Common Courtesy

20 Nov


Do you ever get so frustrated that no matter the situation, you just can’t hold it in any longer?

That is how I felt yesterday when I was getting off of a Southwest flight from Newark to Chicago. I’m a frequent flyer and try my hardest to make sure that I am not making the flight unpleasant for anyone (including myself.)

Today, though, there was no assigned seating so we were allowed to pick basically anywhere on the plane to plop down. I was one of the middle crowd — no window seats were left. A few on the aisle were still available, though. Ah, I thought, I don’t want someone to have to climb over me to sit in a crumby middle seat. I’ll be a kind person and take that unwanted seat. So I did. Unfortunately, the girl who sat next to me wasn’t as polite. She rammed her luggage on the rack, moving my bag without asking. She practically fell into the chair, elbowing me as she rammed her giant bag underneath the seat in front. Her coat was on, then off, then on again. And while I don’t expect to have more than one armrest, she took both, lounging her arm somewhat into my chair. Throughout this all, she acted oblivious.

At the end of the flight is where my slight explosion happened. And not toward the girl, oh no. While common courtesy usually dictates that you wait for those in the front seats to exit the plane — that wasn’t the case with this flight. One couple, who was sitting in the  complete back, barreled their way as those of us in the middle were trying to get out of our seats. Yes, they acted like if they didn’t hurry out, they would be locked on the plane forever. Finally, while I was moving out of the aisle, the man in the couple accidentally hit me with his luggage and garment bag, ignored what happened and kept walking down the aisle in front of me. His girlfriend was right behind me. So I said calmly, “Usually, you let the people in the seats before you exit first.” I couldn’t help it. I didn’t even notice that it had spilled out of my mouth until it was too late. He stopped, turned around and harshly replied, “Excuse me?” I repeated myself, and he let out a bunch of non-repeatable words. When he had made it past the plane door, he made this comically grand gesture toward me and said, “After you, madame.” That was proceeded by him and his girlfriend saying a barrage of insults toward me as I briskly walked to my gate.

Yes, normally, or almost 99 percent of the rest of the time, I would have let it slide. Something inside me ignited and I vomited out my thoughts. My bad.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I have grown so tired of seeing people out on the street daily not caring about anyone but themselves. Three buddies will be walking down the sidewalk, not leaving room for anyone to pass by. Rather than let cars go at green, ignorant people will walk in front of the vehicles, making them brake hard — causing near-miss accidents. Or the people who budge in line, stop while walking to answer a text, or are just plain rude.

I’m at a breaking point. Thank God, I’m on Thanksgiving break. Thank God that I’m going to a small town where people are usually almost overly polite.

P.S. I was typing this last night while I was waiting for my connecting flight. I was half expecting the couple to be on my flight for another awkward encounter. Did I mention that I put on my coat, hat, scarf to be less recognizable? Yes, this word vomit is not my cup of tea.

4 Responses to “Common Courtesy”

  1. emc November 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Sometimes it really sucks to be the “better person” and just let things go. It feels good for a fraction of a second to say what you really think but then I usually quickly regret it.

  2. gwengurley November 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Well hold on minute…. I see this sort of behavior all the time, and honestly, I think it serves a greater purpose to remind people of how they are acting. In a place like New York, it’s a bit like yelling at a tempest to stop hurling wind your way, but in most other places I would applaud you and even egg you on to say more next time. It takes gumption to speak your mind and stand up for yourself in the face of idiots armed with a hefty ego. If someone had said that to me or gestured so insulting at me I would simply have told them to get over themselves and live with the fact that they are a#*holes. Everybody else does.

  3. rosemarychristlerenaud November 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    I hope you enjoy your stay in the midwest. Something about midwesterners that I like, too.

  4. Amber's Aunt Whine-no November 21, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    Good for you, Carrie! If more people had the courage to call out these fools, the world would be a better place. The fact that they furthered their display of intelligence by swearing at you was probably most impressive to the other passengers, who lacked the spine to stick up for you and looked the other way as if they heard nothing. I am proud of you and sick and tired of the bullies, I, like you, will no longer let rude behavior go unnoticed, it may be a small stand, but I’m glad you took it! Enjoy your holiday!

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