Boorish boys and hamsters

Dear President Trump,

I’m on the plane heading to Minneapolis. It’s been dandy. Someone threw up on the previous flight in a seat two rows ahead of mine and it was pretty ripe. We also had a 30-ish minute delay taking off due to high traffic volumes and there was a disconcerting grinding sound the whole time we were taxiing to the runway. Fortunately the cleaning crew did a good job with the unfortunate seat and the smell went away quickly, but I don’t envy the people in the throw up row.

Just to pile on a little more, I have a few more fusses about the flight to get out of my system.

I’d not experienced it so viscerally before, but when I first boarded and walked through the first class portal into the coach section of the plane I noticed how incredibly mean the space gets immediately upon leaving the favored-few zone. Instead of walking facing straight forward and moving easily between the seats, once in the coach section I felt the need to shrink to navigate down the aisle. I ended up sidling along at an awkward angle, trying to avoid bumping the handful of people who had boarded ahead of me. The people in first class were sprawled out as the flight attendants catered to them, hovered with drinks, stowed bags just so, as the rest of us tried to maneuver past to get to our seats. I’m sure some people need first class accommodations to be able to fly and I don’t want to fly first class myself, but the in-your-face-ness of the space and courtesy differential was especially jarring today.

The next trying thing was that the tall, solidly built young man in the seat in front of me had the habit of throwing himself into his seat rather than sitting down like a normal person. It only happened when he first sat down and one more time after he went to the restroom, but he jerked the seat back so hard that the woman sitting next to me, who wasn’t much of a talker, wryly commented that he seemed to like falling into his seat. I suppose if he was trying to mess with me he could have hit it even harder, but probably not a lot.

The last thing about the airplane I’ll fuss about is the man who used the lavatory ahead of me. He had to realize that there was at least a 50% chance that the next person to use the lavatory after him would be a girl or a woman and yet he left the seat up. What the hell is with that? I know men do that more often than not, but it’s seriously obnoxious to have to put the seat down in a public (or frankly private) place. Urinals are meant to be used as pee stations for standing boys/men; toilets are meant to be sat upon and so the default position of the toilet seat is down. Somehow I doubt you got that memo, or if you did, that you care one whit about it, but just in case you didn’t realize that girls and women don’t like having to deal with inconsiderate boys and men who leave toilet seats up, you are now duly informed of this reality.

I’ve made it to my hotel room and I’m debating whether to ask to change rooms because of the loud hamsters running the air conditioning unit – even when it’s turned all the way off there’s an incessant, loud churning, clicking, squeaking that is seriously getting on my nerves. It’s early yet, but I keep imagining trying to sleep with this sucker going all night and I don’t see it happening. You probably can’t tell by the tone of today’s letter, but I don’t like making a fuss about stuff so I’ll wait a bit more and see if it finally stops. I sure as hell hope so because if I leave the room, someone else will almost certainly be stuck in here with the hamsters.

Ok, I got back from dinner and the hamsters had not worn themselves out so I bailed on them and got a new, hamster-free room. Much better. And hopefully the nice engineer guy who managed to quiet the hamsters for five minutes earlier in the evening will figure out how to do so permanently (as in actually fix the damn unit rather than just bumping it a little bit).

May we be safe when we venture out of our comfort zones.
May we be willing to be considerate when we are out and about.
May we have a healthy ration of assertiveness and may we use it.
May we make peace with others’ foibles but not their boorishness.

Tracy Simpson

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