I enjoy reading other people’s travel blogs – you’ll notice I have a page up top where I list some of my favorite blogs.
This week I came across a blog that was recognized as one of Time magazine’s 2011 blogs of the year. She has a “dick move” section which I was curious about, wondering what a “dick move” was. I came across this story where she describes a fellow traveller, a guy occupying a window seat, as a “douchbag”, an “asshole”, and as “heinous and rotten and selfish”.
So what did this guy do? Did he constantly have to get up to go to the bathroom? Did he spread himself out, monopolizing the middle seat? Did he constantly fart? (as she, the writer, has a propensity to do according to another of her stories).
No, he didn’t. His egregious mistake was that he kept his window blind open. And then I thought – hey, that’s what I do! I’ve never closed a plane window in my life and I would never consider it. Maybe people think I’M a douchbag and an asshole!
99% of the people on this planet never get the opportunity to ever get on a plane. Most of the other 1% probably do so once or twice a year. Believe it or not, plane travel is a luxury. Where else do you get an opportunity to see the world from that vantage point and see the beauty of the earth from the sky? I still get excited seeing changes in geography, suddenly seeing snow-capped mountains rising from a green plain or seeing the different shades of water in the Caribbean. Even clouds can be exciting. So I ASK for a window seat on those occasions when I get to travel and I look forward to seeing the geography unfolding below me as we approach a new destination. I can watch a stupid Hollywood movie anywhere – most of the time I’m looking out of the window. I actually find its kind of meditative looking out of the window, the sun warming my face. On earth everything is buzzing everywhere and there’s no peace, up here all is quiet and I often mind myself reflecting on different things. Maybe I’m just strange.
Back to the post – So I’m sorry if you can’t sleep, but it’s not my problem. I’m a paying customer too. Maybe you should have brought eye covers and earplugs. They sell them in any airport you know.
“We stood, flapping our arms to get the guy’s attention”. If you had gotten up and started waving at me, publicly embarrassing me, I would have not so gently told you to go fuck yourself. The proper thing to do is to come to me and politely ask me if I could close my window blind. I would still have said no but would do it nicely.
Really, this post is a reflection of all that is wrong with travel, and society in general, today. I look back to 30 years ago when people would show up for an international flight dressed nicely, well groomed. Getting on a long haul flight was an event (Hygiene is also always a good thing when people are in tight spaces. It’s called courtesy). Now I see people getting in planes wearing flip-flops and shorts, or sweatpants, smelling and looking dirty. I see people waiting for their flights, splayed out over a whole range of benches as they try to sleep. Come on people, suck it up, believe me when I tell you that people don’t die from not having slept for 30 hours. And if you’re that tired you can fall asleep sitting up. Show some pride. Now all is “me, me, me” and of other people having to have their space or liberties infringed upon because others feel inconvenienced. All I’m doing is enjoying the view from my window seat – as I mentioned before maybe you should have thought of bringing those eye covers. Prepare yourself in consequence, don’t ask me to give up something that gives me pleasure.
And maybe you can stop farting. Now THAT’S a real dick move (and nowhere comparable to keeping a window open). Go to the bathroom – farting is usually caused by a lump of shit stewing in your belly.
Since I’m getting sentimental about old time plane travel (I was actually sitting down to write a rant on USAir before getting distracted by the above post) I started thinking of my most memorable flight ever. I was 18 (this was back in 1987), a university student, when I flew to meet my mom in Lusaka, Zambia. I flew Montreal to Paris with Air France where I connected to another French airline, UTA, for the flight to Lusaka. UTA was an exotic airline, they went to all these strange places that the major airlines didn’t cover. This particular flight stopped in Libreville (Gabon), Brazzaville (Congo), Lusaka, with the final destination being Lilongwe (Malawi). I remember looking out the window, amazed by the red African earth below and the strange cloud formations of the tropics. They treated you well back then, I remember the food being fantastic (filet mignon, croissants, and all the wine I could drink. That was pretty cool for a student). The flight was also memorable because it took off hours after the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie. Ironically, UTA suffered from a similar bombing in 1999 when a flight from Brazzaville to Paris was brought down (later attributed to Libya). UTA was never the same after and was taken over by Air France.
A few photos from the sky:
Above: Mexico City
Above: Central France, departing Paris
You’ve probably figured out by now that I think views from a plane window are marvelous. I think we are privileged to have the opportunity to see the earth from this vantage point.
What’s your opinion?
If you haven’t subscribed yet and want to get our posts and newsletters sent to your email, just insert your email address below: