Both Leandra and myself spend ample time on airplanes. In the past two months alone, our asses have wed at least 13 flight seats if you include connections, layovers and an accidental train ride that came in the wake of a diversion (long story, text Leandra for details).
And every time one of the two of us landed, we’d complain about our seat-mates. Together we found that no matter the destination, no matter the flight’s purpose, no matter the hierarchical accommodations, the people on our planes were, fundamentally, exactly the same. And so, similar to the accidental originator of the Buzzfeed list (as in, the artist formerly known as Mitch Albom and his The Five People You Meet in Heaven) we give you the far less eloquent, though equally relevant: Ten People You Meet on a Plane, starting with:
The Frequent Pee-er Miles
Someone takes her Dr. Phil tips and Goop guides a bit too seriously, because while celebregurus love nothing more than to extol the virtues of water, Phil & Gwen definitely did not intend for the Frequent Pee-er to chug the entire Atlantic Ocean prior to departure.
The Freequent Pee-er earns her miles by getting up to pee on the half hour, every hour. You can guarantee that she will have to go during paramount moments in whatever movie you are watching, at the climax of whatever story you are reading, or while you’re falling asleep. Her bouts of “excuse me” and “so sorry” are not sincere because all she cares about is avoiding bloat. She’s selfish and she’s hydrated.
The Manic Snack Packer
This woman got on the plane with a diaper bag full of Ziploc bags which, in due time you will learn, are partitioned by food groups — and make no mistake, every group is accounted for. She’s got her grains, her tupperware full of fruit, the sliced crudite to be chased by cold cuts and then followed by the block of cheese that aisle 35 is complaining about. You’re seeing more food than the average human consumes in the span of 72 hours and yet, there it goes, all of it, into her mouth and down her throat. Mind you, this is a shuttle flight from LaGuardia to Boston.
The Coma Kid
At first you respect The Coma Kid. This dude got on the plane, buckled his seatbelt and passed the fuck out. Screw safety tips — he doesn’t need them. But after a solid three hours, when CK is still asleep, you start to worry: Is he alive? Should you poke him? Hold a mirror underneath his nose to see if he fogs the glass? You could, especially if you’re super bored, but if the Coma Kid wakes up to you hovering over his doubled chin to “make sure he’s still alive,” the rest of the plane ride is going to be really awkward.
Elbow Rest Warrior
You know this person. 6’10, 320. Cross-fit Master, crocodile wrestler. The Elbow Rest Warrior is stoic as a statue, kinder than a panda and yet completely oblivious to personal space. That or he, too, is selfish and can’t understand the elbow rest to elbow ratio. As in, if the person to your left or right is lacking, you must, for the sake of humanity, relinquish control of at least one throne.
The Team Player
The Team Player may have shared the womb with an attached twin at some point in their gestation because this person does not understand that whatever is yours is not actually theirs. Like the ERW, the Team Player sees no qualms in the other-seat-lean. Despite a properly working television set, they find yours more interesting, and if you’re reading a book they’re trying to skim the pages right along with you. If you glare at the TP they will stare right back. And 9 times out of 10, they smell like cottage cheese.
A colonial woman on the wing of the plane is the least of this guy’s worries. He is freaking out, forgot his Xanex, and mark his words: you’re going down with him.
But not the cute baby. Not the napping baby who wakes up to coo and smile then falls back into a lactose coma. No. The one with an ear infection and a devil possession and a dirty diaper and two parents who are just like, “Chill, man. You were a baby once too.” False. I was an angel, whereas that thing you’ve swaddled in too many blankets is 100% a shouting alien.
The Child may actually be worse than The Baby if you’re easily irritated as opposed to just hyper noise-sensitive. The Child is creepy. It stares at you menacingly through the partition of the two seats in front of you, and smiles like Chuckie and whispers shit like, “You’re next.” It kicks chairs and constantly reclines into your lap, and eats stupid snacks like Yogurt Chips and Cheddar Bunnies. When I was a kid, we ate Oreos, and we weren’t allowed on airplanes until we knew how to fly them ourselves.
The Stoic Sitter
Paranoid Pete should never, ever sit next to the Stoic Sitter because she boards the plane with a Chapstick and a smile then doesn’t move for the rest of the ride. Where is her purse? Where is her book? Where is her OK! magazine or her iPod or her friends? What is going on inside the Stoic Sitter’s mind that enables her to sit still for four hours and do not a SINGLE THING? Has she peed yet? Is she meditating? Is she sleeping with her eyes open? Is she…dead? Like Angelica Pickles used to tell Tommy and co: if you have to ask, you’ll never know.
iWork at Google Guy
This dude has too many things to do that require a charger. He has an iPad. He has an iPod. He has an iPhone, a vintage MP3 player, a Google phone, a Blackberry, a Kindle and a Droid. Despite your inability to get in-air wifi, he has been tweeting the whole time from his personal hot spot, has posted three pictures to Instagram and checked in “Over Hawaii.” If the plane goes down due to an issue of mechanic miscommunication, there is a 47% chance it is his fault.
Activity Annie will not leave you alone. But it’s not on purpose — she’s studying. She’s highlighting. Then she puts her textbook away and now she’s writing. Now she’s texting! And now she’s back in her bag, rummaging through her purse, looking for headphones and then suddenly it’s time for a walk! After 20 minutes, Activity Annie gets antsy, which is when she turns to you and — against your will — tells you all about her breakup. Pay attention. There will be a quiz upon landing.
In the event you’re counting, yes, you clocked that right: This was actually eleven. Eleven of the people you might meet on a plane. And we bet there are plenty more that languish above your ocean, so, go on.