Day 0: The Flight Before a Vacation

This fucking cunt. Out of all the people I had to sit behind on this plane ride to Europe, it has to be the one asshole who decides that he needs to feel maximum comfort at the expense of others. How dare he intrude onto my personal space? The nuts and bolts of his seat are screaming in agony as he leans his chair back into spaces where no one has lacked the humanity to go before. I think about doing the same to my own chair, but I just can’t do it. I cannot willingly pull such a dick move on the stranger sitting behind me. What could be possessing this stranger to act without consideration for others, without sympathy?

He was likely raised this way. His curly hair is a mess. He probably thinks that running a brush through it is just something that they do on television. If this plane crashed, I’d only be half as upset because I could die knowing that this jerk-off went with me. His overpriced silver Beats headphones have been on him since he stepped into the airport to meet with the rest of the group to go to Italy. It’s not a stretch to imagine that he woke up, ate breakfast, and skipped showering with them on today.

When the mediocre dinner arrives, I ask him to move his chair up so that I can eat. The possibility of him adjusting his seat causes his face to grow smaller and his eyebrows to crunch together, as if they smell the waste of a face that they’re located on. This is ignoring the fact that he’s not even using the space he’s allocated himself while eating his meal. No, there are two stolen feet between the still relaxed chair and his back. Then, something unusual happens; by an act of God he conforms with the rest of the fliers to allow me the privilege of eating. As the food is collected and trashed, he fixes his error of altruism and steals the territory back. To top it off, the flight unassistant forgets my Perrier.

This seven-hour flight would go much quicker if I could fall asleep. When the inside of my eyelids grow dark enough, all I can feel is rage at the rudeness of this character in front of me; he thinks he’s better than me, that he deserves any more than any other person in this world. His caveman face is looking forward at his screen, which is playing Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. I see the inverted reflection of it on the window to my left, on the backdrop of a sky that’s jet black. He has the lack of sensibility to stop watching it, bored by the opening of the film. It seems that not just his manners lack in taste.

As we fly by Greenland, the cloud of brown on the digital monitor that’s too close to my face, I see that there are four hours left to go. On this two-dimensional map, Great Britain is in line with the tip top of Canada, almost hugging Greenland and Iceland. That’s the problem with projecting a three-dimensional Earth onto a flat surface, inaccuracies are formed and problems arise. Likewise, projecting an emotional dimension of anger onto a physical computer screen doesn’t translate cleanly either. It’s difficult to form a legitimate rage that can overtake a mind when you’re reading a travel piece about a stranger who had a bad flight. Physical planes can also be lost in translation, not in the least for this unredeemable punk in front of me who doesn’t understand the fact that he’s not the only one who lives in the third dimension of space.

The flight ends. I walk onto a connecting flight that is going to take me across Europe to my destination. I move my feet with the hope that I don’t have to ever again experience assholes with no idea that other people exist around them. Even better, as I sit on my new seat, I see that they can’t recline, preventing evil from ever happening. There is hope in this world, human rights can be treated with respect, and love really exists. I see my victimizer two rows away from me. With luck, I’ll only have to see his brown old man blazer from a distance for the rest of my life. It’s time for a new beginning for me, one filled with giving charity to the poor and volunteering for homeless shelters because life is beautiful.

The hours pass uneventfully. In a Brad Pitt Inglorious Basterds accent I say, buongiorno Florence! The bus takes us through large green hills surrounding the beautiful Renaissance town to my hotel, and I wait in the lobby for the key to my room. Another student who looks remarkably well-slept walks up to me, and greets me with “Hey roommate.” He’s wearing silver Beats and a brown blazer made for old men.

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