would have made it worse was if she'd been talking on a phone about running into Derek Jeter.

When the time came for us to take our seats-an announcement that I miraculously WAS able to hear-I thought this would mark the end of my audio agony. Oh how wrong I was! She continued talking over the top of the seat, and once we reached the magic, tone-signaled altitude, she was out of her seat like a shot and back at it.

To add insult to injury, the two seats next to her, AND next to the man she was talking at, were empty. She could have spared us all and sat down next to him and had a nice, quiet conversation. Instead, everyone in rows 44 and back can now recite to you her comings and goings, and those of her children, including 'the little one', to whom she referred more times than I can count.

I had followed a woman down the jetway who was wearing black pants with crusty white lines around her pant legs that resembled an EKG of someone with an irregular heartbeat. I saw this same woman again in baggage claim, because the capillary action of salt mixed with melted snow on city sidewalks is pretty unmistakable, particularly after a heavy snow fall. I realized that the woman with the salty pants was the same woman who was the source of my ire.

The only solace I can take from this is that she was returning home, and the odds of me having the same experience on the way back are slim to nil. I hope.


Rob Fisk said...

Hey - I though you were describing a lady with real incontinence (salt stains!) - rather than the verbal version :)

G as in Chris said...

I'm not at all surprised that you would think that.

Nick said...

Welcome to Blighty. Just as snow shuts us down.

G as in Chris said...

Like the sunshine that often accompanies me here, I brought some snow with me this time.