Sunday, March 31, 2013

Please Don't Be Awful In The Following Ways, Or, Airport Seatmate Analysis, by Allison

So today we are embarking on lovely spring holiday trip to St. John, which is my happy place in my head.
We have taken this most excellent jaunt a few times and it is fab, from alpha to omega.

And currently , as my children are not acting like savage feral vultures in immediate need of whatever it is that is not in our carry ons and probably still at home,
And I somehow I magically score a seat a bit to the side of the hardcore "it's my turn " scrimmages,
I have time to:

1. Spill tea on my seat, cushy neck thing, and Kindle.
But no worries!
Nice seatmate has napkins, and I do not have to skulk back to Amazon to order Allison 's 7th kindle, because I know the Kindle people are laughing at me already, and cannot deal with more ridicule.

2. Get to use my  pretend Extreme People Watching Ph.D,
Subcategory:  How  awful will the people around me on this plane will be, and in what way.

Like Anna Karinina says, every happy assortment of flight neighbors are alike, each unhappy assortment is unhappy in its own way.
(Note:  that is not a verbatim quote from the book, but it has similar truism. )

Plus now that I have gotten my serious literature reference out of the way,  proving am clearly total scholar,  I can justify shiny, pretty Vogue perusal.
After I finish this Very Important Analysis:

Allison's Analysis of Airplane Neighbors, Or, I Am Stuck Here Next To You, Please Do Not Suck:

1. Ideal seatmate:
We are taking up space in close proximity , but you do the immediate ear buds in, not acknowledging me whatsoever tactic.
This is a delightfully clear-cut  seat neighbor .
I get it.
No talky.
I smile once to show I am allegedly nice, and I get your "shhhh" deal.
(Note: I am horrible at pulling off this maneuver myself. Meaning , I try to hide behind book or ear buds and music -  but lifetime anecdotal evidence proves that invariably, I get an Information Seeker.)

2. Information Seeker:
You know, the one wanting to know about the book I am reading/hiding behind, or what I am listening to.
In all other scenarios, Here Is What I Think Is Awesome Conversation is my favorite .

But planes or trains (especially Hitchcockian trains, look out for the noir!!!) are tricky.
Could be lovely, brief discussion on whatever, followed by peace and calm.
BUT, there is no way to know this right away.

You could get sucked into a vortex of: 
Way too much information about temporary travel neighbor's medical issues that are fairly personal and graphic ,
Extreme Overshare on niece that is in rehab ,
How air travel prices are the fault of whichever political group person hates with a raging passion,  ( Note: invariably forcing me to  tediously duck and weave, since I Am NOT Talking About Politics)
And my fave, "Where do I live and do I know this person they know from my city ?"

(Note: No.  Answer  is always no.  But that is not accepted as an answer, ever,  so you have to listen to more details on unknown same city dweller, in hopes that somehow it turns out you DO know this person.)
(Subnote:  that never happens )

3.  It could get worse, though. Information Seekers are mute invisible people compared to "Oh Goody, I Have An Audience "Person.

(And while it may appear somewhat pot/kettle scenario, me besmirching someone's Extreme Conversing, in my defense I proffer):

I do NOT trap strangers temporarily proximate to me on some method of transportation and give Lessons In Music,  or here is the best lip balm and here's why, or you need to learn the wonders of Tide To Go.
(I have provided and/or administered magic product to save the day or the white jeans of neighbor, but that is totally not same thing )

Nor do I give protracted, meandering tales of my children and their various cool qualities, or conversely, Mommy Horror Tales.

I save all that stuff for proper venues such as:
Talking my friends's ears off,
Having blog, so word limitations don't interfere with my Brilliant Insights,
ithis or ithats,
My gym friends (as distraction from bad boot camp pain, I am saint-like, reallly)
Starbucks cool magic elixir makers,
And boutique owners and their chic staff.
(Note: I recently I got a thank you note, very charming , from cool boutique I had recently visited and may or may not have gone a bit overboard. (Spoiler! I did.)
And Matt is all, "Um Allison, when they send you thank you notes, I am alarmed as to what havoc you have wreaked."
Lesson learned, hide shopping spree thank you cards from now on).

And so while I get the basic concept of Let Me Tell You What Is What, and I surely do that if it is of interest to listener, I know this:
You have  to read your audience.

