On The Plane with Stan Zbornak (A reminder on proper flight etiquette)

28 05 2008

OK, not really. The REAL Stan Zbornak died in 1996. (A sad fact I just learned while trying to find that picture). But this guy looked just like him, and in the words of Sophia Petrillo, he was a total yutz.

We were sitting in first class. (OK, I lied again–Canadair Regional Jets don’t have first class–but we were in the first row of seats, right by the door) The Yutz got on board.

“You’re having a good hair day!” he said to the perky flight attendant.

“Am I?” she asked, “I’ve been in the air for hours, and haven’t seen a mirror.”

“Oh yeah…of course, I can only hope for half a good hair day.” He gestured to his horseshoe shaped hairdo. Yuck yuck. I’m sure he just cracked himself up.

As luck would have it, he sat right behind us, as such people are wont to do. (Another recent flight had us adjoining an amateur electrician who tried to rewire her burned out reading light with parts stolen from across the aisle).

The poor senior citizen who took the seat next to him had it the worst, to be sure, because at least I didn’t have to feign interest in the life story he forced on her for the next hour and a half. Now, I’m all for being friendly…I’ve had a few interesting conversations on planes myself. (Including one wherein an elderly lady was convinced that the government had cardboard floating in space because she refused to recognize that we were below the cloud cover and looking at freshly tilled fields). But here’s a few hints–the whole plane doesn’t need or want to hear you speak. We all realize a plane is noisy, but you really don’t need to raise your voice above normal conversation level. And if all you are getting in response is a terse “yes”, “how nice”, or “mmm hmmm”–then your traveling companion probably doesn’t really want to talk.

Which was clearly the case for the poor old lady sitting next to Stan. He regaled her with tales of his Harley. “Oh? hmmmm” was her only response.

Undaunted, he went on to talk about his 98 year old chain-smoking aunt. His seatmate uttered her longest response: “Chalk it up to good genes.”

On and on he went with talk of car crashes, the weather, his mother, his travels. The poor thing seated beside him did her best to mutter an “oh” an “uh huh” or a “nice”, all the while clutching in her lap the book she no doubt thought she would enjoy on the flight.

When we finally arrived at our gate, the old woman couldn’t get out of  her seat fast enough. She darted for the jetway as the door opened–leaving poor Stan behind to shout “See you at baggage claim!”

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5 responses

28 05 2008
MJ

This is why, when you get on a plane, you have to immediately immerse yourself in something. ANYTHING. I’ve had every conversation, from professional softball recruiting to fashion advice thrown at me. I once had an artist from Marvel comics sit next to me who commended me on the drawings I was doing in my sketchbook. I think that was the only memorable person I’ve ever had sit next to me… all the others were just annoying.

28 05 2008
Little Miss

I hate traveling on planes for just that reason. Or buses, or any other vehicle that requires far too close seating with strangers. Did the phrase “Um, excuse me, but I’m not feeling chatty today. Do you mind?” cross her mind? She was far too polite. I would have started throwing comments back that were snide and sarcastic just to shut him up. LOL.

28 05 2008
Jodi

I guess she was much more polite than I. I do try to be nice, unless otherwise provoked. I would started reading my book, and continued reading it. Better yet, I would have turned the boy loose on him – he’d never have gotten a word in edgewise *grin*
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dawtch

2 06 2008
The Vinyl Villager

I rarely fly alone, so I dont have her problem much–but next time I do, I think Ill take along some earphones and immediately put them on when I get on board.

16 08 2011
Rylee

I laughed so hard reading this-

but… stan didnt die in 1996- he faked his death and moved to madrid or something. but sophia was the only one who knew that.

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