Tuesday, March 2, 2010

People on the Plane You Meet

Having the opportunity to fly to and from Houston this past weekend reminded me of the joys (I am being facetious here) of flying.

Of course we all know that it isn't any fun to fly anymore--between the preflight screening, the undressing in public to get through security, and then being crammed into a long cylindrical airframe like so many sardines in a can--it just is not something I look forward to anymore.

I like being there--I just don't appreciate getting there.

But--on our return flight from Houston, actually it was the leg from Chicago to Washington, DC, I was confronted with an really interesting individual seated across the aisle from me. After I had slept for about an hour as it was late at night, this person decided the entire aircraft needed to start shouting U-S-A, U-S-A at the top of their lungs.

She was loud. And she just couldn't understand why, at 11PM after a long day, people wanted to sleep more than cheer about a losing hockey effort. For some reason she felt that I needed to help her in the cheer and she even hit my arm trying to enlist my aid. OK--I was appalled that she crossed over into my interpersonal zone.

I did an interesting thing--I decided to ignore her. Which was hard. But I was tired and just waking up after a not-so-restful snooze.

I couldn't tell if she had too much to drink or had some other problem, but after the entire plane ignored her cheer--and she tried about six times; she began sobbing. Loudly. She was distressed that she had been dissed in her socially unacceptable behavior. The cabin crew offered her some aid to dry her tears as the plane was beginning the process of landing and she could not go to the lavatory to self-correct.

I heard her subsequently talking under her breath but loudly enough for me to hear that she had never been treated so poorly on a flight in her life.

I felt bad for her--and I still couldn't tell whether this was an alcohol induced situation or a mental situation.

The problem was ultimately solved by landing and deplaning. But I wonder--had the flight been one of those long 14 hour flights I've been on in the past, what would have happened.

It is always amazing the people you meet or interact with on the airplane. I wonder if she even remembered what happened the next morning.

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