I’ve been traveling a lot this month, and all these flights have reinforced a critical reality that I probably already knew: annoying people on planes are infinitely more annoying than annoying people elsewhere.
Yesterday, on my flight back from San Francisco, I boarded the plane and made my way to my aisle seat. There was a woman wearing pancake makeup sitting in the middle seat in my row, a fur stole hung over the back of her seat. Strangely, this didn’t immediately scream high maintenance to me.
As soon as I sat down, she remarked, “So I guess we’ll have to stand to let that person in,” gesturing to the window seat. I agreed with this hard-hitting analysis of our seating arrangement. “You know,” she continued, “I usually like the seat you’re in.”
“Oh,” I said.
“You want that seat?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said.
She sighed dramatically. “I’m going to be bothering you a lot to go to the bathroom.”
I was so excited for the six-hour flight.
When the food cart came around, she asked for the flight attendant’s opinion on the quinoa wrap. She held up a credit card. “I can’t find my other one.”
“This is fine,” the flight attendant said.
“I don’t know where I put my other one,” she said, rummaging around in her purse. “I can’t find it. Oh, here it is. I guess you can use that one if it’s too late.”
When the drink cart came by, she asked for a “Cabernet wine.”
“And I need a headset, too. I’ve already missed half the movie. And these grapes are rotted.”
Three “Cabernet wines” later, she knocked an empty bottle onto my bag. “These trays are too small,” she whined. She apologized profusely. Just kidding, she didn’t.
After observing our delightful seatmate craning her neck and sighing dramatically several times trying to get the flight attendants’ attention, the woman in the window seat told her about the call button overhead. She was charmed and inspired. The flight attendants, I imagine, were not.