Diaries Magazine

Fighting the Battle of Who Understands Less.

Posted on the 28 January 2014 by Ellacoquine @ellacoquine

fighting the battle of who understands less.
 illustration by jim darling.
Back in Paris and it feels pretty good. Aside from the stiff neck that has me moving like a robot, and the chilly and wet weather Paris winter is gracing us with, I'd say I'm in the full swing of 2014.
Unfortunately, my trip over was not as smooth as the transition of getting back into town has been. In fact, it was pretty much fresh hell. 
Check it out. It was the first day of my lady friend and I had started antibiotics (for something unrelated), which had left me light-headed. When collecting my ticket at JFK, the gate-agent noticed I was a bit flushed and was kind enough to put me in an open back row in coach so I could lie down once we took off. This is seldom the case so when it does happen, it's the golden ticket; the next best thing to flying premium.
I settled myself into the end seat comfortably and decided to make a trip to the restroom before take off. Upon my return, there was a young guy, my guess he was in his early 20s, sitting in the middle seat, to right of mine. My bag that was there before had been placed on the floor. My first assumption was that a last minute ticket had been purchased or the gate agent was mistaken and the row was not free. No big deal. I was disappointed, but it happens, right?
But no.
Per this guy's chat that he was having over me with his brother who was sitting in the next aisle to my left, he boasted that he just decided to move seats. His explanation: pourquoi pas?

Okay, so the other two seats were not officially mine, nor were they his. I get it. It was the fact that his arrogance allowed him to move his seat along with my things just because? That, was what irked me.
During a long flight you eventually get used to whomever is sitting next to you, where you just co-exist or many times in my case strike up a cordial acquaintanceship with another polite passenger. Sadly, this was not one of those times. 

The kid was a nightmare. During take-off, he was sending text messages, which made me nervous. Who was he contacting? He was rude to the flight crew, demanding his "food" during the beverage service, in which the flight attendant slammed down a packet of ChexMix and said, "Here. Food." And in a total Larry David moment because I just I couldn't resist anymore, I asked him why he insisted on moving his seat, in which he told me to "go make fuck off" and that my French sucks.
Go make fuck off? And it was my second language that was lacking?

You guys, we weren't even halfway over Boston.

I had put off attempting sleep until after our meal came, and struck up conversation with the new mother in front of me whose sweet infant seemed more acclimated to flying the young guy. Well, our chat was disturbing him, the boy who voluntarily chose to sit next to me.
"Can you please shush up?"
"Why not? I am tired. I don't understand when you speak French."
"T'as pas compris 'non'?"
"No. I didn't understand."
"Mais tu me réponds?"
"Yes, I responds you, but I don't understand when you speak French."
"C'est quoi ce jeu?"
"It is no game. I just don't understand when you speak French."
"Okay. Tu es un petit con."
"You a psychopath."
"This time of the month, yeah, you pretty much summed it up."
My ego doesn't prevent me from switching to English if someone doesn't understand my French, but the fact that he was responding exactly to the words he was so adamant about not understanding just made me push the French even more. I know, how old am I?
Knowing that this was going to be an even longer flight if I continued to stoop down to his level and with my head starting to spin, I leaned back in my chair and took deep breaths in an effort to ignore the reality mere centimeters away from me. Letting my eyes daze off as my head tilted to my left, they were met with a set of eyes weighing heavily upon mine. Jolted, I refocused to find his brother, staring at me with death daggers. Now what was his problem? Not breaking the stare, because you know, I'm a psychopath, I continued the stare down for a solid five minutes before he punctuated his rage by flipping me the finger. In slow motion.

The remainder of the flight was dotted with little messages from them. I woke up to find his dirty food tray and drinks on my tray while he slept somewhat comfortably on his, my blanket was wet, he turned my reading light on to shine on me, and I can't confirm this, but I think he may have put my seat in the upright position. If I was in better form, I totally would have retaliated. I grew up with all boys, so I have been trained by the best to handle these situations, I just didn't have it in me.
Before landing, I felt an aggressive tap on my shoulder, and before I could lift my eye mask to see what he could possibly want, he asked if I had seen his headphones. In an exaggerated display, I lifted my sight-hindering apparatus, and turned to him, "I don't understand when you speak English." As much as I want to say that I chose not to tell him to go make fuck off because I am more evolved than that, I can't. I simply forgot.

I practically kissed the ground at CDG and couldn't get home sooner to plunge into my bed. As much as I would like to say it's the end of those brothers, I can't. Paris is a small town. I will see them again. That, I'm pretty sure about.

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