I hope the rest of your trip will be good without any crazy passengers…
– Famous last words from my wife
I’m in the air flying halfway between Doha, Qatar, and Sydney, Australia. With the preceding connecting flights from Izmir to Istanbul to Doha I will have been in the air for a total of 23 odd hours.
Some would find this quite arduous.
For me, it’s a freeing feeling because I have no responsibilities. And that can one of two ways.
Before I tell you about those, we need to get to the guy sitting in the seat next to me who was touching himself up…
Kill ‘Em With Kindness
It actually started back in the waiting lounge at Doha airport. There were a group of kids ranging from ages 4-7 screaming with absolutely no response from the two mothers.
God help the poor passengers who will sit in close proximity to that nightmare, I thought.
In a cruel twist of fate… you guessed it… after boarding the plane and approaching my seat number… the whole group of two families were sitting directly across the aisle from me.
Was this really happening?
For the next 13 hours would I be stuck in this scene?
It would be an exercise in mindfulness.
As it turned out, about 30 minutes after takeoff one of the short mothers needed help opening the overhead compartment. I obliged, happy to help someone I might end up resenting by the end of the trip.
They obviously had never heard of flying with young children 101.
The Pleasures Of International Flight
And now we get to the guy sitting in the seat next to me touching himself over his clothes.
Yeah. He was touching himself.
Not in a “damn, I’ve got an itch to scratch” kind of way. But an “ooh, that woman in the film I’m watching looks good and… so does that short mother across the aisle” kind of way.
But it takes a while to confirm something like this is actually happening.
With his meal-tray down over his lap it was a very subtle movement. I only noticed or suspected because his elbows were sprayed over the armrest between us, nudging me.
I thought, No, surely not…
I made a point of turning my head directly toward him. He stopped and feigned fixing the position of his cup.
Moments later, he abruptly stood up, knocking over the cup and a little food container, and off to the bathroom he went.
Right, hopefully he’s gonna get it out of his system, I thought.
But after he came and sat back down it took about 10 minutes before he started up again. This time it was a tad more enthusiastic…
So, I just asked him straight up:
“Are you alright, mate?”
He nodded and mumbled a “Yes” keeping his hand under the food tray.
“It’s just that you’re touching yourself quite a lot and it’s making me feel very uncomfortable.”
Immediately, he brought his hands up and crossed his arms.
Fuck this, I thought.
Ask And You Shall Receive
I took my food tray to the back of the plane and asked one of the male flight attendants if I could change seats — despite the plane being almost full.
Once I told him the situation he not only found somewhere else for me to sit within three minutes, he was also profusely apologetic.
I killed two birds with one stone:
Didn’t have to sit next to a guy pleasuring himself AND inadvertently escaped the clutches of the unchastised children.
Welcome To Freedom-Town, Population: You
And this brings us back to the freedom of time on a long international flight. It can go one of two ways (presuming I have implemented any necessary escape plans, as described above):
- I watch film after film – foregoing sleep – trying to squeeze as many in as I can before descending into Sydney; or,
- I’m more productive.
In the past, more often than not, I’ve taken the first route. This time, however, I at least feel like I’m being productive.
My flight-time consists of:
- Reading books from my Kobo;
- Writing (in cursive) in my notebook;
- Nodding off to sleep; and, in between,
- Sipping on a few glasses of red wine.
Not to shabby, I must say!