I’m not a frequent flyer but I do enjoy the occasional flight to an even more enjoyable destination. I use the term ‘enjoy’ loosely, however, when I am flying with my husband, a serious frequent flyer and notorious frequent-flying grump – no doubt aggravated by years of flying with every bad cliche known to man.
Flying with my husband is like buying a ticket in the lottery. You have a million-to-one chance of winning – and I have a million-to-one chance that my husband will enjoy his flight with nothing and nobody to annoy him. If the inevitable does occur and we travel together I say a prayer for a vacant seat in another part of the plane if something gets on his last nerve.
The usual protagonists include screaming babies, undisciplined children, rude people and exceptionally bad body odour – any of which you are bound to encounter when you are packed like cattle in anything less than business or first class. My husband can tolerate screaming babies up to a point, as even he understands what air pressure can do to little ears but he will loudly ask the flight steward for another seat if it goes on for two hours with no reprieve and he can get away from it.
He has been known to ask mothers to stuff socks in their screaming two year old’s mouths and threaten old-enough-to-know-better children from kicking the back of his seat to near death when he can no longer take it. Older kids have seen the death stare on more than one occasion as he looks over the top of his seat to confront his aggressor. It seems to work. Parents are not sure if they are flying with a maniac or not so they act fast so as not to find out.
He has had near scuffles in the aisle when a cantankerous Texan with a large hat couldn’t keep his elbow to himself and another similar elbow jousting match with an overly large gentleman who really should have bought himself two seats and not one. On both of these occasions my husband was transferred to first class – no doubt because my husband is no fool – you can be an ass but only to another ass who is being an even bigger ass to the flight steward by complaining about my husband being an ass.
Smells and body odour fly high up there on my husband’s personal gripe list and I have witnessed him coming out of a near coma of sleep by the stench of a passenger sitting in the opposite aisle and yelling at the top of his lungs “Poo! Jezuz, you stink!” and then going back to sleep again. I am ashamed to say I almost laughed out loud at his antics that time, as there were at least seven people around us at the time all nodding in agreement but suffering in silence.. including me.
My husband, bless him, is no shrinking violet and never has been. He will always tell most people what he thinks and rarely keeps it inside if he is irritated. Once it is out, however, it is generally gone and won’t be rehashed or groused over at a future time and date, unlike some people who hold grudges forever and are perpetually unpleasant people. I wouldn’t call my husband unpleasant and believe it or not he’s not honest to a fault – he knows strategically when to exercise discretion about my choice of outfits, hobbies, my family weirdos, friends and sometimes my less-than-fantastic ideas.
My husband is an original. I’m not giving him back.