The Plane Ride

November 8, 2016
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I gratefully take the cup noodles the flight attendant hands me, it’s spicy aroma overwhelming me. The warmth of the soup seeping through the plastic foam prickles my fingers. I am about to take the plastic fork and start devouring the noodles, when a man, with dyed blonde hair with white roots sticking at all directions through his pale scalp, his skin slightly wrinkled, but somehow held up as if by a vain attempt with plastic surgery, his belly bulging out, interrupts my meal.

“I would like one too.” he says, as if he believes we’re socially above him.

“Sure! I get you one right this moment.” the flight attendant says with a thick Asian accent and a obliging smile on her face.

The flight attendant rushes back to her station, I stare at the man meanwhile. He immediately notices and stares right back at me.

“You got a problem, young lady?” he asks, with that same tone implying he was above me.

“If I jumped off your ego onto your IQ I’d probably die in the fall.” I mutter quietly.

“What’s that?” he says, with an edge to his voice.

“Nothing.” I say.

I breath in, and look away, trying to break the awkwardness. I had this bad habit of staring at someone-- it could be anyone, but I would coldly stare at them, and they would either hold the gaze, wave at me, or stimulate a rude response, much like the man sitting next to me while I was on my trip to visit my Aunt and Uncle in China.

The flight attendant returns quickly with a cup of noodles, just like my own. The man takes sniff at the cup, and snatches it away, nodding, implying he was satisfied. Or at least for the moment.

I slowly start eating my noodles again, until I hear the man chewing at his noodles, smacking and over-exaggerating every bite. At this point, I put down my noodles, and try to sleep away this ride. I feel the world drifting away, until I hear the man’s obnoxious voice again.
Unable to ignore it, I wake up again, and stare at the seat in front of me, wondering if first class was worth it.

This time, he smashes his hand against the button that summons a flight attendant, and stares at a woman, wrapped in a hijab, sipping tomato juice. When the same flight attendant comes again, I could see a small crease in her eyebrows, her mouth in straight, thin line.

“I want the drink she’s drinking,” he demands, pointing to the woman in the hijab.

The flight attendant, with a small bow, takes out his demand dutifully, coming back with a tall glass of tomato juice. The ugly blonde man inspects the tomato juice, scrutinizing every  detail, and says scornfully

“There are seeds in this. I want no seeds.”

The flight attendant, her mouth twitching into a frown, leaves with the drink, and comes back with a seedless glass of tomato juice. The man takes it, and starts sipping it.

Not long after, a small, blonde woman sitting right of me asks for a pad. The same flight attendant comes, brings her the pad, and the blonde woman leaves for the bathroom. The man, watching this whole incident, calls over the flight attendant yet again.

“Hmm?” the flight attendant says, raising an eyebrow.

“I want the thing you just brought the lady.” he says.

“Sir, that’s a --”

“I want one, now. I paid good money for this trip, and it’s not going to waste. ” the man says, cutting her off with a wave of his hand.

WIth a mystified but amused look on her face, the flight attendant leaves to retrieve a pad for the man next to me. The man mutters and curses under his breath about the poor service of the airplane, and how it does not comply to fulfill his “simple”  demands. When the flight attendant returns with a white XL pad, the man snatches it from her.

He then proceeds to put it, stick-side up, onto his neck, his eyes filling with childish glee. Promptly, he starts snoring away, his head hanging limply like a doll from his pudgy neck. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or be relieved that he’s finally out of my way. When the flight attendant returns, she gasps, and then walks back into the cockpit, trying to stifle her laughter.

I ponder over this whole incident, and the best conclusion I can come up with is he thought it was a neck pad for sleeping. I still am mystified to this day of how he is so oblivious to the fact.

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