Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thank you for not talking

There are two kinds of people in this world; those who talk on airplanes, and those who don't.

I've been on several flights lately; mostly for work, and this weekend I left on Saturday evening to go visit my friend MD for her bridal shower in Houston. Lucky for me, I had spent the day with my jubilant family, fresh off UT's win over OU, and got on a plane with all burnt orange wearing fans, newly sunburned and chatting incessantly about the game.

I'm so happy for you- congratulations. Can I get back to my book now?

I was in the B boarding group, which in the land of Southwest Airlines, means I was doomed to a middle seat. "Not a big deal- it's an hour long flight," I thought to myself. It took about five minutes after take-off for the two men on either side of me to order vodka-cranberries (also called a Cape Cod, dudes) and start talking.

Not wanting to encourage anything, I didn't talk to either of them and tried to bury myself in my copy of The Emperor's Children in order to block them out. Instead, they carried on a conversation about calculus, of all compelling topics, and blatantly disregarded the fact that the girl in the middle of them might enjoy her book a little more if there wasn't barking in her ear and people crowding her out of her armrest space. Just a thought.

I was on another flight, later in the evening after a long weekend, and the guys next to me that were close to my age made polite conversation with me while we were waiting to take off. Not a big deal. The annoyance came later when I was listening to my iPod and resting my eyes, and they started talking to me yet again. Seriously? My eyes were closed, I was listening to music and you interrupted my peaceful solitude to have meaningless small talk on an airplane?

I don't consider myself a recluse, by any means, and I've talked to people on airplanes before when I didn't feel like they were totally invading my personal space and I found them to be interesting. If you're going to chat me up on an airplane then you had better have some kind of fascinating life story to share. I never push for it though- and I like it when people pick up on the social cues indicating that the person next to them would rather just sit there in peace. My worst nightmare would probably be getting stuck for hours on a transatlantic flight next to some invasive 20-questions asker who brought nothing to do.

Silence is golden, people.

"Silence is argument carried on by other means."
-Ernesto Guevara

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