In which I am moderately rude...
Exit row, aisle seat – had to fight with the checkin kiosk to make it surrender such a prize to me, but it was worth it. Some leg-room, yay!
Window-seat passenger is already there – white guy, mid-30’s, average-looking, frat-boy haircut.
The overhead bin contains one small satchel, plus Window Boy’s laptop in a small case, right in the middle of the bin. I slide the laptop over next to the satchel and stow my roll-aboard next to them. I didn’t do anything that would hurt the laptop, but I did it all quickly, and without looking like I cared much about acting careful. Which I didn’t.
Note for less-frequent flyers: with the overhead bins, it's not entirely first-come-first-served. On a full flight, the basic idea is that overhead storage is for the big bags first, small stuff second; when there’s not much room, small things like laptops go under the seat. It doesn’t make much difference to me, since 90% of the time I check my bag anyway, and keep my backpack with me under the seat. But it’s still lame when the bin’s full of jackets, purses, little gift bags, etc and people all around are trying to find somewhere to stow their big bags.
Anyway, WB frowns at me and says “Is that my laptop you’re moving around up there?”
I say yes.
WB: “Well, watch how you’re treating it.”
And normally I have a reasonable amount of zen going on, but today I’m tired. And the place he’d put it was ridiculous. And he was rude. And I *do* have decades of backing down and apologizing in the face of crankiness. So instead of my normal response (“Sorry about that”), I say “Well, it doesn’t really go here. You could put it under your seat so there’s room for the big bags overhead.”
WB: “That’s why you check your bags.”
Me: “Whatever. Roll-aboards go up here, small bags go under your seat. That’s the way it works.”
WB: “Yeah, whatever. It’s going to be a looong flight.”
Me: “Do you need your ass kicked right now, or do you want to wait until we land?”
Okay, I didn’t say that last thing. But I thought it.
I review the conversation in my mind, conclude that I could have displayed a lot more tact, and also that I’m not sorry. Screw that guy. If I’d left his laptop the way it was, it would’ve slid around during flight a lot worse than anything I did to it.
Five minutes later we’re getting the exit row spiel from the flight attendant. She asks each of us in turn for a verbal “yes” to indicate that we’ve understood our responsibilities and are able to carry them out in case of an emergency. She looks at Window Boy, who doesn’t respond, just stares passive-aggressively out the window.
Flight Attendant: “Sir? Sir? Did you hear anything I just said?”
WB: [finally looks at her, then points to the signage on the exit door] “I was reading that.”
FA: “But did you hear anything I just said?”
WB: [sarcastically] “No.”
FA: “Ok, you know what? I don’t have time to deal with you. I’m moving you to that seat [points to a middle seat several rows back]. Get your things please, and move to that seat.”
WB retires in shame to the other row. I try to avoid being overwhelmed with schadenfreude, but fail miserably ;-)