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Airline Musings: Personas

Posted in Points of Interest, Where We Work on October 26th, 2009 by Mark VanderKlipp – Be the first to comment

Just off an early AM flight from Traverse City to MSP, and I had a marvelous time. Not.

Generally when I fly, I try to be as innocuous as possible: greet the flight attendant, make myself as small as I can in the seat (at 6’3″ it’s not that easy), bring a book to read, and quietly mind my own business. On this morning’s flight, I decided that I should try to grab a little more sleep. Before we pushed back, I was well on my way.

However, there were a few factors that impeded my ability to stay within myself. I catalogued them in my head as I flew and would like to share them with you:

The Paper Snapper: in 4B right next to me, this gent decides that at 6:30am it’s critical to read the entire USA Today. With the rest of the cabin dark, he’s the lone news hound, delving into the intricacies of Brett Favre’s failures against the Steelers defense. Smaller than me, this guy was also a Leg Stretcher and an Armrest Hog.

The Coffee Crab: in 3A, a woman asked for a cup of coffee. Given the cold temps in TC, they drain the water from the planes on the overnight stay to prevent freezing; no water, no coffee. Makes sense to me, but not to Miss C.C. She railed on the poor flight attendant, who herself was up at some ungodly hour; this led to a wide ranging, insightful analysis of airline ticket prices, malfunctioning reading lights and the space available for her posterior in the chair (as if we weren’t all feeling her pain). Incidentally, this crimson-tressed charmer was also a Line Cutter at the gate.

The Seat Kicker: Yep, 5A was occupied by a small girl who was actively engaged in trying to keep her little brother amused. While her heart was in the right place, her feet were not. Try as she might, her little brother failed to find the humor in her antics after the first four seconds. Thereafter she decided that more, rather than less, was more.

The Threatener: 5B and 5C contained Mom and Dad who, having probably drank a little too much last night, were feeling cantankerous, to say the least. With a precocious young daughter and a son too young to listen to reason, they were at the end of their rope before the door even closed. Dad had to bring the bags back off the plane (it was raining this morning) having attempted to become a Bin Stuffer, to no avail. Young Junior Miss had to use the facilities as the plane was descending, a rather dangerous time to negotiate the aisle. Mom and Dad insisted that she pickle it, using various threats such as “You Better Hold It” and “Ain’t No Way You Gonna Pee In Yer Pants.” Entertaining as it was, I felt for the little girl. Seat kicker or no, I imagined her home life to be somewhat like Matilda. Incidentally, The Threatener had no qualms about relieving himself of his continual need for nicotine: he was also the In-Flight Dipper, tobacco cup and all. Neat!

Mom was no paragon of patience either, y’all. The Accuser and The Threatener had a delightful exchange as people were filing out of the plane in an orderly fashion: attempting to stand, her husband noted flatly that she was taking up too much space, and he was finding it difficult “kin you gitcherstuff outta my way?” whereupon The Accuser called him, yes, “Crybaby” and told him to deal with it.

Finally, that most welcome of all stealth passengers, Mexican Food Guy. When you’re sitting on a plane, freshly showered and ready for an exciting day of work-related travel, the last thing you want is someone in the vicinity yawning last night’s burrito breath all over you. Who knows? It might have been the Paper Snapper himself. Regardless, it rounded out the short flight and made for an olfactory as well as aural treat.

Seldom will I honestly think to myself “I can’t wait to get into that terminal.” But on this particular gray day in Minneapolis, Gate C23 was a sight for sore eyes.

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