Behavior Unbecoming

Image courtesy of Pixabay

I did not want to taint my retreat story with this observation so I decided to wait until tonight to post it.

When I flew home Sunday, I was the first in my row to board the plane. Unfortunately I had a center seat which is never my favorite. I was just getting settled when a young woman turned into the row and said “I am sitting here and you need to move, you are overflowing into my seat.”

Coming from a very relaxed and zen state of mind, this threw me off. It seems the corner of my unzipped jacket was touching her seat as I put my overnight case under the seat in front of me. I moved my jacket as she slammed down the armrest perhaps to serve as a barrier.

Within a few minutes, a woman somewhat older than I stopped and indicated she was seated in the window seat. We stood to let her take her seat. She was similarly brusk.

The flight was completely booked so space in the overhead compartment was limited. Two people tried to rearrange the small backpacks these women had in the overhead bin to which both these women became very irate about not touching their bags. Voices were raised, the young woman telling people to shut up and the older woman also raising her voice to anyone who touched her bag.

I will not go into the detail of the verbal exchange, but the behavior was uncalled for on both their accounts. I donned my noise cancelling headphones and watched Netflix for the duration of the flight as the passengers around us rolled their eyes in disbelief.

I find this type of behavior unnerving. After returning from a retreat where women dig deep to get to know each other and go out of their way to help each other, seeing two women behave in such a way was certainly disconcerting.

Why must people be so rude? What is the cause of the chip they wear on their shoulder. I think they could use a retreat, but I do not think either could lower their defenses long enough to make any progress.

All I kept thinking is that the young woman on my left would most likely grow into the older woman on my right. What a miserable way to go through life.


23 thoughts on “Behavior Unbecoming”

  1. Wow, I can’t believe you had two of the same kind of person on either side of you!! The flying process has become so much longer and harder, why do people then need to disrupt others in such a confined space. Glad you had noise cancelling headphones! I’m headed to the store having learned from your experience!! So sad after your wonderful retreat. Hope you’re back to “zen” at home!! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, it is always rather peaceful at home. The rhythm of our life moves at a balanced pace and we have learned not to sweat the small stuff.


    1. You might be right, but I tend to be the eternal optimist. I hope this young woman discovers the importance of moving through this life along with others. We are not here alone.

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    1. I sometimes wonder, too, Marge. I always try to remember I have no idea of the struggles they may face. If only they realized there is a better way.


  2. Now I rarely fly anywhere, I don’t miss it at all. Parents allowing children to kick the seats for hours, or ignoring their screams and wails. Some passengers who have clearly had too much booze while waiting to board, and others who use the aircraft toilets as if they are squatting in a ditch.
    I once took an expensive scheduled flight from London to Beijing. The plane was half-empty, and the flying experience was completely different, almost serene.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pete, when I lived in Alaska, our red eye flights were often only occupied to half their capacity or less. It is a much nicer way to travel. Unfortunately, the airlines have moved to a model of charging for every convenience. A window seat, or an aisle seat, or more legroom, or boarding first, or drinks and snacks or the ability to bring on a carryon are often premium items for which we must pay. Even checked bags must be paid for separately. We have created modern day steerage, I’m afraid. Long gone are the days of pillows and blankets and magazines with complimentary meals.

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  3. What an unfortunate experience! Flying is trying, regardless, in today’s cramped quarters and busy airports, but having two unpleasant seat mates — very unfortunate and fortunately rare, in my experience. It’s definitely modern-day steerage as you replied to Pete!

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    1. I agree, Lisa. I have occasionally had disagreeable seat mates, but it was so unfortunate to encounter two women at very different stages of life comporting themselves in such a way.


  4. I used to fly a lot on business, so I can understand the short tempers. The airlines, FAA, and TSA have done everything possible to make traveling by air as uncomfortable and frustrating as possible. Still, taking it out on another passenger is uncalled for.

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    1. I get the frustration. Flying is not fun anymore. My friend, Lauren, flew first class from LA to NH and she had a similar row mate on her flight. I guess it is not only in steerage! I agree, though. Keep your drama and frustration to yourself.


  5. The entire country is experiencing what it is like to have an alcoholic, unpredictable, angry, foul mouthed father. I think many many people are quite disregulated and unable to find even a modicum of frontal lobe functioning. I am sorry that you encountered two of them in such tight quarters.

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