If You Recline Your Seat on a Plane, You Are a Monster

White and Red Plane Beside Clouds Low-angle Photography

I’m currently 20 minutes into a four-hour flight from Nashville to Los Angeles. The people in front of me have just reclined. Not just a little. They have full-on reclined. They have nested.

They’ve left me about three inches of leg room and a seatback screen angled in such a way that only my boobs could comfortably watch TV. My traveling companion is only slightly better off, but only because her legs are shorter.

Look, I understand that airplane seats are capable of reclining, which seems to suggest some sort of invitation. I don’t buy it. My speedometer on my car goes up to 160 miles per hour. I don’t think Nissan is inviting me to drive that fast. I’m certainly capable of eating an entire bag of fun-sized Snickers bar. I shouldn’t, though.

If we want to live in a civilized world, I think we all need to agree that there is only one appropriate circumstance in which you are okay to recline your seat: When the plane is going down.

I’d also accept reclining a seat on an overnight flight (when everybody is reclining). If you recline in other circumstances,  it’s polite to ask the people behind you. I would have said yes. But at least I’d know these degenerate humans had some basic decency!

I should have known these two were going to be Recliners. I could tell by looking at them. They are in their 60s. He’s wearing jeans and a Patagonia sweatshirt. I didn’t see the title of the book he was carrying, but I’m positive it was The Art of The Deal. She has blonde highlights and a Louis Vuitton tote. She is currently using a cashmere scarf as a pillow. I know this because she casually left the tail end dangling over my seat screen. I’ve named them Milt and Mitzi.

They sleep like babies, waking only to order cans of LaCroix. They might be nice enough people off this plane, if you can get past the undeniable fact that they are heinous.

In a plane of 150 seats, they are the only Recliners. Even the guy wearing middle school gym shorts seated next to me has managed to stay upright.

In addition to felony reclining, here is a list of other things you should never do on a plane:

  • Have excessive body odor.
  • Take off your shoes (unless you are wearing socks).
  • Cough without covering your mouth.
  • Be surprised when your steamer trunk of a carry-on doesn’t fit in the overhead.

We are somewhere over Oklahoma right now. Mitzi has just dropped the arm of her sweater on top of my tray table where I am attempting to drink flat Diet Coke. I’d like to write on it with this pen in my hand, but I have more consideration than that.

I plan to shut it in my tray table.

 

 

 

 

I Think I Want to Be Old: How to Know if *You* Have Turned Old

A fundamental rule of the universe is that old age happens overnight. One day you are young and can handily stay up past eleven, the next you have nose hair and don’t understand the plot of any Avengers movie and you think a Kardashian is a meal delivery service.

All old people are different, of course, so one can’t generalize about them as a group. But it is a fact that all old people are marked by one universal trait: They no longer care who hears them fart.

Here are six more differences between the non-old and old:

1.  Old people understand that personal comfort is a human right. Non-old people worry about how they’ll be perceived by others, which is why they do not wear elasticized pants to work.

2. Old people do not care about your party. Old people will send a note that says something along the lines of I didn’t realize you were under the impression that I liked you. I do not. I’m staying home to watch MSNBC and eat Chicken in a Bisket crackers with grape jelly.

Non-old people will attend events with people they do not like because they think social harmony is a virtue. In a pinch, they’ll make up a believable excuse: “Oh, gosh. I so wish I could attend your CrossFit themed birthday party, but I’ve agreed to bottle-feed shelter otters that day.”

3. Old people will gladly and loudly point out that nobody actually knows what a blockchain is.  They know that Twitter is an elaborate social hoax propagated by Silicon Valley.

The non-old do not question stupid things, such as raw milk, mustache pomade, and Pete Davidson, even when they suspect they are being punked.

4. The old are guided by constant low-level outrage by all of the ways the world simply makes no sense. Whoever heard of putting fake desserts on a tray at a restaurant? Whoever heard of going camping in the winter? Why isn’t there a salad bar at every restaurant? Who needs that many tattoos? Why are there holes in brand-new jeans? Whoever heard of brunch? Eat breakfast or lunch. Pick one. Why do they keep letting Tom Cruise be in movies?

The non-old will go with the flow, even if it means doing goat yoga at dawn.

5. Old people waste nothing and save everything. If they have leftovers, they will eat them even if there’s a layer of mold growing on top. The old will spend an afternoon test-driving a car to get a free set of barbecue tools. They will watch all the shows on Netflix to get their money’s worth. They will re-carpet the all-season porch with leftover carpet from the bowling alley. It will glow in the dark. And feature dancing bowling pins.

The non-old are happy to throw things away in a quest for minimalism. Old people think Marie Kondo sells frozen pies.

6. The old expect to have at least one aching body part at all times. They don’t know what mindfulness is, but they do doze sitting up while eating an ice cream cone.

The non-old practice self-care to maintain health, wellness, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s empire.

If you have discovered you are old, don’t panic. Being old is not determined by chronological age. It’s a state of mind.

As it turns out, there is great power in recognizing that the world is off its rocker. The old have seized the right to feel sure of themselves, content with their life, and at peace with the fact that they just listened to an entire audiobook on shuffle and were no more confused than if they had listened to the chapters in order.

The old have seen the most glorious and beautiful aspect of aging, something you simply cannot know until you reach the summit for yourself: When you are old, you don’t have to pretend anymore.

The truth is that brunch is stupid. Now you can say it out loud.