The International Language of Disdain

For me, there is nothing to feel upset or bad about when you board an aircraft destined for a tropical location, but as myself and my pal were to find out recently, not all share our impending joy.

We boarded out flight from Singapore to Phuket, fuelled with both excitement and one screamingly cold and delicious glass of champagne, which is our pre-flight ritual. Some rub the medal of Saint Christopher when travelling, and some take a more chemical approach in the way of a cheeky valium, but a glass of bubbles has always worked for us and that is our story and I am sticking to it.

The hostie directed us to our seats in the packed flight and as we squeezed ourselves through a tide of bodies, we spotted the two empty seats. One aisle seat and one middle seat. And there, sitting on the window seat, was a small woman of European descent. Here eyes grew as big as saucers as we approached and if I were to be a mindreader, hers would be saying “OH DEAR GOD NO! DO NOT SIT NEXT TO ME…” as was the look I used to get when I was going down the aisle years ago, with a two-year old and a baby strapped to my chest.

We gave her the awkward greeting you give to a stranger who you are going to spend the next few hours with which is basically to smile and apologise for doing sweet fuck all apart from even existing. Her lips puckered up like a cats asshole, as she turned in her chair to her friend sitting behind us and screeched something in a foreign language which I suspect was the exact opposite of “I am so pleased these svelte young ladies are sitting next to me…”

After doing the dance of disruption, getting bags put in the overhead lockers, fart assing around with seatbelts and water bottles, sitting still for four seconds before you realise that you have left your book in the bag in the overhead lockers, getting up and stopping the flow of passengers trying to get past you as you retrieve your book as you again apologise to everyone within ear shot, you finally settle in.

Budget airlines have notoriously small seats and both Mrs Goodman and myself are not notoriously small, (we are the Aussie average size 14 – 16) yet we sat very still, keeping our arms close to our side as to try not to upset our fellow passenger any more that we had.

By merely existing.

But while we could not understand exactly what she was screaming across us to what I believed to be her husband on the other side of the aisle, I understand the international language of disdain.

Girlfriend was not happy.

And as the flight commenced, she gave us one final look that would shrivel the nuts off David AND Goliath,  before donning some oversized sunglasses and falling asleep.

About an hour into the flight, her husband tapped me on the shoulder and thrust into my hand what I could only assume was our friend’s passport and arrival card. I handed it to Mrs. Goodman who looked at the sleeping lady. We both started to panic. Did we dare wake the lady who already hated us so much? Or do we just sit and wait, watching her sleep until she woke up naturally before presenting her with her documents and a smile.

Turns out that we didn’t have to worry about that as she almost immediately opened her eyes, removed her sunglasses and snatched the paperwork from Mrs. Goodman’s hands.

And then a flight attendant handed Mrs. Goodman and I a full-sized Mars Bar which we made short work of under the disgusted glare of our fat shaming pal.

Mrs Goodman’s Granny used to always say that you “Attract more bees with honey than vinegar” but sometimes, no matter how much honey you pour on yourself, some bees prefer the vinegar.

Do you understand the international language of disdain?

Ever sat next to a stranger on a plane and didn’t enjoy the experience?