Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

Tin-Can Technology

There is a reason the airlines don’t want you using your cell phone on their airplanes, and it’s not for the official reason they give you. It’s not really because they fear your cellular signal will disrupt the operation of the flight. It’s because they fear your cellular chatter will disrupt the emotional balance of your fellow passengers.

I became aware of this fact the other day when I was attempting to take my seat on one of the oversized sardine cans that currently masquerade as a flying machine. Having survived another exhausting journey through airport security (including an airy tour of one of those exciting new “puffer” machines) and having emerged with my liquids, gels and bodily fluids intact, and my shoes safely back on my feet, I was looking forward to sitting down and quickly going to sleep.

Unfortunately, my assigned seat was in the back of the plane. So I had to endure a stop-and-start trip down the aisle that took approximately as long as the flight itself. (Memo to fellow travelers: just because it has wheels doesn’t mean you should bring it on the plane with you and attempt to put it in the overhead bins.)

Long before I actually got to my seat, though, I began to hear HER VOICE. She was talking on a cell phone, and she was apparently one of those people who believe that cell phones have not advanced much beyond tin-can technology. She therefore felt compelled to speak loud enough to be heard in distant cities or possibly on other continents.

“THERE’S NO ONE IN THE SEAT NEXT TO ME, AND I’M DETERMINED TO KEEP IT THAT WAY!” She shouted into the phone as the flight attendant informed us that it was a completely full flight.

This caused me to actually look toward the source of the noise, and I saw her in a window seat near the back. The middle seat next her – my seat, a sinking feeling told me – was piled high with her bags. She was fixing a glare on each person who drew near and, soon enough, the glare came to rest on me. It was just like being back in high school, being one of the lonely losers looking for a seat in a classroom crowded with cool kids. The only available seat back then was next to the mean-girl head cheerleader, and there was no way she would let me have it.

Except in this case, it was the cheerleader’s grandma who continued to yell into the phone while I stood there – still the lonely loser -- not two feet in front of her pretending to pick lint off my coat.

“IT LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE IS GOING TO TAKE THIS SEAT NEXT TO ME,” she told her unlucky listener in the same disapproving tone one would use to describe the actions of a hardened criminal.

My face flushed, and I then flashed my boarding pass at her -- proof that I was being compelled by the airline to sit in this seat. I found myself hoping she wouldn’t round up some other passengers and get them to beat me up once we got off the plane. Just like in high school.

After being told twice by the flight attendant to turn off her phone and put her bags under the seat in front of her, my sour travel companion reluctantly removed her stuff from my seat, and I squeezed into it.

“THEY’RE MAKING ME TURN OFF THE PHONE NOW,” she shrieked into the device in a parting shot. “I REALLY HATE FLYING!”

You and me both, lady.

~ Jackie Papandrew ~
© 2008, All Rights Reserved

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2008, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]


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