John Walker's Electronic House

Plane Crazy

by on Sep.25, 2005, under The Rest

Thanks to WonderHicks, I am with the electric internet in this primitive country. So it seems only appropriate to tell the story of the mad lady on the plane.

As usual, when checking in I asked for an aisle seat with my right leg sticking out, so I can trip up ugly people. And click my knee. The nice lady at the desk said she’d found me an excellent seat on a bit of the plane where they had only three chairs in the middle row instead of four, meaning the aisles are wider, and hence there’s more room for Mr Clicky. It turns out niceness doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not an idiot, and not only did she put me on the left side, so my right leg was trapped, but she put me in the row of three seats immediately behind the row of four seats in front. Which meant, not only was there absolutely no more leg room, there was in fact even less, because the seats in front stuck out blocking the way. Add to it that it was a seat without any bloody room under the seat in front, because of the large black metal box cruelly in the way, and it was without a doubt the worst possible seat on the plane.

But there was some relief. On a busy plane, after the cabin crew had gone through the plane shutting all the lockers and getting ready to go, the two other seats in the row were left empty. Now, this means one of two things: you’re incredibly lucky, or you are absolutely guaranteed to be sat next to an utter moron. Anyone who cannot get themselves to a plane on time does not deserve to fly. I’m aware sometimes a disaster occurs, and misfortune prevents reaching the airport in time, but that’s incredibly rare. That you’re asked to be at the airport over two hours before the plane is even going to start getting ready to take off, means that being late is invariably because of stupidity. Obviously it was the latter. I’m not entirely sure how the woman sat next to me had managed the mental agility to not have killed herself with a spoon before reaching the over-ripe old age of, at a guess, late 60s. She really was just astonishingly thick. Her English wasn’t good, and so obviously there’s a lot of leniancy offered in many areas, but that left room for enough treacle-thick idiocy to ensure her title as The Stupidest Person I’ve Ever Sat Next To. And I used to sit next to Peter Hitchens when I worked at Talk Radio.

After having to explain to her how the 61 on her ticket did indeed match the 61 on the sign above our seat, and then to explain that she was sitting on her seatbelt, and then explain how to take the lid off her water bottle, and then explain how to attach her seatbelt (IT’S THE EASIEST THING IMAGINABLE. It’s a simpler task than matching up the different shaped blocks to the different shaped holes in the box you have when you’re 2, because with a seatbelt, YOU ONLY HAVE ONE OPTION. What other option is there? To not figure it out is to not have the mental ability to understand that its function is to clasp together, rather than afford you protection by lying open either side of you. How has she not drowned in her own saliva, without someone telling her to swallow every thirteen seconds?), and then explaining how to swallow, she finally settled her vast bulk down into the seat, and settled her razor-pointed elbow into mine. Understand that my arm was inside the armrest, and yet she still insisted on wedging her elbow into me. Eventually I gave up and just pushed back until she got the hint. However, encouraging movement on her part was not ideal – each shift in weight released another puff of the vile perfume she’d apparently been industrially sprayed with that morning.

And yes, we’ve all sat next to selfish idiots before, so why the fuss? Because this woman… she stole my bread! This awful, awful old hag, when I went to the toilet halfway through my lunch, stole the bread from my tray while I was gone. I got back, sat down, and looked at my suspiciously bereft looking dinner, and then across at hers. There was her empty bread packaging, and then there, under the clasp of her claw-like hand, was my un-opened bread! She saw my glance at her thieving talons, and then gripped it more tightly. Her horrid wrinkly glare dared me to suggest that she’d stolen it from me. And how could I? What a ludicrous situation to be in. “Excuse me, can I have my bread back please?” And, to be honest, it was way too funny that she’d sunk this low to want to say anything.

I look back a few seconds later and the bread has vanished, along with her claws. They’re now under her tray, in her lap – a surprisingly awkward arrangement in the cramped conditions of Economy seating. And then, from beneath her hiding place, every now and then would cobitme a clasped pincer sporting a torn lump of bread. She ate it, bit by bit, right there in front of me. The bitch.

