People. People, people, people. I just endured a horrifically awkward ninety minutes on an airplane, and admittedly it was really my own fault. I was live blogging my flight from Los Angeles to New York, and as I am wont to do, I fixated on random minutia in the cabin, particularly that which emanated from the woman next to me, who I had named Ginny. Well, after she nearly spilled a glass of water on me, I kind of went on a blogging rampage, mercilessly making fun of every small thing she did Ã¢â‚¬â€ which probbbbbbably (read: most definitely) wasn’t tremendously fair to her, but in my own meager defense, I can say that when I start writing these things, I’m not even writing about the person anymore. It’s like I’ve created a character and am just running with it. Anyway, that explanation doesn’t fly when the person you’ve been quietly mocking for about an hour happens to check out your laptop, read your remarks, and then call you out on it.
And that’s just what Ginny did. The whole awful saga after the jump…
Anyway, I was on the plane, making fun of Ginny on the Internet, and being the moron that I was, I didn’t really shield my laptop from view. I may have called her an idiot in jest several times, but who was the real idiot here? This moi. Well, just when I was having the most delightful time with my flight blog, Ginny turns to me and says, “By the way, this blazer is not candy cane.”
About a million different things ran through my mind at that moment, but the dominant thought I had was “Shit.”
I must admit that the next few seconds were kind of a blur. I don’t think I said anything, but I know that Ginny certainly grumbled in QUITE the annoyed (deservedly) tone, saying at one point, “What is with your generation anyway?” Apologies in advance to my generation for representing them so poorly. But seriously, what IS with us?
I think somewhere in there I did the only thing I knew to do: “I’m really sorry,” I said, and I really was, but I’m fairly confident the apology didn’t quite play well. In fact, I know it didn’t play well because she then called me a pig (!!) and announced she was getting up, but not to do some stress-relieving yoga (a reference to once of my online comments).
Ginny then stormed off, and I was left to sit in my own overwhelming, debilitating GUILT. Part of me wondered if she was asking to switch seats, and part of me wondered if she was going to complain to someone. I just sat there and tried to make sense of it all. How could I calm her down? I know! I could give her a suuuuper sincere apology. I’m really good at that, and when I apologize, it IS sincere. And my guilt was real. As fun as it is to do the flight blogs, no one deserves to feel like they’ve been relentlessly mocked when all they’re doing is dosing off and casually watching Bolt. Needless to say, I felt terrible.
Well, Ginny finally came back, and I said, “I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. You don’t have to accept the apology, but I want you know that I’m very, very sorry.” I probably shouldn’t have said anything at all. And I probably shouldn’t have tried to semi-sell her on the blog, saying that it really was all in fun and really, it wasn’t HER but like a character and–
That’s about as far as I got before she and I both realized what an idiot I sounded like (see Ginny? I’M AN IDIOT TOO!!! Not really. I just sounded like one. Jackass – yes). Well, I pretty much shut up, and Ginny raised her voice and got all angry at me, telling me to grow up and go back to junior high (conflicting messages, but I understood her point). At that point, I just wanted this not to spiral out of control into a scene. I shut up. She settled down (with a few quiet mutterings of “geez”), and then I sat there in fear that a flight attendant might come up to Ginny and ask her what the problem was. I could already see it now: BANNED FROM AMERICAN AIRLINES! This was turning into a disaster. Me = shitting bricks.
I promptly shut my laptop as a sign of good faith that I wouldn’t be writing any more about her (she told me to stop writing about her and anyone else for that matter. “I will,” I said). With the laptop closed, I shut my eyes and pretended to nap. See? I’m just a benign guy napping on the plane. No need to be angry with me!!!!
I did open the laptop a few times to check email, but I didn’t go NEAR my website nor my blogging software. I also lingered a little on some wholesome Food Network recipes, if only to repair my image ever so slightly Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â I like to cook! I’m not thaaat bad!
But for the most part, I then spent the next hour, hour and a half pretty much paralyzed with awkwardness. How terrible. This woman next to me despised me, and honestly, she had every reason too. I’m not really gonna say she was wrong. And like I said in the blog, she actually seemed to be very nice. Poor Ginny. (For the record though, her blazer WAS candy cane. I never said that was a bad thing though. Grrrrowl!)
Anyway, as we approached JFK, Ginny got up to go to the bathroom, and I could breathe easy for about two minutes. I took that moment to grab my (non candy cane) blazer from the overhead compartment and put it on. I got back in my seatbelt and returned to my previously scheduled program of wishing I was off that plane RIGHT THAT INSTANT. Well, Ginny sat back down in her seat, went to buckle her seatbelt, and uh oh. Problem. When I had sat back down, I had accidentally buckled part of her her seatbelt into mine. GREAT. I hate being that person. And of all the people to do it to. GINNY.
I unbuckled the seatbelt and handed her half back, sheepishly saying “Sorry,” (which was met only with a cold sigh Ã¢â‚¬â€ gotta respect that. I LOVE the cold sigh). This was just getting worse.
Eventually, we landed, and usually, I’m on my feet, chomping at the bit to get the hell off the plane. This time I stayed planted in my seat, hoping that when the line started moving, Ginny would go out first, and I’d never have to see her again. But then I got scared. Remember my bag that I had to check? This meant I’d have to linger at baggage claim when all I wanted to do is crawl into a car and be gone. What if Ginny was at baggage claim? What if she had a burly husband? What if she confronted me again? And what if she did it in front of my parents? Oh that would be entirely too awkward. Plus, my parents would totally lecture me about not doing stupid things on airplanes. This was all going sour so quickly.
However, I checked my voicemail, and thank God, it was my mom saying she’d be about thirty minutes late. Minor crisis averted. But in the meantime, I still had another concern. Ginny was now standing in the aisle chatting to the flight attendants. They had asked her how everything was, and I was just waiting for her to point to me and accuse me of being a nosy, obnoxious, and awful passenger (points well taken). I was totally gonna get banned! Please Ginny, spare me! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!!!
But here’s one thing about Ginny: she was a class act. She praised the flight attendants for being great (which they were), and part of me wondered if she was quietly schooling me in the ways of being polite, friendly, and mature. Probably. I, of course, pretended like I was dosing off so I wouldn’t have to have eye contact (I’m a spineless coward, eh?).
Well, the line began to move, and Ginny headed on out. I waited until we had about a three person separation, and then I got up. I quietly stalked off the plane, and upon arriving at the gate, I immediately went to the bathroom and then loitered around just a tad Ã¢â‚¬â€Ã‚Â the better to avoid a luggage carousel interaction. At that point, my dad called to say he was at the baggage claim, and my anxiety resurfaced: would there be a dreaded Ginny moment in front of my dad? Based on her rolling carry-on luggage, I doubted she had any checked bags. But you never know…
Fear not. By the time I reached my Dad, Ginny was long gone. Disaster was averted. At last I could breathe a sigh of relief, and all seemed right with the world again. Oh, and as for my bag? Not at the front of the luggage pile. I suppose I deserved that.