Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I were an extremely rude person devoid of manners but at the same time full of my own importance. I’ve a feeling that it might be sensational.
Your rudeness would take people by surprise and as a result you would usually get whatever it was you wanted, even if you looked like an arsehole getting it. But you wouldn’t care about that, you’re too self-unaware. How liberating to not give two hoots?
The reason I’m thinking about this is that I'm thinking about a woman that I sat next to on an airplane recently. She is an air steward’s nightmare; the high maintenance passenger. My family are sat behind me in a row of three and I am cast adrift one row in front beside Princess, who I immediately assume is clearly unused to having to share anything, which is why she blanks me when I say "Excuse me!" three times in an attempt to squeeze past her into my window seat. (Woohoo! Window seat! Dancer!)
Our twenty something anti-heroine is on the phone chatting loudly. She is describing her situation at this exact moment to her call recipient, as people tend to do on mobile phones, and I’m half expecting her to say, “Yes, I am on the plane, it is dark outside so I don’t care I’ve not got the window seat and there is a woman hovering two inches above me making squeaking noises but she might go away if don’t look at her.”
She chats away and ignores all three polite requests from me to move her ass. For my fourth attempt, I say, “Hi, hello, that’s my seat over there, I need to get into it. Could you move over , please”. Reluctantly, she raises her gaze slowly towards me and, still continuing her conversation, moves her knees to the side. Now anyone who’s been on a BA flight to Aberdeen from London knows that there is not enough space between one’s knees and any other surface present to allow a person to skip past. I look at her knees and then back at her face with a silent ”You are kidding me, Precious, aren’t you?” thought bubble just above my hair.
Wonder of wonders, the still chatting woman huffs a bit and actually gets up into the aisle, and I am able to get to my seat. For the first time in my personal history I am hoping for another person to occupy the empty seat next to me so that I do not have to be the person in closest proximity to the Princess. But this doesn’t happen. The flight is only 1 hour 15 minutes but once someone bugs you, they bug you and nothing is going to change that. A steward comes over and asks her to switch off her phone. She does not acknowledge his presence in any way, but after he has gone, she ends her call. I note from this action that she is aware of an existence outwith herself and therefore can be held fully accountable for being a pain in the ass. Her condition is not a medical one.
The plane takes off and she boredly and noisily flicks through, without reading or even glancing at every single page of the inflight magazine. I have to put my Walkman on to muffle the noise of the pages being palm-slapped and then whooshed over in dramatic fashion.
The drinks cart arrives. “Two cans of Coke” are ordered by Princess without so much as a please or thank you. I ask for a Hemlock and Cranberry with a twist but they only have Gin and Tonic which’ll have to do.
Meeester catches my eye in a ”what the blazes is she like?” type eyebrow manoeuvre. He is living it large with Indy and Junior Misssy behind me, who are not as annoying as Princess despite being up a bit late and having had a whole host of E numbers by way of a sweetie or two at Heathrow.
Dinner arrives. Princess unwraps her food and immediately wolfs her bread roll. As the steward moves off, she calls him back. “I need more bread” she says.
Our steward says that he’ll have to see how many meals are left with an internal additional monologue of “because this isn’t a fucking restaurant, girly, and I’m still serving other people if you hadn’t noticed” apparent in his trained forced smile.
The steward then does the same eyebrow manoeuvre to me that Meeester has done previously, and, just like that, we’ve connected in our distaste for Princess. I know he’s going to save me first if there’s a crash situation. I’m sorted. I smile knowingly to myself as if I’m one of the passengers that makes it to the island from Flight 815 in Lost.
Ten minutes later the returns with a flourish and a genius display of barely restrained passive aggression. Princess is presented with a second bread roll.
“Here’s your extra bread madam. Now, have you got everything that you want?”
“You sure you’ve got everything?"
"You like two of everything, don’t you madam?”
“Ha, yes”, she says, “Hmmm. Yes, he, he”in a Yes, I'm a Scream Aren't I? type of a way.
Self awareness function-engage!
“Just so you know, I don’t think I can manage a second plane for you, madam.”
The steward winks to me out of sight of Princess.
Yeah, he’s definitely going to save me over her.
You’re toast, Princess.
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