For instance, on this particular flight last week, we were seated across the aisle from a woman and her obviously new boyfriend. She was so manic that I literally had to block my peripheral vision because I was having a hard time relaxing while this woman was up, down, fidgeting, twisting her head around, switching positions in her seat, opening the pocket in the seat in front of her, rifling through her purse, etc.. Apparently, she was extremely concerned about securing a blanket for herself and keeping an eye on what all passengers on the plane were doing at all times was a surefire way to ensure that she would indeed end up one of the lucky recipients of a blue, scratchy, germ infested airplane blanket.
After walking up and down the aisles four times (before we were even allowed to do so), she emerged, victorious, blanket in hand. No sooner was she settled under the blanket when she whacked me in the arm with one of those annoying inserts from magazines that feature subscriptions for an unbeatable low price of $12 a year (that's just $1 per issue!). I was
"Can I borrow your pen? When you're done?", she barked at me.
I hand her my pen and she takes an extraordinarily long time filling out her paperwork. So does her boyfriend. While he is filling out his paper, WHACK!. She's at it again with the magazine insert. Once again, I look across the aisle at her.
"Can you tell him (points to Adam) to close his shade so my boyfriend can watch the T.V.?"
I oblige and Adam lowers the shade half way. Reasonable, I think. Especially considering the movie is a kids' movie. Something about a witch and a mountain.
I turn my attention back to my knitting. WHACK! Is she serious!? Again, I look across the aisle to see what else she could possibly want.
"Can you tell him to lower the other one behind him?" This is more of a demand than a question.
Again, Adam obliges by lowering the shade behind him half way.
I knit a few stitches. WHACK! Am I being punked!? I look around for Ashton Kutcher and when I don't see him, I look at her for what I hope will be the final time.
"Yes?", I say.
"Can you tell him to lower it ALL the way? He can't see the T.V.," pointing to her boyfriend who has huddled under the much coveted blanket and is looking up at the T.V. screen. Again, this is more of a demand than a request. And no kidding that he can't see the T.V. He's looking at the one directly above him. The plane could be pitch black and he still wouldn't be able to see it because of the angle he's at. Try looking at the one a few seats ahead, like all the other 9-year-olds are.
Adam, politely, says, "I don't think that it will really help all that much. I really think this is the best I can do."
The lady across the aisle then tells Adam to turn his light on if he wants to read so much. Uh huh. I see where this is going. She then says,
"Yuh-huh! You have to!!! They said you have to at the beginning of the flight!!!!" She then turns to me and says, "He has to! You have to tell him he has to!".
Adam ignores her. I try to ignore her, too. I put my head down in attempt to knit again. I haven't even picked up the needles and...yes, you guessed it...WHACK!
I lose my patience and finally say, "Will you STOP!!!??".
I brace myself for another WHACK! but she just turns back to her boyfriend and simply states, "She said 'stop'".
All was quiet. For a little bit. Until I feel another WHACK! on my elbow. "Thanks for the pen".
I spent a good deal of the flight wondering how Adam and I could've managed the situation better, if perhaps we were the ones who were wrong. After we landed, it appeared that my aisle mate and her boyfriend were not getting along. It was confirmed when I heard her shout, "You have a daughter!?". To which the boyfriend responded, "You didn't ask." After that, she promptly stormed off down the aisle of the plane. Even though we were still taxiing down the runway.
When we arrived at the gate, she jumped out of her seat and walked off the plane alone, while her boyfriend tried to track her down via cell phone begging her not to run far because she had his passport. We caught sight of the couple in line at immigration with their hands all over each other, so apparently all is well that ends well. After witnessing those made-for-reality-television moments, I let myself off the hook for mishandling the situation. I think the next time I fly, I'll sit by the window.