I have a lot of empathy with The Incredible Hulk. Green lesions aside, he exists in all of us. Don't deny it; everyone has a trigger, a situation that will turn you from a happy human into a spinning, short-tempered Tasmanian Devil.
I'm pretty relaxed in most situations but there is one where I'm aware that I mutate into the worst version of myself. My catalyst happens to be spending time at the airport or on long haul flights. I'm just not good at sitting around and doing nothing except drinking bad coffee.
While others are happily browsing the duty-free, I am trying desperately not to throttle my fellow travellers. I'm ashamed to admit that my internal dialogue goes something like this:
'Look, you imbecile, you are approaching airport security with a Spar bag full of huge glass bottles. Trust me, you will not be able to convince the security guard to let them through. Why are you doing this to me?'
'Why are you spending so much time debating what size Toblerone to buy? It's the big one, people, always the big one. Unless you don't actually like the person you are buying it for and in which case, can I direct you towards the tacky keyrings?'
And my personal favourite:
'Your child looks like a skittle sitting on that trundle-case thing; I really want to give him a little shove as I walk past. Would that be ok, it'd help me relax?'
I'm sorry, I can't help myself. I think it's because I can't escape; there is no leaving once you're in. And I'm terrified of the morons who clap when the plane lands; I'm terrifed they'll make me one of them.
I've spent a lot of time living abroad in Grenoble, Sydney and London. I've flown on back to back flights from Sydney to Dublin more times than I care to remember, becoming more delirious and saucer-eyed with every stopover on the way. I once spent four hours straight drinking wine and watching the equivalent of Thai Vevo in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. By the end, I knew the entire dance routine to the latest music chart entry. I swear it almost broke me. Not to mention those poor people who were sitting beside me and were lucky enough to be, eh, entertained by my nifty footwork.
And then we arrive at the scrummage to actually get onto the flight. I always wait until last, confused by passengers who partake in this scene akin to something from The Hunger Games, praying to the luggage gods that their bags won’t be the ones to be sacrificed.
Onboard I give up trying to stow my bag in the vicinity of my seat, that would take the fun out of the game of Musical Bags we play before we disembark. I scrunch up in my seat like the plaster cast of a Pompeiian volcano victim and I brace myself for the treats that my fellow passengers have in store for me.
And invariably Skittle Child makes a return at this point, sitting behind me and intent on inserting his foot into my spine. To be fair, I might deserve that (though I'm not without understanding; I once flew my three-month-old nephew from Sydney to Dublin and I didn't try to skittle him even
But one woman managed to up the awful air ante recently from her perch in 22B.
Skittle Child's got nothing on this lady.
Congrats to the ponytailed young woman in seat 22B. You've invented a whole new way to be awful at 35,000 feet. pic.twitter.com/VWTPMI5JrM
— Dante Ramos (@danteramos) March 29, 2016
Dante Ramos (great name), a Boston Globe columnist saw this sight in front of his partner's screen and posted it on social media.
‘Up to that point, the person in 22B hadn’t attracted my attention at all,’ he told Metro.
‘Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume she didn’t realise that her, er, readjustment would affect anyone else. At first I thought, “What *is* that?” It took us a few moments to figure out that it was another passenger’s hair.'
‘For another few moments, we marveled at the ridiculousness of it. I took a photo, because that’s what you do these days when something absurd happens.’
The passenger was playing a game on her phone and seemed oblivious to the problem until Ramos asked to remove the offending hairy item.
I think it's best to give 22B the benefit of the doubt in this case.
And possibly a really tacky Incredible Hulk keyring on arrival.
Is anyone a more impatient flyer than I? C'mon, tell me - there's a big Toblerone in it for you.