Airplane Etiquette: Ssh Him, Or Ssh Me?

I have flown cross-country with a toddler several times now. I know how difficult it can be, and how very, very loud it can be, even if the parents are doing absolutely everything in their power to be as respectful as possible of the other passengers. Which is to say: I am not an especially intolerant person when it comes to in-flight disturbances.

But OH MY GOD did the flight on Saturday ever make me insane. So I have a question for you, because I suspect that pounds and pounds of pregnancy hormones combined with the fact that I had just dragged unreal-heavy bags through an unreal-large airport makes the validity of my emotional response system a little…untrustworthy.

On Saturday morning, I came very close to going postal on what seemed to be possibly the nicest person ever. This is kind of out of the ordinary for me, so I need to know if you think I’m crazy or totally justified in the postal-ness.

OK, so the guy sitting behind me? Seemed really nice. Like, talking-about-kids-and-school-and-that-time-his-mom-made-him-sad nice. Except that talking (to the random woman sitting next to him, not to me)? Went on for FOUR HOURS. Like, without a pause for breathing. I tried earplugs, earphones, wrapping my head turban-style in a blanket and jamming the corner of the upright handrest into the side of my head to block the sound…and this man’s voice still made it through. So seriously, I want to know: If your seatmate on an airplane talks for four straight hours, even if he is super-sweet…are you allowed to be annoyed? Or am I just a dandelion fluff of a person who can’t handle what is, in reality, a totally normal thing (a person talking)?

Second question, working under the assumption that I’m not crazy and that four hours’ worth of speech in an enclosed environment is actually something that one should not do: …What (if anything) would you have said? If the guy had been obnoxious I would certainly have done my blinky-eyed super-high-pitched non-threatening voice (“Ummmm excuuuuse me, I am sooooo sorry to bother you but I soooorrrt of – <blink blink> – was trying to…sleep?”)…but he wasn’t making speeches about drugs and money and sexual conquests. He was talking about, like, Breaking Bad. And his voice wasn’t even loud, exactly…it just carried. Into my eardrum.

So I couldn’t say anything, and so I didn’t, and ended up stewing in a pit of annoyance for the four hours (no pausing, no breathing) it took him to decide (after much debate) which movie to watch.

I’m just curious whether you think I’m crazy. Is it okay that I sort of hated this very nice man? Because by the time I got off of that plane, let me tell you: I hated him, I hated his kids, I hated his mom who made him mad once, and I REALLY hated The Grand Budapest Hotel, because in case you were wondering, when that movie ended that talking started right back up, and I now know all of the major plot points, of which there are oh my god, so many.

So: am I crazy, or am I a dandelion fluff?

I need to know.

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