Week 67: Another Plane, Another Fight

Friday, 12 April 2019

Reading time 04 minutes 39 seconds

In a world of thieves the only final sin is stupidity – Hunter S Thompson

I’ve never enjoyed the stories of folk who start with “typical me”. It seems as if they engineer the situations just so they can use that phrase. That said I seem to be heading into typical me territory here as I had a shouting match with a person on a plane. It wasn’t my fault but either way it seems that I’m becoming a type.

It’s starts like all good stories, sat between two women on a ten hour night flight. One of the ladies was kind, thoughtful, non-judgemental, caring, her smile illuminated the plane and made those around her happy to be in her presence. The other was my girlfriend.

Kind lady never complained once when I had to move her from the aisle seat on my 6 visits to the toilet and was clearly sympathetic to my peanut sized bladder. She was older than me so probably understood. I found it strange that even though she drank water, a gin and tonic and a coffee, she didn’t visit the facilities once. 

She was clearly a grandmother, not a nan but a grandmother. There is a difference. She seemed like the favourite of the grandparents. Everyone had a favourite gran and I bet she was nailing it. Her husband was across the aisle and seemed like a good Werther’s originals grandad. 

I really liked her. We shared a few little laughs together during our brief spell in one another’s company. My only niggle was that when I pointed out a teenager who was wearing a big puffer jacket and commented that she won’t feel the benefit of that outside she didn’t laugh. But I could forgive her for that as I’ve heard it been said that comedy is very subjective.

She was not the woman I argued with but I want to get across that I’m not a monster who randomly argues with people and I can have a short term relationship with people on planes.

The tension started when we arrived at Gatwick airport which came as a surprise to the ground crew as they were not expecting us. I found this a little odd as I booked the flight nine months ago. 
Coaches had to be organised to ferry us to the terminal and the captain informed us that it would take 20+ minutes so we may as well stay seated. This was lost, as everybody was already standing removing luggage and heading to the door and were never going to sit back down.

I didn’t believe the coaches would take 20 minutes. If they hadn’t managed to organise it in the last 9 months why would they now? I read my book and fell asleep. 30 minutes later the transport arrived. Sadly the stairs to get us off the plane were not ready so it’ would be at least another 10 minutes or so. Apparently the ground crew didn’t know we needed stairs. These guys were nailing it. The pilot was beautifully sarcastic in his announcements. Someone shouted out that they should deploy the emergency chute device which helped relive the tension but not much. People were angry and agitated, one of whom was my girlfriend.

To not wind her up anymore I finally rose from my seat and retrieved my bag from the overhead compartment. I asked where my other half’s little bag was as the storage area was empty. I was instructed to look again.

I then called my first witness to the stand and asked a fellow passenger to confirm what my eyes were telling me. My girlfriend looked aghast, and stated that she had put it there herself. I gave her the REALLY look. 
We’ve been together a while and I rarely get to use it, not nearly as much as her. She returned this look with a don’t mess with me I’ve been on this plane for over 10 hours and I’m not happy look. I wasn’t sure but I sensed a little anger.

I asked my fellow passengers to check the surrounding overhead compartments but they were also all empty. My other half looked shocked. She reiterated the ‘I put it in there’ comment. The surrounding passengers now gave me a REALLY look, which I passed onto her. In hindsight this was a little dumb.

Steps started to be retraced when I blurted out my second mistake which at the time seemed the right thing to say. Did you leave it in duty free? I felt the people around me collectively wince.

My Mrs then started to panic. How will we drive home? How will we get through the passport control automated contraption? A computer won’t understand that your passport is thousands of miles away in another airport.

The line of passengers were starting to console her. Those further down the plane who could not hear were enquiring what was going on and word passed down the line that some wally had lost their bag. These people were stuck and had been standing for 40 minutes now so were grateful for a little bit of drama.

A lady from about 12 people away then shouted over enquiring if we had lost a little suitcase? That was a shock, how did she know it was a little suitcase? The only facts we released were a lost bag. I shouted back yes we had, and how did she know it was a little suitcase? 

Like a tennis match the crowd swivelled their heads to see her reply.

Avoiding my question she asked where it was stored?

It was a plane full of mainly British people so the out loud conversation was very rude and upsetting for some but the rest were all ears.

I pointed to the overhead locker above me.

She then held up my girlfriends suitcase and enquired if this was it?

Yes. Why do you have my girlfriends case I shouted back. 
There were a lot of questions going through my mind, the main one being is this thief finally developing a conscience when faced with the horrors of her victims suffering?

The eyes of my loved one bore into me and then her mouth took over. I told you I didn’t leave it in duty free she said angrily then less angrily that it was a relief to be proved right. 
I was not relived. I was angry, firstly I’d made my girlfriend out to look stupid and forgetful, secondly there was a thief on board the plane.

I should have screamed apprehend that woman, but we were locked in a plane and going nowhere so it didn’t seem necessary. 

I could either apologise to my lover or argue with the thief.

Why did you steal my girlfriends suitcase? I shouted.

Everyone turned their heads from me back to the thief. The tennis match resumed.

I didn’t steal it came the reply.
I returned the volley. 
Yes you did I can see it in your hand.
I heard a whipping sound of a hundred necks.
It’s not stolen, I took it as I thought it was someone else’s bag and I was doing them a favour.
Who is this person I countered?
I can’t find them at the moment came the weak reply.
And then I went full sarcy.
Oh really! How convenient. 
HA, I had them. Game set and match to me. Take that you causer of arguments and thief.

She then shouted an apology. I hadn’t seem that coming and I was flawed by this but my sarcasm was still high and I responded with a well placed Thanks.
It must have come out as very mean as the crowd went ohhhh.

I said sorry she repeated and I said thank you I replied, but I said this with such anger and hate that a hand came onto my arm and my poor girlfriend said leave it. No harm done and I needed to calm down.

Well there was harm done. There was a thief and if I continued to shout at them I’d postpone my slice of humble pie.

Then the plane doors opened and everything was forgotten as there was a stampede down the now found plane steps. The argument was over but without resolution. We picked up the case on our way out.

I never saw the thief and never apologised to my girlfriend. Typical me.

Picture: I aim to take only 24 pictures on any holiday in a stupid tribute to old style cameras. This trip I only took 5 and this was my best. It’s in the airport on the way home. I’m very pleased with the results