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Of All the Gin Joints…

Of All the Gin Joints…

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

– Famous line from the film, “Casablanca”

Call for stories about ANNOYING PEOPLE ON PLANES  

What does Casablanca have to do with annoying people on planes? I’ll tell you what!

Picture this: you’re on an evening flight to a tropical paradise for a much-anticipated vacation. The plane has just taken off. You lean your head back and let out a sigh of relief that you’re even on the plane because you’ve just endured six dizzying weeks of vertigo. Both your doctor and physiotherapist have given you the green light to go on your holiday…just as long as you take it easy, stay quiet and for goodness sake: no sudden head movements!

Ahh…but the woman in the seat behind you has different plans.

Even before take-off, she begins to talk. And when I say talk, I mean TALK…about anything, to anyone in her vicinity. And when those people stop listening, she stands in the aisle and chats to whoever has made the dumb decision to stretch their legs. But of course, when she goes to stand up (for the fifth time), she puts her hand on your headrest, hauls herself up with a mighty heave-ho then releases your chair, thereby delivering a nice foreword snap to your head…just in case you had somehow managed to doze off during the non-stop talk-fest.

Surely, you think, this dreadfully annoying 70-year-old woman will tire out eventually…right? I mean, she can’t talk for entire flight…right?

Oh, you bet she can. And she did. Here are a few gems from her repertoire (which I happen to remember because they were repeated multiple times):

“I can’t sleep! I am not tired AT ALL!”

“This is the longest flight EVER.”

“It’s funny but I’m just NOT TIRED.”

Seven hours later, Chatty Cathy was still talking. She did not stop talking for the entire flippin’ flight…oh, except for the occasional three-second interval when she paused just long enough to give the back of my traveling companion’s chair a nice big KICK that again projected her head forward at vertigo-inducing speed.

Was she crossing her legs? Practicing a karate move? Doing chair yoga?

Toddlers behave better than this on airplanes (but only if they have decent parents who tell them not to kick the chair in front of them, etc). Well…most of the time. There was the flight home, after all. More on that in a moment.

Thankfully (despite the odds), my traveling companion’s vertigo did not flare up again. And after a few days, we were even able to laugh about the annoying woman on the plane…knowing we would likely never see her again.

Then we went for lunch at Tommy Bahamas. And I kid you not but in walks none other than Chatty Cathy (and her entourage of listeners) and sits at the table next to us. I saw her before my friend did and when she saw Chatty Cathy, the look on her face was priceless. She shook her head and said, “Of all the gin joints…”

To which I roared with laughter.

“Sweet biscuits,” she said with a sigh, “what are the chances?”

I roared even louder. Chatty Cathy and her friends promptly stood up (who wants to sit beside noisy people?) and moved to the bar…a wise decision for all concerned (except for the poor bartender who had no idea what the next seven hours had in store for him).

As for our flight home? Yup…there was a toddler who screamed the entire flight. Not sure what was going on there but this much I do know: if a child is in distress or discomfort (or is just a brat) that’s one thing. When a 70-year-old woman behaves like a brat, that is quite another.

Do you have any stories about annoying people on planes? If so, I’d love to hear them, including how you handled the situation!

In the meantime, here’s lookin’ at you kid ?

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

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10 thoughts on “Of All the Gin Joints…”

  1. This comment just came in via Twitter:

    “My flight to Amsterdam on Sat. was 9hrs of screaming babies. Toddler behind me kicking my seat and one in front jumping around. Another flight, a lady behind me kept poking her tv screen (and me in the process) over and over while complaining to her husband because it wasn’t working.”

  2. Another great comment just came in via e-mail:

    Last time I flew home from Saskatoon (And this was only 1.5 hours), this woman sat next to me and TALKED THE WHOLE way to some other man (whom she didn’t know!) about every TRIVIAL detail of her
    life: “So when I took my son to his first soccer game, OMG! I brought chocolate bars. And all the other soccer moms brought ORANGE SLICES. Hee Hee Hee. I was SOOOOO embarrassed. Did I tell you HOW I met my husband? Oh you’re gonna love this story. We met when I was super drunk at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party in Regina… It was HILARIOUS…” And on and on – she even discussed her recent BLADDER SURGERY – with a complete stranger!

    After an hour, I wanted to stuff her head into the barf bag.

    I’ve had a few bad trips on planes to the point I HATE flying.

    On a trip home from Disneyland, when my kids were all under the age of 10, Air Canada screwed up and stuck me SEPARATE from all the kids (yes 6 feet tall me and all legs) in the LAST row, (i.e. no leg room) in between 2 morbidly obese people on either side of me. One of whom had a paper mask on and COUGHED THE WHOLE WAY HOME FROM L.A. And these 2 were married, so they talked ACROSS me the
    whole 4 hours, spreading the germs and happily hacking away. (I asked if they wanted to switch seats with me so they could talk but NO, they didn’t!) Meanwhile my legs were cramping from the too close seat in front of me. THEN the ass in front of me reclines his seat as far back as it could go. SO not only did I have the fat guy next
    to me spilling out onto my seat, I had no leg room and Super Recliner in front. DREADFUL.

    I thought I was gonna die. Literally. 2 Days later I came down with a nasty flu that took about a month to recover from. Gee wonder if Mask Lady gave me that?

  3. Ha ha, Maryanne. Too funny and I’m sure most people can relate. I’ve definitely had my share of talkers. I take along earplugs for those occasions. On my last flight out west for a vacation the guy behind me coughed my direction the whole time. I was sitting in a row with a missing chair on my right, so all his hacking coughs came right on me. He didn’t get water. He didn’t try cough drops. He made no effort to stop. He didn’t even cover his mouth. Just showered me in germs the entire 1.5 hour trip. Two days after I arrived, I had a nice case of bronchitis with which to spend my vacation! Wonder if I could find a gas mask for the next flight? :O)

  4. Ack! Oh, that is TERRIBLE!! It is just shocking how people can be so inconsiderate. I am sick & tired of getting sick from people on planes, too 🙁

    Here’s to more enjoyable – and healthy – flights in the future!

  5. Perhaps the solution is to only fly when absolutely unavoidable. Modern planes aren’t really psychologically (or physically) healthy places.

    And sometimes being polite only encourages undesirable behaviours. But then you wouldn’t have all this fun material to write about. 🙂

  6. This sounds absolutely horrendous, and I know exactly what you mean about her invading ‘your’ headrest! Grrrr, that would’ve really annoyed me.

    The problem for me is that with each passing year my tolerance for inconsiderate people just gets lower and lower, to the point that even if I just so much as hear somebody breathe I feel like smothering them with their free pillow. I realise that sometimes I’m maybe just being a little bit too sensitive, but there’s no doubt that there are times when people’s behaviour is just plain unacceptable, and age is no defence.

    And if there are two things I always recommend taking with you whenever you travel…(1) ear plugs, and (2) headphones…just in case the ear plugs fail and you need additional sound to block out those irritating people.

    Elliot 🙂

  7. Ahahahahahaha…no kidding! I love your line, “Being polite only encourages undesirable behaviours.” Oh…that is GOOD, Big C!

    Thanks for reading!

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