I’m stunned by what I’m seeing on this flight. It’s mid-day on a Monday. I’m surrounded by people that are anywhere between 5-15 years older than me (i.e. comfortably middle aged). What do you think these cats are doing?
As I hunch over my work laptop back here in cattle class I occasionally look up to give my eyes a break from Microsoft Office. Every time I look up I’m amazed to see that pretty much everyone other than me is either playing games on their phone or watching some stupid looking movie that they have (for some odd reason) taken the time to download on to their phone in preparation for this flight. I’ve always wondered why people want phones that have 400 Gigabytes of memory on them, the answer is all around me. The bimbo across the aisle took about 15 selfies before we even took off: “Look world, I’m in seat 33D headed from LA to Chicago!!” Now she’s watching her 4th or 5th rerun of Friends on her phone. Moron.
The guy sitting to my right has been playing some game that resembles Space Invaders for the last two hours. Two freaking hours this fool has been smashing his phone screen and shooting lasers at spaceships. Best part is that his business card fell out of his wallet earlier this flight and it’s been sitting next to my right foot for the last hour. He is the “VP of Analytics” at some company. It’s a shame that the name of his company is buried under his left shoe cause otherwise I could go on E-Trade and aggressively short it.
It gets better. The only person in my vicinity that isn’t playing games on their phone or watching movies is a lady my age. She has spent the last two hours slowly and meticulously reading the free in-flight magazine. The one that’s 80% ads, 10% duty free options, and the other 10% self-congratulating articles about the airline. Cover to freaking cover. Somehow she’s fucking enthralled by this.
I did have a moment of excitement though. About 20 minutes ago the jackass in front of me starting trying to force his seat back to maximize his comfort at my expense. He was thrusting at the back of his seat like a bucking bronco. Luckily for me, my work laptop is built like a 1980s Oldsmobile and perfectly lodged between my tray table and the seat; a fantastic backstop. So this slack-jaw turns around, observes the situation, and asks me if I can move my laptop so that he can lean back a bit. I looked him in his beady little eyes and told him that wasn’t an option because I had work to do.
During this brief exchange he had his cell phone in his right hand and I noticed that he was watching the movie “Men in Black”. For some reason I wasn’t irritated by the self-induced seizure he was having in his seat, nor by the rude request that I put my laptop away. No. What did get me though was that this rude and juvenile behavior was all designed to maximize his Men-In-Black movie watching experience. Having put all of the evidence together I followed up on my previous comment and told him that: “I’ll consider putting my laptop away if you share one of your earbuds with me so that I can watch the movie too.” After a 6-7 second delay: “My earbuds aren’t long enough for that.” Then he turned around and calmed down. He didn’t get that I was making fun of him, few 45-year-olds that watch Men In Black on Monday afternoon pick up on nuance. Maybe I creeped him out. Maybe he’s a bad sharer. We’ll never know.
Let me remind you. Today is the first day of the WORK week. These people are all anywhere between 35 and 50. Also, this isn’t the flight from LA to Tahiti with everyone easing into their beach vacation. Forget working, nobody is even doing anything remotely intelligent. No books, no Wall Street Journal, not even the look of quiet self-reflection. We’ve got the VP of Space Invaders, the broad that’s so dumb she can’t even take a compelling selfie, the in-flight magazine enthusiast and my boy watching children’s alien movies…………… Cattle Class!? Don’t insult cows like that.