I’m that rude traveler—the one who sighs and clicks her pen, wiggles in her seat. Not at first, though. I’ll be good if my seatmates behave. But when I try to take a nap and the kid behind me has his earbuds blasting, when the guy in front of me has gas and takes off his shoes so we can taste the flavor of his socks, and when the chick beside me does not actually fit in her seat so I have to share some of mine—yeah, those things make me cranky and I start fidgeting and clicking my pen. I sigh. I fake a loud cough. I’m a brat and I’ll do any inconsequential thing I can do to be part of the annoyers and not part of the doormat club.
The bliss of escape calmed me when the plane landed and we were released to the crowded terminal. No longer did her hot thigh and shoulder rub against me. For two hours she’d been in my space and I almost lost it. If she was a family member who’d mistreated me so, I would have shoved her. Why is it social taboo to shove a stranger who is in your space? Chill, Laura. I concentrated on the good news: my left side and my temper began to cool.
I am also that stranger who comments. It is embarrassing for my husband, so, lucky for him, I left him snug in the warm bed at 4:15 this morning when I left for my trip. Lucky for him that he didn’t have to see me stick my nose and mad face into a conversation that was taking place across two rows of seats in the terminal quite a bit too loudly for my pre-six-a.m. sensitivity.
“Hey, sir? Sir! Did ya hear about this one?” The young military dude in camo thinks he will impress his superior, who looks up from his own phone, sleepy-eyed and annoyed at the interruption.
“Eh?” he grunts.
Undeterred, Junior calls across the quiet morning space, “They got condoms now that dissolve in water? ‘Ja hear about that?”
Superior smiles the smile of a man impressed and quips, “Seems counterintuitive.” He’s pleased with his superior vocabulary and his now public decree that he has personal experience with condoms.
When Junior opens his mouth to say something equally clever, I am as surprised as any of the twenty people in the area to hear the sound of my voice bark this early morning order to one of our nations finest, “Hey. Go over to him and whisper. We don’t want to hear it.”
Junior nods and gets up and walks to his boss where he leans over and they presumably whisper together about condoms until our plane is boarded.
I didn’t have to sit near them on the plane. In hind sight, sitting next to hefty hind end wasn’t so bad.