Continued from the beginning HERE
To this he retorts happily, “I’m going to Redmond!” My split-second decision making allows me to pick back up where I was reading without registering him, or the comment. I actually do try to be nice to people, but I decide that any comment will be seen as an invitation for a 6 hour conversation. 6 Hours later he has still done nothing but look from side to side and eaten the free airline meal (can you believe Continetal still does this?) – even after I offered him something to read. He would become my best friend on this flight.
Shortly after our conversation, a little old Indian woman comes up and says to the old man, “you are D, I’m in E” to which he responds, “Yeah!”
“No, YOU are D!”
“Yeah, I know”
This is when I step in, “She means you are in her middle seat, you have the aisle.” To which he does not really respond, “But if you’re
fine with it, I’m sure she’s fine with it.”
This seems settled. She’s happy to not be in the middle, he is happy to be alive, and apparently, very happy to be flying to Redmond
(perhaps he’s a Gates).
Waddling up the aisle comes a 300 lb gorilla of a woman and with her a blond bridge and tunnel stereotype (bleached, stretch pants, guady/juicy). The larger of the two exclaims as she approaches the row ahead of me, “please excuse us before we sit down, we’re loud laughers, ha ha ha, we are here to party!” She has a scratchy New Yawker voice. Her Amazon friend laughs along.
In the row ahead, the gorilla is right in front of me, blonde is in the middle, and there is a 5’2″ slightly portly lady in the aisle. The loud New Yorkers are already striking up a conversation with each other, loudly, when I lightly tap the one in front of me on the shoulder and ask, “Excuse me, I’m 6’7″ and I was wondering if it would be possible for you to not put your seat back after we take off?”
I recently adapted this non-confrontational (but what seems direct) approach, after it was applied to me by a guy sitting behind Maggie and me who was probably around 6’3″. Up until this point I’d had what I would consider moderate success employing it.
She quickly jerks her head back to say, “What?” with a very quizzically harsh look and turns back to face her friend almost as quickly as a gorilla snatching a banana from a tourist at the Bronx Zoo.
I don’t let this deter me. “Well, I’m really tall, and it would help me out a lot if you wouldn’t put your seat back.”
Outraged, the gorilla retorts, “Well, I’m a big lady, and this is a really long flight, so am I NOT supposed to be comfortable on the flight?” “Am I?”, as she looks at her friend.
“She’s really tall too, should she be uncomfortable the whole flight?”
Now she’s yelling AND laughing incredulously, and making a huge scene…
“I have big hips, but do I ask the person in front of me not to put their seat back? We all paid the same to be back here, why don’t
you buy a first class ticket?”
At this point Amazon blonde is nodding her head and I can see she is rallying some other inconsiderate morons to her cause. “Hey, why don’t I just buy you a couple drinks, so you’ll stop crying?”
Out of nowhere, the little Indian lady sitting in the old man’s seat decides she should chime in, “Yes, you know we ALL have the right to put our seat back if we wish.” She is shorter than 5’5″
Steam is billowing out of my ears and I have said exactly two words since the gorilla’s diatribe, and they were both, “well.” I’ve had
enough, and the little Indian woman bears the brunt.
“Hey, you are sitting in his seat (pointing to old man), why don’t you two just switch seats, because you’re much smaller?”
Indignantly the little old lady says, “Hurrumph, well, I was just thinking about switching seats with you, but now that you have acted
so rudely, I WILL not.”
I stare at her directly in her beady little eyes and rage, “Oh, EXCUSE ME, you were THINKING about giving me HIS seat? Thank you so much for THINKING about it? LIAR.”
After yelling at the little Indian woman, anyone that might have been on my side, is now not. Not that anyone but the gorilla actually said anything. It’s not in the best interest of those trying to make friends and influence people to have the only thing you say to defend yourself screamed at a little old lady.
Again the gorilla sees an opportunity and rants, “Oh, yeah, why are you so rude? Who do you think you are? You know you are this tall, why should you inconvenience everyone on the flight because you are so tall. You should buy a first class ticket. We all paid the same amount of money.”
I don’t think my face has ever been redder, and I flash back to some situation where I’m in 7th grade and some fast-talking junior high
shit is making me feel like an idiot. I’ve never more strongly considered the consequences of punching a woman on an airplane before. I think that it’s pretty lucky that my hothead wife is not on the plane with me, or we would definitively be spending the night in the Newark airport jail.
The gorilla is not done though, as she continues along the same 1 way dialogue involving my inconsiderateness and how many drinks she’s going to buy me. Then, a flight attendant walks down the aisle for a last check before take off.
“Excuse me, can you PLEASE move this man, he is complaining if I put my seat back. Can you PLEASE find another place for this
inconsiderate man, or get him some free drinks?”
I mumble through gnashing teeth, “I don’t want any fucking drinks.”
And the flight attendant looks at us both despairingly and says, “You two deal with it.”
Then another, more friendly flight attendant (in fact the friendliest flight attendant I’ve ever met), comes walking by and the gorilla
tries the same tact with her.
“Oh, well, hmmmm, let me see what I can do. Maybe I can have someone from the exit row switched with you.” And for a brief moment I feel that this may all work out fine. That nobody has to die….
To be continued…