Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Amateur Mistake...

I think I've made close to 15 trips back to Chicago since we moved to Basel in 2000, and you'd think I'd be an expert by now. But, NO! I made the ultimate "rookie" mistake this evening - I fell asleep on the sofa at about 8:00 p.m., and woke up (with the TV remote control in my hand...hey, I'm a guy!) at 11:00 p.m. Now...I'm sitting here in the wee hours watching a replay of the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards not feeling the least bit tired.

My Chicago/London/Basel trip went well in that the flights were on time, the lines for security weren't too bad, etc. Despite the fact that I didn't get my business class upgrade, AND ended up sitting next to a complete "nut ball", I managed to squeeze in a good three hours of shut eye on the overseas flight.

"Nutball" was a talker. I knew it the moment I laid my eyes on him. Remember, I was in sales for fifteen years, so I think I'm pretty good at getting an instant read on people. My iPod was on, and my earbuds were in when I took my seat. I greeted him, and then I proceeded to ignore him despite his best efforts to make me his "BFF". He'd say something to me, and I'd pretty much pretend that I couldn't hear him even though I really could. I know, I'm an ass, but I don't care. I didn't feel like speaking to anybody, and that was my right.

At one point, I had to take my earbuds out in order to speak with the flight attendant during beverage service. As I ordered my TWO gin and tonics ($10 in economy???), "Nutball" did his best to engage me in conversation. He's 60ish, an attorney, this was his eleventh trip to London, he's from Kansas City, etc., etc. He had a BOOMING voice, kind of a hillbilly accent, and...worst of all...he was a "close-talker". I was cranky from not getting my upgrade and my lingering cold, and this guy just couldn't take the hint that I didn't feel like talking, so...I just put my earbuds back in and just ignored him while he was in mid-sentence. I figured that he'd think I was an A-hole and just leave me alone, But...NO!

Fifteen minutes later, when the gin was beginning to work it's magic, I was just sitting back with my eyes closed listening to my music, when I suddenly had this sensation that I was being watched. I opened my eyes, and...I'm not kidding..."Nutball's" face was about six inches away from mine, he was pointing at the iPod Shuffle hanging from my neck, and his voice BOOMED: "What the Hay-ell is that thang?" I just said, "iPod" and continued to ignore him.

Periodically, I'd hear "Nutball" mutter something to himself, grunt, blurt out something to the flight attendant or a random passenger walking to the lavatory, etc. He'd fidget, bump me occasionally (I think it was intentional), but I still managed to sleep for several hours.

At one point, I woke up, and "nature" called. I glanced over at "Nutball" and he appeared to be sleeping (with his blanket completely over his head), so I figured that the coast was clear. After I came out of the lavatory (do NOT go in there!), I looked toward my seat. What did I see? "Nutball" was in the aisle stretching and...doing tai chi moves. He saw me coming back, he climbed into his window seat, he inhaled as if he was going to say something, I put my earbuds back into my ears, turned my back toward him, and ignored him.

I think the only other thing I said to him was "...have a nice time in London" as I was walking off the plane.

Why me? WHY ME?


Anonymous said...

I hate to take enjoyment out of this obviously unfortunate circumstance. I never had an annoying person talk to me on planes, but I have had people who were just so large that they envade my personal space. That's something I hate, but I guess we can't do anything about it!

And for the record, not only was that guy sounding creepy, but he is obviously stupid and couldn't take a hint. ;)

Michael Lehet said...

Don't F with the Gate Agent, they'll always getcha!

I make it a rule to not make eye contact or talk about anyone in the gate area because ivariably they'll be the one that sits next to me.

CanadianSwiss said...

I've had a few of those from time to time and I DON'T want one of them again! Thank goodness I usually travel with Orange.

Unknown said...

ah fun times...I think I remember someone else having some experience like that, maybe kirk?

Anonymous said...

I know how you are when you are sleepy and sicky, so I am getting double the kick out of this!

Dixie said...

I snickered at all this until you said "tai chi moves" and then I just lost it. I would have killed for the visual.

The Big Finn said...

Osky - I don't know what the solution is to the obese passenger problem. Charge them more? Probably not...discrimination. I think the only thing people can do is to complain directly to the person in a polite but firm manner. For example: "Excuse me sir/madam, but unless you are going to offer me something in the way of monetary compensation, I feel it is unfair that you should be allowed to violate my "personal space." If this does not work, then I think it's only fair to page the flight attendant so that you can request another seat. Even when I was much heavier than I am now, I still did not encroach upon my neighbors personal space.