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Surely, I Cannot Be This Antisocial on an Airplane

Oh, but I can — and don't call me Shirley ...

Don't ever sit next to me on an airplane. I'm serious. Because you're a reader of this column, it's obvious you're an extremely intelligent, lovely person with a highly evolved sense of humor. All things I would never discover because I'd be busy performing a cost/benefit analysis on the Bigfoot Garden Yeti Sculpture in the Sky Mall catalog as a way of deliberately trying not to engage you in conversation during our flight.

Yes, I am totally that person.

I'm polite enough to seatmates. I won't monopolize the arm rest, climb over you countless times to go to the restroom, or listen to my music so loudly you’ll hear it through my headphones. But that is where our relationship ends. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to get to know people over time ... and always where there is some means of egress.

On an airplane, I can get easily get trapped in a one-way conversation and end up listening and not talking for several hours because I find it difficult to share personal details until I know someone really well (as is evidenced by my very public blog posts about laser armpit hair removal, my lack of religion, and that .)

So when I finally do open up to someone, the first thing I am required to share is I am a total hypocrite.

However, on a recent trip to Dayton, Ohio, for the Erma Bombeck Humor Writer’s Workshop, I not only had conversations with my seatmates that lasted the duration of the flights, but I also actually enjoyed them.

On the way there, I sat next to a hairdresser from Florida who was heading to a family wedding in Dayton. Hairdressers generally have entertaining stories because they deal with the public all day, and she was no exception. By the end of our hour together I knew many things about her, including that she had a comedian friend who had been hired for a clothing-optional cruise gig. (My question to her: "Did you tell her that if she got nervous during the set, she should just pretend that everyone in the audience was fully clothed?")

And on the way home, I sat next to a fellow humor writer who I got to know during the conference — a very pregnant Mormon woman with whom I immediately had a lot in common. (Unnecessary point of clarification: that would be the humor writer part.) 

You might think that based on this experience I have re-evaluated my no-talking-to-seatmates rule. And I did consider it briefly, but let's be honest here — that box of applause and laughter is not going to research itself.

Liz Lippy April 25, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I'd pay for the bigfoot statue if it means being our street mascot! Sorry...did I miss the point of the blog? I was too caught up in Bigfoot ;)
Kathleen Canedo April 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
What a great idea. Our street mascot. I'd pay for part of it. We should go door-to-door taking up a collection. You can do the talking. I'll be along for moral support.
dilettante07 April 25, 2012 at 03:31 PM
By moral support, she means staring at her shoes and giggling while you talk.
Kathleen Canedo April 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Tante07 - and your point is?
Liz Lippy April 25, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Perhaps we can help teach the author of this lovely blog how to be more social by walking around the neighborhood and forcing her to solicit funds for the street mascot big foot? how much $ are we talking? :)
Liz Lippy April 25, 2012 at 06:35 PM
the mere thought of it is making me lol! And the thought of a big foot statue between our two yards. I think we may have to do it.
Kathleen Canedo April 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I'm totally in. And very happy we don't have a homeowners association.
Kathleen Canedo April 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
We can put a Santa hat on it for Christmas...mardi gras beads on Fat Tuesday...so much potential....
Liz Lippy April 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Do you think there would be a clause in the homeowners association that states - "no big foot statues allowed"????? Because that would be a total deal breaker if I were buying a house...just saying
Kathleen Canedo April 25, 2012 at 06:51 PM
No big foot statues allowed = people who hate freedom
Polly Scott April 25, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I was that preggo Mormon, and I must say I'm glad Kathleen let me talk her ears off. Although had I known about the yeti, I may have opted for a little mile high shopping.
Kathleen Canedo April 25, 2012 at 07:56 PM
See, Polly, you changed my perspective on this...but I already knew you before getting on the plane, so I'm not sure that counts. (And yes -- the Yeti -- SkyMall has fantastic stuff.)
Patcher Joe April 26, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I see/hear airplane and surely together and immediately think of Leslie Nielsen. Maybe he had big feet too. I don't know. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A5t5_O8hdA
Kathleen Canedo April 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Hi, Patcher Joe -- Yay! That was my intent as the column is all about being on an airplane. (It also means I got to look up all of the great Airplane! quotes in the name of research.) I love this job.
Jeannine Miller April 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
So you're saying that if the cute, young, interested train traveler had been on the plane, you would never have lost your phone?
Kathleen Canedo April 26, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Jeannine - A train has a means of egress -- I could have moved to another car. Also -- it was only 40 minutes. Also? I am a total hypocrite (see paragraph #5 above).
Jeannine Miller April 26, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Hyprocrite sounds so ugly. I prefer "adapts to the situation as needed."
Kathleen Canedo April 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Jeannnine - That's it! I'm "adaptable." Perfect!
Amy Sherman April 26, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Nicely done Kathleen. "Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to get to know people over time ... and always where there is some means of egress." (A favorite line.) I was once deadheading in full American Airlines uniform and the man next to me asked: "Do you fly much?" Amy Sherman
Kathleen Canedo April 26, 2012 at 08:38 PM
That was my favorite line in the column, Amy, glad you liked it. I forgot you were a flight attendant. No wonder you're a humor writer -- you probably have years and years worth of material from that experience alone...
Amy Sherman April 26, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Only one story on it at this point. I've been retired longer than I worked now. If you care to read it, check out witfaced.com and read "Working Girls."
Astra Groskaufmanis May 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Kathleen, this was hysterical. My daugher plays hockey as you migh recall from EBWW. Each year we have to come up with a team nickname, usually something to do with cats because our association has a 'wildcat' on its uniforms. Every single <expletive> year I have to a talk them out of "the cougars". One day they'll thank me, right?
Astra Groskaufmanis May 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Oops, I meant to leave this comment on your more recent post... sorry :)

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