I was on a flight from Charlotte to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago. It was the last leg of a trip; it was late, the plane was late, and I was tired. As I squeezed down the narrow aisle, I noticed an older couple already standing in my row, kind of slouched over the seat backs. As I approached, I smiled and said, "I think I have the window."
"Yeah, I guess that'd be why we're standing," the woman snapped, like it was my fault they had an earlier boarding group. But I settled in quietly with my headphones on, determined to be polite.
Shortly before takeoff, a group of bros piled into the exit row in front of us. Big, white, college-aged dudes sporting backwards baseball caps and bravado. Within minutes, I had a seat crammed into my knees. And that's when I lost control of the only thing passive-aggressive people ever lose control of: my inner monologue.
"OF COURSE!" I thought, squirming uncomfortably in my painfully squashed position. "Fucking OF COURSE! First these two give me a bunch of ATTITUDE, and then this. Only a bro would be oblivious to the fact that there are OTHER PEOPLE on this plane, people who don't recline their seats simply because that makes you an ASSHOLE. This guy's had the world HANDED TO HIM ON A FUCKIN' PLATTER -- he's stretched out in an EXIT ROW, for Christ's sake -- but he's still gotta take up EVEN MORE ROOM because NOBODY EVER TOLD HIM HE COULDN'T!"
It didn't help that the two cranky buzzards next to me retained all of the leg room for their teeny tiny little legs.
So I was pissed, but I did not lean forward, tap this monster on the shoulder, and say, "You, sir, are an asshole." No. I remained inwardly steamed, as I am wont to do. This is especially true in airports, where things are increasingly "Comply or No-Fly."
A little while later, after my pack of bone-dry, horrible airline pretzels, I was feeling no more charitable toward the idiot in front of me. But I noticed that he was firing up his laptop, and because it was nighttime, I decided to use the window reflection to angrily check out what he was watching. Some playoff game, probably, or something violent and offensive. Ooh! With any luck, I'd catch him looking at porn (which, to be fair, I have seen men do on planes).
But what I saw instead was that he was halfway through the live action movie "Beauty and the Beast." Like Emma Watson twirling in a sparkly dress and furniture magically turning into people. Like, clearly not something he ordered by mistake from the in-flight catalogue. He was into it.
And I couldn't wrap my head around this. I gaped in disbelief for so long that I inadvertently watched most of the live action "Beauty and the Beast."
When the credits rolled, he went back to the main menu. I was on pins and needles as he scrolled. Whatever would he choose? I'd judged him pretty harshly, but this guy was proving to be an enigma.
The Lego Batman Movie.
Of course it was. Because you know what happens when you assume.