I am not the most sociable person on earth. Presented with a choice of small talk with a total stranger and reading on my iPad I would push the ear buds further into my ears and pick the latter.
Usually, this character flaw isn’t causing me any trouble. It only deteriorates a bit before a long flight. Then I suspiciously eye the fellow passengers waiting at the gate to board the plane, carefully picking the ones I wouldn’t mind sitting next to. There aren’t many. The list of people whom I wouldn’t want to climb over when going to the toilet, on the other hand, could go on and on.
- A guy with tattoos covering every inch of his skin. Yes, including the face. – If I am seated next to him I bet I will quietly ask the flight attendant to find me another seat. If I dare to, because he looks scary as shit and who knows what he might do to me if he hears me.
- An American couple returning home from their Mediterranean cruise – The last thing I want to listen to for the next nine hours is a detailed recap of the magnificent cruise which was soooo much better than their last trip to the Caribbean.
- Anyone of the group of college juniors completely blocking two rows of seats at the gate for themselves – Cause they’re like so cool and stuff and girls like never stop shrieking, like you know…
- A woman proudly displaying her boob job wearing pink sneakers, leopard leggings and fake fur west – No need for a bumpy flight, her sweet perfume would make me sick even before reaching cruising altitude.
- Parents with a three-year-old on their first intercontinental flight – Because I’m not as excited as they are about the young Madison Ruben taking the flight so lightly that they proudly let him roam up and down the aisle so that everyone can admire their precious little offspring.
- A 30-something couple, he wearing a black flame shirt and a matching baseball hat (google “flame shirt” if you don’t know what I mean). She constantly typing messages on her phone protected with a pink bunny ears case. – I bet he would down a couple of beers and then fall asleep, occupying the entire armrest, while she would play Angry Birds for the entire flight.
- Stylish ex-model-lookalike with perfect hair, manicured hands and a designer tote – After a nine-hour flight I don’t need a stunning looking cover girl to remind me of how messy and hung over I look, a glance in the tiny bathroom mirror will do.
These are just a couple of examples I observed on my recent trip to Cleveland and back. Against all odds I was seated next to a couple of really pleasant people in the end. I hope I’m this lucky next time I travel somewhere again.