Surely, I Cannot Be This Antisocial on an Airplane

Oh, but I can — and don't call me Shirley ...

Don't ever sit next to me on an airplane. I'm serious. Because you're a reader of this column, it's obvious you're an extremely intelligent, lovely person with a highly evolved sense of humor. All things I would never discover because I'd be busy performing a cost/benefit analysis on the Bigfoot Garden Yeti Sculpture in the Sky Mall catalog as a way of deliberately trying not to engage you in conversation during our flight.

Yes, I am totally that person.

I'm polite enough to seatmates. I won't monopolize the arm rest, climb over you countless times to go to the restroom, or listen to my music so loudly you’ll hear it through my headphones. But that is where our relationship ends. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to get to know people over time ... and always where there is some means of egress.

On an airplane, I can get easily get trapped in a one-way conversation and end up listening and not talking for several hours because I find it difficult to share personal details until I know someone really well (as is evidenced by my very public blog posts about laser armpit hair removal, my lack of religion, and that .)

So when I finally do open up to someone, the first thing I am required to share is I am a total hypocrite.

However, on a recent trip to Dayton, Ohio, for the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Workshop, I not only had conversations with my seatmates that lasted the duration of the flights, but I also actually enjoyed them.

On the way there, I sat next to a hairdresser from Florida who was heading to a family wedding in Dayton. Hairdressers generally have entertaining stories because they deal with the public all day, and she was no exception. By the end of our hour together I knew many things about her, including that she had a comedian friend who had been hired for a clothing-optional cruise gig. (My question to her: "Did you tell her that if she got nervous during the set, she should just pretend that everyone in the audience was fully clothed?")

And on the way home, I sat next to a fellow humor writer who I got to know during the conference — a very pregnant Mormon woman with whom I immediately had a lot in common. (Unnecessary point of clarification: that would be the humor writer part.) 

You might think that based on this experience I have re-evaluated my no-talking-to-seatmates rule. And I did consider it briefly, but let's be honest here — that box of applause and laughter is not going to research itself.

Amy Sherman April 26, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Nicely done Kathleen. "Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to get to know people over time ... and always where there is some means of egress." (A favorite line.) I was once deadheading in full American Airlines uniform and the man next to me asked: "Do you fly much?" Amy Sherman
Kathleen Canedo April 26, 2012 at 08:38 PM
That was my favorite line in the column, Amy, glad you liked it. I forgot you were a flight attendant. No wonder you're a humor writer -- you probably have years and years worth of material from that experience alone...
Amy Sherman April 26, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Only one story on it at this point. I've been retired longer than I worked now. If you care to read it, check out witfaced.com and read "Working Girls."
Astra Groskaufmanis May 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Kathleen, this was hysterical. My daugher plays hockey as you migh recall from EBWW. Each year we have to come up with a team nickname, usually something to do with cats because our association has a 'wildcat' on its uniforms. Every single <expletive> year I have to a talk them out of "the cougars". One day they'll thank me, right?
Astra Groskaufmanis May 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Oops, I meant to leave this comment on your more recent post... sorry :)


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