Her behaviour was increasingly peculiar throughout the flight. When they came around offering chocolate bars, I said no, and she swang her left arm dangerously fast past my face to ensure that my negative response would affect her chances. Then the flight attendant, a few moments later, turned around and saw me without a chocolate bar. Muddled, he asked if I had wanted one. I said no. She thrust her arm out again. A few minutes later, another attendant came along with some leftover bars. I thought I might lose my nose in her desperation to get one. AREN’T YOU ALREADY FULL UP ON MY BREAD, LADY?

As we prepared to land, she sat there with her bag on her lap. The cabin crew had already managed to convince the similarily, although in a very weird quite way, insane lady filling the third seat in our row to put her CARPET in the overhead locker, rather than cuddle it as she had the bulk of the flight. Evil Bread-Stealing Lady didn’t take the hint. One lady told her to move it. She put it on the floor. Another lady asked her to put it under the seat. She pushed it, and then pulled it back out once the lady was gone. A third guy insisted that she put it underneath. Like a child stroppily half-doing something, she uselessly nudged it a bit, and he said, “Sorry, but it’s got to go right under.” She replied, “It IS under!” He said, “I think you can do better than that,” to which she responded by LASHING OUT TO HIT HIM! He dodged, she tried to cover this astonishing move my tapping his hand rested on the seat in front and fake laughing. He glared at her and said, “I am trying to save your life, not inconvience you. Put it under the seat.” She, sulking, finally did so.

So of course, during the descent, she pulled it all back out, and madly during the landing began transfering things from one bag to another. Including FOUR of those chocolate bars, the sandwich she had wildly insisted on having when she’d noticed she’d slept through their dishing out, and various other things from the flight, including HALF OF MY BREAD! She then, amazingly, tried to take the quiet-crazy lady’s chocolate bar from her seat pocket, brazenly in front of her gaze, which Carpet Lady quickly grabbed and held onto.

This story has a happy ending. As I left customs, my bags collected, I looked across the room and saw the mean old witch looking utterly furious, as a rubber-gloved customs officer was going through the contents of her huge luggage, item by item, spreading the contents widely across a table. Glorious justice.

7 Comments for this entry

  • Minist Drill-cock!

    The Minister, a determined capitalist, would have encouraged trade. She would have had my bread. I would have had her eyeball impaled on the end of my monstrous metal phallus.

    This is only fair.

    Minister Drill-cock!

  • Wilko

    A funny story, but plane crazy is simply unforgivable.

    Shame on you.

  • MHW

    This more than makes up for the return of the rabbits.

  • pharoahe_monch

    john, you really have a way with funny stories! liked it immensely.

  • Tim E

    I love crazy people on planes. My favourite are the Americans in very white trainers and flight socks, who, after exchanging pleasantries, will turn to you with a wide smile and ask “have you read the bible recently?”


  • bodnotbod

    That was great.

    That’s about my favourite post on anything ever.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke.

    I have sent you lots of pictures of Janneane Garafolo (or however you spell it) in return.

  • Jonh

    This drives me fucking mad. Actually a lot of things about flying do. Why do BA have the TV controls ON TOP of the fucking armrest on some aircraft so that your neighbour (innadvertantly) change your channel/volume.

    Why do people insist on unbuckling themselves and standing up at the end of a long haul flight before the doors are open? You’ve sat there for 17 hours, you are going to have wait for your baggage, how fucking desperate for a fag are you?

    Presumably when people sit at home they do not have the headrest in front to lever themselves up with so why the fuck do they do it on aircraft?

    Being stuck with a large person is an annoyance as well.

    I could go on for hours. But I’ll leave it at that.

    I don’t really like flying. Thats not true now actually I dont mind it but I feel really gulity about it.

    Hey ho.