Boarding the first leg of my journey from Sydney to Granada I thought someone must have looked out for me when I located my seat, G31. There was no baby in sight or sound, no baby whale in the seat next to me, and someone smiled at me as they took their seat across the aisle from me. It was a promising start.
I sat down and noticed there was no one sitting behind me, another win. I kicked off my sneakers, blew up my neck pillow to a firmness that resembled a bosom, and laid my head to rest for what was going to be my best flight ever.
My best flight ever was cut short six minutes into the trip when the Aircraft safety video began to play, and from behind me a voice spoke in such volume that I almost thought I wasn’t in the aisle seat of an Emirates Airbus, but in the front row section of a Donald Trump rally.
‘Oh, they’re playing the aircraft instructions in Arabic, you’ve got to be kidding me.’
Someone had taken the seat behind, an American to be precise, who found it peculiar and somewhat comical that an Arabic airline would make their announcements in Arabic. It was unfair of me to think, another ignorant American, because that’s just as bad. But that’s exactly what I thought.
Attempting to be the bigger person I put my headphones in and launched the best movie on offer, Finding Nemo, to nullify this repulsive individual’s comments. However, not even an underwater Disney classic could drown out the obnoxious drawl the back of my head was being exposed to. Why is it that the stupidest ones always speak the loudest?
His ramblings evolved from racial slurs to a reality TV show he alleged was ‘the real deal’ to the person sitting beside him. Anyone who watches reality TV, let alone discusses it in public, can’t be taken seriously. The level of his voice so excessive I decided to engage my antagonist.
I furrowed my eyebrows and turned my head around, as an irritated person sometimes does to say ‘can you shut the fuck up?’ but my several glances went unnoticed. I needed to do more, and it looked like everyone was leaving it up to me, but I’m a coward, so direct confrontation was out of the question.
After quick self-deliberation, interrupted only by another outlandish statement from my new friend, this time about getting massages in Thailand (or something stupid like that), I decided my only recourse was to recline my seat at inopportune moments; perhaps knock a drink over when meals were served. Surely that would provide some form of justice. Maybe a few well-timed farts as I vacated my seat for the bathroom, there would be collateral damage, but it was for the good of everyone around me, right? They would understand.
Being passive aggressive proved to be only slightly satisfying, the foremost technique proving to be unsuccessful during crunch time, but it felt better than being completely helpless. He did fall asleep after three hours; around the same time that the cabin lights dimmed, and stars lit up on the ceiling. I thought that was a nice touch.
Anyway, that was the first leg of my journey, and somehow I managed to arrive in Granada 31 hours (three flights and one bus) later. So it wasn’t all bad.