 (Or, get blog where you can pontificate into the ether, so your head is not full of GET THIS! that will bowl over next person you see)

And if  airplane or whatever seat neighbor plugs into every electronic thing they own, or fake sleep, they do NOT want to hear about a great business opportunity , fishing lure analysis, or your gout.
Just saying.

4. It's not just Information Seekers or Overwhelming Oversharers, though.
Occasionally, a lady traveling without chaperone befuddles certain men. Men who somehow think this is Victorian England, and I am a loose woman or whatever. Tiresome and creepy.

Best way to deal with that horror is find the coolest flight attendant   -  those that have not crossed 40 time zones in 24 hours, dealing with passengers who mistake them for personal valets at the Ritz.

That attendant will be your best bet in suddenly needing to relocate you to save you,  or letting you hang with the crew in back, or most commonly, give a Stern Face at the Yuk Guy.

5. Also no fun?  Zombies.

Completely asleep, coma-like, drooling seat mate. Preventing you from extricating yourself from hours long Pilates pretzel twist leg formation in order to visit gross lavatory.
Lavatories  I do not wish to opine upon, because EWWW suffices.
Zombies can be sleepy  drooler college dude, little elderly lady who somehow still takes up all space , or the Worst:
Parent holding sleeping baby.

You know, they know , the universe knows, jostling will lead to Displeased Baby  Hear Me Roar.

I have often attempted spidey crawl over nearby seats , kind of playing Plane Twister.  Does not work. Left hand on yellow , right foot on green , never works .
Nobody's fault except shrinky dink airplanes, but that scenario sucks, for displeased baby  parents at their wits' send, everyone else on the plane.

5. I am noting these plane dilemmas  as if I am always traveling solo, Whee the Freedom, Mary Tyler Moore tossing crochet hat in the air.
That is not so. Is rare (also do not have any crochet anything).
Normally, I have Matt and my girls, girls who are actually great travelers:
(Sage Tangent Advice!
when Matt was in training,the head of oncology was an intimidating but worldly man, and he advised us when I was pregnant with V to take our kids traveling early and often, they would become good travelers and get a lot out of it even when they were little, it's worth it)

Sage advise taken, and the girls are great, yet no matter how savvy they are, somebody is going to get the window seat twice, the stain free markers LIE and also roll off in two seconds leading to messy mayhem, etc.

Traveling with a passel of toddlers or babies or both is a different story altogether , involving Santa size sacks of foods and toys and the fog of desperation permeating everywhere.

Want to know what  "if looks could kill" looks like?
Take babies and toddlers on a plane.
Extra  bonus if they are already screaming.

In fact, the first time I flew solo after lots of kid carting travel,  I was meeting my sister in NYC for fun weekend for her birthday, no packs of Goldfish involved. 
No kids to monitor, placate, or shoosh.
And it was a busy flight , loud, commotion going on around me, but I was ALL ALONE.
With a book.
So somehow I did not notice we landed.

Or that everyone had disembarked.

It was like I was in a sensory deprivation tank.

And when a crew member got back on the plane to prepare for next flight , she screamed.
And she could not decide who broke TSA laws:
Me for not getting off of the plane,
or them not noticing.

And just as "I like this song" is not an airtight defense for speeding while driving ,
"I am all alone without my kids and this book is good" does not automatically clarify why you did not get off the plane like a normal person.
But airline person could tell that though insane,  my story was true, and I was free to flee, and I rushed off for the fun weekend.

So there are many subsets of "oh nooo" involved in getting from here to there.
Minefields, you cannot predict or plan tactics in advance. Always have to be on your toes for what you might encounter.

But yay!
Today, seat mate was nice guy with maps (Graciously not laughing in my face when I showed him where we stay and our favorite beaches are, because I had the map upside down and got the
mountainy area confused with the water)
And: across aisle , this nice lady and I discussed ,with demonstration thanks to my spill:
The wonders of Neutrogena makeup wipes,
Which  kind of coconut water we preferred,
My perfume and its origin (as first Chanel perfume created for a specific woman, and I choose to think that person is me, as I am delusional),
And the many beautification uses of cucumbers.

And Note:
In case you are thinking I trapped this woman with ha HA! I have a trapped audience, whee!  and this poor lady was tormented, unwilling chat friend,
I submit the following as evidence :

In crazy mayhem airport that is not easy to maneuver , she comes to find me to make sure I got my welcome shot of rum, as is delicious and she wanted to share the yay.
Which ?:
1. Proves  I did not drive her insane with my jibber jabber and in fact we are BFF's

2. Proves I am about to have an awesome vacation .