“Excuse me, could I just squeeze in beside you?”
Ahh, I love that feeling when you find your seat and plonk yourself down as the sickly feeling from a 3am start begins to subside. I use my periphery to examine my fellow travellers and as tempted as I am to start up a conversation, I hold my tongue so that I can comfortably enjoy 2hrs of peace.
I assume, from the amount of times I have stirred due to my head falling to one side, that as I rouse this time we cannot be far from landing. Only this time my reason for being rudely awakened is due to the two ladies talking over me. I remain slumped, eyes closed in hope to convince them I’m still asleep. Is it considered rude to eavesdrop on a conversation that literally spills into one ear and out the other?
It doesn’t take me long to grasp the conversation. The lady to my left had a little trouble at security which resulted in her beloved Chanel perfume to end up in the bin, along with her loud lipstick which still currently stained her mouth. The kind of lipstick I used to find painted on the rim of a glass back when I used to wash dishes for a living. I cringe at the thought of it.
The lady to my right sympathises and agrees that the problem must lie with the security man – how dare he do his job toward the ignorant that do not see the huge signs displayed in the terminal.
Somehow this sparks a related story from my right but I sense a lack of care from my left as I hear the usual forced replies of “oh really” and “mmm”. Instead she reacts to the only word that interests her; Malaysia. For the next 5 minutes they fight it out as they compare how many countries they have been to and how much the other one would enjoy it as long you don’t mind roughing it a little.
“I know, I went there a few years back” Meow. Hiss.
This isn’t a friendly conversation to exchange common experiences and love for a place, this is a contest. I see big green ticks appear on my closed eyelids as countries are mentioned every minute. People are weird, they would say, because that’s not how we would do it at home.
Feeling the sickly feeling re-emerge I glance out of the window. This causes a break in their flow as they both follow the gaze of my eyes upon a stunning blue lake surrounded by lush mountains. I wish I had time to soak in the view but in an instant an IPhone fills the window space. I watch in horror as the phone is passed across me; have a look at the beautiful sight just down there, but on this phone instead.
“Tut, I can’t tag it as the internet doesn’t work up here!” She says as tears well up at the thought of not being able to share every waking minute with the world.
The plane touches base, I sigh with relief. As we wander down the alley, lady to my left shoots one last scowl toward the flight hostess (everyone plays a part in the perfume blame) but she continues to wish her a good day, regardless.
As I resist the urge to push her down the stairs I can’t help but question how far removed we are becoming from the real world? When the luxury of travel becomes little more than a right to boast and our possessions cause people to be rude to one another and ignore what is staring us right in the face.