On my flight from Toronto to Chicago this morning, a guy got on the plane, sat next to me and took out his ipod and started watching a cartoon on it. He watches it while people take their seats and get settled. No problem. Then the announcement to turn off all electronic things comes, and he totally ignores it. I assume he didn’t hear, what with the headphones. The flight attendant comes by twice, but somehow misses that he’s still watching his video, and we begin to back up from the jetway. Finally, just as I have formulated a plan to snatch it from his hands and smash it into a million bits to save us all if it starts to look like he is going to crash the plane (there has to be some reason we have to turn everything off) the flight attendant sees him, comes over and asks him to take off the headphones and turn it off.
He scowls at her, but turns it off.
The plane taxi’s to the runway, and we take off. The instant that the wheels have cleared the ground, dude has it back on again. (I attribute the small amount of turbulence we encountered to this, even though that is unreasonable.) 7 or 8 minutes later, the announcement that electronic devices can be turned back on comes, and I reach down, get my laptop and begin watching SG1 (season 9, and yes, I’ve started with Atlantis, thank you for asking.) We journey like this until we reach Chicago (hallelujah, I made it) and the announcement comes to please turn off anything that has an on/off switch. I turn off the laptop and my noise dampening headphones. (I fly a lot – it’s worth it) and dude does NOTHING. Keeps watching.
I stare. I try to make a big show of putting my things away. He doesn’t. I toy with telling him that he has to turn it off. I figure, because this is all I can imagine, that he must not know the rule. That this is his first time on a plane or something, and that he just doesn’t know and hasn’t heard. Maybe, I figure, maybe he doesn’t even speak English or French (which happen to be the two languages that he has had the thing explained to him in.) Exactly when I can’t stand it for another second, because the plane is getting lower and lower, the flight attendant comes by to collect trash, and he sees her coming and turns it off.
(For the record, this is the exact moment that I decided that he totally knew the rule.)
She takes our cups and such, and goes to the back of the plane and takes a seat. DUDE TURNS IT BACK ON.
I flip out. Unfortunately, I am not capable of flipping out in a way that he would have noticed, but I flipped out nonetheless. I wait. He doesn’t turn it off. We get lower and lower, and he still doesn’t turn it off. I am losing it. I am freakin’ out. (Again, this would not have been obvious to him, but I assure you that the psychic message I was sending him was pretty loud.) I wonder what happens if he doesn’t turn it off. I check for emergency exits. I reacquaint myself with the pictures of the chute that will open after we crash and I open the hatch door. (I am very close to an emergency exit, and planning to take charge.) We get lower. I am alert to danger. I am a nervous flier at the best of times, and this is pushing all of my we-are-all-going-to-die buttons. I think about saying something. I try to say something. I try to say “Buddy, that has to be off for landing” but I can’t. (I suspect that the reason I couldn’t say anything was that I didn’t know what sort of unholy wrath I might unleash on him if he said “So what?” or “What’s it to you?” …. but we can examine my other problems another day.)
The plane gets lower and lower, he keeps watching (It was totally “Family Guy”, which hardly seems worth dying for) and then we land, and dude watches his stupid show all the way to the gate, then puts it away when we pull into the gate. I was purple with fury.
Now, I know that this is a reasonably small offence I know that in the grand scheme of things, leaving your ipod on for landing and takeoff is hardly a human rights offence or a crime punishable by death… I even know that it’s probably not even really dangerous, because if a phone or ipod could take out a plane, then they really really wouldn’t let you take them on plane. They just wouldn’t. No way. (Also, the fact that nothing bad happened was a bit of a tip off.) I also know, however, that the rule is that you have to turn them off, that there might be some weird thing that we don’t understand that demands they be off, that the attendant told him to turn it off, that she caught him with it on and told him the rule, and that dude just didn’t give a flying squirrels arse about it, and that drives me nuts. Completely mental.
I’ve always essentially been a really good girl. I’m not really a rule breaker. I ask permission. I largely (Unless it’s really dumb or would hurt me or someone else) do pretty much as I’m asked. I know that that makes me the exact sort of person that this really, really makes crazy. There’s nothing that makes a terminally well behaved human go non compos mentis faster than watching a terminally poor behaved human break all the rules and get away with it. I follow the rules because I …well… I’m not entirely sure, but it has something to do with believing in order and queueing up and taking turns and playing nicely with others when you can and I do think co-operation is important and manners make things nicer and I like CIVILIZED BEHAVIOUR DAMMIT.
I know that it makes me crazier than it should. I know that the world is just full of people who could have let that go, or looked the other way, and that there are even people (my mother is one of them) who would have said “Stephanie, who cares if he’s behaving badly as long as you’re not. Let it go.” There are even other people who would have said “Sir? Can I ask what’s so special about you or your electronics that you don’t have to turn them off?” or even “Yo? Dude. It’s off time.” I even toyed with the idea of asking him sincerely why he didn’t turn it off, but apparently I’m not the sort of person who would.
I didn’t have the nerve to say anything, I didn’t have the nerve to tell him off and I wouldn’t tattle on him, but apparently I also can’t let it go. That leaves me with only one thing to do, and apparently, I am exactly the sort of person who would do it.
I kinneared him, and I’m putting his picture on my knitting blog, and I’m saying this. Dude’s a weenie.