Home > Don't make me hurt you, only slightly ranty > Strange Passengers and a Man Named Fred

Strange Passengers and a Man Named Fred


The other day, I was seated next to a man who seemed nice enough. But then he opened his mouth and erased such silly notions from my head. It was bad enough that there was a child across the aisle who screeched the entire flight (it was SHORT thank god), but then there was this guy. We’ll call him Fred.

First, we made small talk. Or he did. I was polite and relatively engaged. I didn’t want to be rude, but I was clutching my book for all it was worth. I need to read when I fly. It distracts me from the fact that I’m on a plane.

He asked me if I was anywhere else before Canada — and I told him no. That I was visiting a friend. It seemed banal. But it was a gateway question, which allowed him to launch into his tale of woe. You see, Fred was in SPAIN. Then he took about fifty thousand flights to attempt to get home. Pesky hurricane! Fred spends a good 15 minutes filling me in on all his travel horrors, which included a distinct lack of deodorant. (He might not have said that. I might’ve been able to figure that out on my own.)

When the flight attendant asked a man to sit in the back of the plane to “balance out the heavy nose,” I tried not to blanch. That does not inspire confidence. I don’t want to know things like that. But you can’t unknow such things, so I attempted to read — when Fred butted in.

You see, whenever Fred flies HIS plane (you know, the one he owns), he has to check the passenger’s weight. He then conspiratorially tells me how ALL women lie about their weight, and things of equal intelligence. I don’t know what my face must’ve looked like, but he quickly apologized. He then tried to compliment me, stating that surely I would never lie about my weight, since I clearly don’t have to. (COMPLIMENT FAIL, sir.)

It felt about as sincere as I sound when I’ve had the last of the coffee. That is, I’m not sorry at all. *Coffee Vampire*

From that point on, I read my book. I attempted to ignore the wailing child whose mother simply ignored him. Someone needed to tell that kid no. She did not. I will never understand that lack of parenting.

I don’t understand Fred at all. I’m not impressed that he owns a plane. Or has a blackberry. Or that he flies to Spain every month for business. I am most impressed by his flair for chauvinism — and not impressed in a good way. If he was a woman, bragging about her plane, and bashing men who lie about something stereotypical — I would find it equally annoying. The fact that he casually criticized the entire female gender, before realizing his mistake, signals that he probably says worse things and more often. If he was that unguarded with a stranger, I wonder what else he’s like.

Next time, I’m wearing my ipod.

  1. September 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I’ve read this blog and clearly grasped the point. So…do you lie about your weight? (ducks). HA ok, ok, yes, he’s socially impaired at talking to women. Hopefully he’ll learn something the next time he gets to sit next to a charming seatmate, but he sadly sounds like a lost cause.

  2. September 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    In those instances, I’m tempted to make up a language and have trouble speaking English. Trying to speak another real language might fail, if “Fred” also spoke French/Spanish/Farsi. Of course, the book in my hand would give me away, but now that I’ve got a Kindle, I could possibly hide the screen.

    Seriously, when cornered by Freds, I do that thing where you smile with your mouth, look interrupted and say, “Um-mm,” until they stop talking.

    I don’t know what to do with bad parents, except turn up the iPod.

  3. Jessica
    September 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    It drives me nuts when I’ve got my book open on my lap while traveling, and the person next to me insists on attempting to engage me in conversation – I never offer more than a polite nod or chuckle, or a one word answer if necessary, but some people are damn persistent.

    I will say that the parenting-via-ignoring tactic annoys the crap out of me too. Working in a theatre where a kids show plays, I see that all the time, and sometimes I want to walk right up to the parent and tell them that they need to find a way to control their child, or they need to leave because NO ONE wants to deal with that.

    And yes, I am aware that this is my own ignorant, non-child-bearing opinion. Haha.

  4. September 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

    And iPod, a soundproof force field and a tazer.

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