Saturday, February 04, 2006


To Mr. Aisle-Seat Jackass

... Look, no one likes flying. Airports are havens of stressed-out, disgruntled people. So I can completely understand if you were not in the best of spirits. And I myself was not thrilled to be sitting wedged between you, Mr. Aisle-Seat Jackass, and Chatty McWindowseat on my other side. I just wanted to sleep, after having spent a weekend sharing a hotel room with my dad who snores like a friggin’ chainsaw (I could hear it right through the earplugs).

So, after sitting down, getting settled and comfy, and dozing off while the flight crew jabbered about exit rows, I was somewhat startled awake by your sharp elbow painfully jabbing my arm off of our shared armrest. That's right, shared. And I was maybe using a centimeter of the very back of my side of said shared armrest. Well, Mr. Aisle-Seat Jackass, I am not one to be elbow-jabbed so rudely and let it go. I thus reinstated my elbow, comfortably working my way so that I now occupied my fully alloted 50% of the elbow rest, much to your quite obvious frustration, and closed my eyes to doze again. Or feign dozing, as you would have it, as you continually jabbed and prodded with your elbow, to no avail - when I decide to stand fast, man, you ain't proddin' me out of that decision, no Sir. At one point I even opened my eyes, stretched my arms above my head, glanced at you and smiled pleasantly, and calmly placed my elbow back where it rightfully was allowed to reside per United Airlines decree. Frustrating, wasn't it?

But you know, when Chatty McWindowseat then got up and left to join her conference buddies in another aisle, it really only made sense for me, the center person, to take over her seat. I think most airplane patrons would agree that the person occupying the center should be the one to shift to the newly emptied window seat. However, I could tell you were pissed off about that, and felt it to be a great injustice - largely because you made a face like a troll and then glared at me and coughed so loudly and hackingly and obviously that I thought you might be trying to donate a lung, on the spot. What a Good Samaritan he must be, I tried to force myself to think! But no, you were simply expressing as eloquently as possible that you wanted the window seat. Did your Mom give in to your whining demands for candy when you did that as a child? So anyway, realizing this, I even rationalized that you were such an extremely pissy specimen of a passenger that it would be in my best interest to swallow my pride/stubbornness and just appease you as much as possible, if nothing else, to stop the hacking.

So, I then offered you the window seat, since you were clearly so attached to it - but you made that awful face again, pretended you didn't understand English (which I later realized was not the case), and turned away (after strewing your personal belongings all over my purse which I had leaned against my side of the now-shared center seat, which I am obliged to point out took up maybe four inches of the 24 or so total available inches of seat-width). Fine, I didn't mind strewing your dandruff-covered jacket aside when I need to switch CDs. I also didn't mind that your precariously-placed laptop nearly slid off about five times during the course of the flight.

Then, the movie started. Now I realize you really REALLY wanted to look out that window, but since the flight crew had specifically requested that we lower our window shades for better viewing of the film, and since I myself was in fact interested in watching said film, and lastly, since common etiquette and sense dictate that the person who sits at the window, controls the window, I shut the shade. However, you were such a whiny little fucktard about it that I even specifically caught your eye, smiled, and opened the goddamn window shade during the movie and indicated to you that you could look out the window since I’d opened it just for you. You just shot me another charming little glare, though, so I shut it in the interest of creating a NICE DARK AMBIANCE for movie-watching.

And the first two movies did suck, I admit, but the third was cute and wittily written and even had some bona-fide laugh-out-loud moments. And as such, I did titter audibly, I confess. Never mind that entire row behind us was chortling so violently that it literally shook our seats (and caused your laptop to nearly fall once again). It was still definitely justifiable for you to shoot me the most withering glare you could muster as well as doing that sigh-cough-borderline-lose-a-lung thing again to punish me for the offense of quiet laughter. Especially since you SANG OUT LOUD IN BENGALI to the fucking Bollywood flicks you were watching on your laptop, complete with head and arm motions that literally extended, if we want to get technical, across the entire 24-inch berth of the shared center seat and into my this-is-clearly-my-seat-now area. Yeah, fuck me for tittering, I should be arrested.

And THEN, and this is my personal favorite, you refused to get out of your seat to let me pass by to use the bathroom, forcing me to cram my ass in your face while passing. Seriously, you could have at least slipped a dollar in my g-string for that kind of move*. Were I a woman of a lesser caliber, I would have farted in your face. Come to think of it, I wish it had occurred to me at the time. But I reluctantly chalked it up to your apparent lack of a keen grasp on the English language. Into this category I also lumped the fact that you did not stow your personal belongings as the flight attendants insisted (and I must say at this point I actively willed your laptop to fly off the seat during the incredibly turbulent landing - and it almost did, several times, but it never quite succeeded – was karma on vacation?).

