Traveling is no picnic, whether you’re part of the jet set or the “Chevro-LETT” set. People aren’t as pleasant as they used to be. If you’re planning to leave home these days, be sure to fill your pockets with patience and earplugs.
Still, those of us who are smitten with wanderlust and the desire to experience a change of scenery, we must book more trips and put on a brave face as we pack our suitcases. Maybe this trip will be different.
It won’t be.
Before a recent flight from Houston, my husband and I noticed an irritable toddler and her young parents, who couldn’t persuade their daughter to calm down. With each wail, the toddler was given–candy. We felt sorry for whoever was going to fly wherever with them.
Yep, no sooner had we taken our seats, here came the couple and the toddler who proceeded to scream at full volume for the next hour and a half. They sat one row away from us.
But travel challenges doesn’t necessarily involve children. This spring, on a three-hour flight to Salt Lake City, we encountered considerable turbulence, so everyone had to keep their seat belts fastened. I thought this was a challenge until over Nebraska, when the air smoothed out, a middle-aged man two rows ahead got up and struck up a conversation with the couple seated in front of me. The next thing I knew, the man was kneeling, arms draped over his seat back as he held court for the next hour and a half, talking non-stop, like old home week as I tried in vain to read a book and the woman next to me turned up her MP3 player. I was ready bolt by the time we touched down.
Wherever there’s a group of people, there’s at least one big talker who loves to hijack the silence. That might also have been true in the 1990s. I know it is today.
I should have seen all this coming. A friend who worked as a flight attendant bailed from her job more than 20 years ago. “People were getting so rude and nasty,” she said.
You can go places and keep your sanity. Just don’t forget your earplugs and your patience.