But then, as we were shuffling to get out of our seats, several people asked you to help them get their bags - and though surly and pissy as ever, you obliged. But I studied you carefully during these interactions - and noticed that these were not simple, basic, pointing requests. They were complicated sentences with multiple clauses, highly descriptive adjectives, and many unusual and/or challenging verbs, prepositions and nouns, such as "Could you please hand me the navy coat that is wedged in to the left of the green suitcases in the far left corner... yes, that one, thank you!" and "Sir, would you please hand me the red bag - no, the larger of the two, with the pom-poms, no, the one on the right, yes, thank you so much".

Now, to give you the benefit of the doubt, it could simply be the case that you are a beginning student of English and you just finished the chapter on colors. I myself have studied, let's see, six foreign languages, and they all teach you the colors somewhere near the beginning in one fell swoop, right after the chapter on "objects in the classroom" and before the one about all the various professions in today's modern world. (Well, all except Latin - they just jump right into who's slain which mortal in the name of Zeus and whatnot). So maybe that's the case - you just have a really really keen grasp of English when it comes to colors and basic requests, but not so much with the "I'm so sorry to have to wake you, but could I please exit to use the restroom", "Would you like to switch seats", or "Did you know that you are the most insufferable sexist pigfaced jackass I have ever had the displeasure of encountering?". Maybe that's it. You know, I'm a certified ESL instructor; I'd be happy to give you a hand with that if we ever cross paths again in the hopes of teaching you some BASIC FUCKING DECENCY skills as well, for the low price of FREE, in the interest of benefitting anyone who ever has to interact with you, ever, ever again. So, if you read this, drop me a line.


*Just kidding - who flies cross-country in a g-string? I mean, seriously.

Seat #22D, United flight #221, IAD to SEA,

Oh my! What a pain in the arse! But I have to say, it was a very amusing piece to read... :)
You tell your tragic tale nicely. Let me know when you have another post you want to promote.

Fat lady piece equally entertaining, even if the math had me scratching my head. Never was my forte.

All the best,
D. Ox
Just like watching a seinfeld episode!!! It's hilarious 'cause it's true and everyone has had experiences like this before so can relate! Nice work!
I really enjoyed this post!
I needed a good laugh!

Sounds like you should try other options in transportation :)
Ok. That is freaking hilarious! I'm sorry that you had to be trapped next to that guy. What a fuck.
You need more posts dammit
Fucking hilarious! I felt your pain!
Brava, brava! What a wonderful piece of literature. Should be required reading for all air travelers, prior to their flight of course.
Entertaining travel story. Next time, don't hesitate to do the fart thing. That's one of those straight to the point forget-me-nots that people of all languages understand.
Umm... I think you must have been sitting next to an old roommate of mine. Damn annoy Bengali S.O.B.

I was this close ... >>pinches fingers together<< to setting his bed on fire.

Good news I can tell you (which you probably did not know per se but could suspect would be due) if this was in fact my old roommate you sat next to, he has been on the receiving end of a high fashion leather purse filled with human feces from one of his fellow Bengalis. (certified true)(not me)

Thank you,
on the other hand surviving the mind-boggling IAD check-in system MIGHT do strange things to mostly normal human beings....
"Once upon a time" is the traditional fairy tale start; I prefer the sea story start of:

"This ain't no shit!"

Do you remember when taking a flight was given the reverence of going to church? When I was a child in the 1960s, we wore Sunday best on flights, flights which always had plenty of leg room and a choice of two decent meals. There was the stench of cigarettes, unfortunately. During the 1980s, I had to fly on military flights and sneered at the meals: two sandwiches, chips, cookies, carrots and a soft drink. The last time I flew, I was in the center seat. The isle was a young man who told me his sad story and the aisle seat a kid who wanted to play with his CD player and who squirmed a lot. I'm 6'4" and when the asshole in front of me pushed his fucking seat back as far as it would go, I really felt it in my knees. So, I rammed my knees into his seat as hard as I could but I don't think it did any good.

They served us some crackers but not pea nuts. They were protecting those who might be alergic to nuts and those who might have asmatha attacks from thinking of peanuts. I think this lack of food on a cross country flight is meant to encourage the eatting of over priced and badly cooked food at airports. (If you doubt this, try eatting at the "new" Denver airport!)

I've had trips on Grayhound buses. I'd call airliners "Grayhound buses with wings" except that insults Grayhound buses! I'm going on a cross country round trip this coming summer and I'm not looking forward to it! I guess I'm just not masso enuf! After all, what's to bitch about the asshole in front of me shoving his seat into my knees, having the privledge of eatting a little package of crackers and a poor selection of soft drinks. Come to think of it, if the airlines pimped their alcoholic drinks properly, they could make some much money they'd be able to provide Swanson TV dinners! God, I so miss those Air Force box lunches I hated in the 1980s!
I'd hate to be the guy next to you in a movie theater...
I'm sorry for the miscommunication, but you were mumbling
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