Airtiquette / Reality isn’t real

Day 19: Tokyo > Berlin

Courtesy of Zoë Noble Photography

I’m writing this by the light of my iPhone so as not to disturb the guy sat next to me on the flight home. I’m sure he’ll be OK though, because he’s wearing a sleep mask, has closed the shutter on the window of the emergency door in front of us, and is making the most of my armrest.

I feel like rows of aircraft seats should be missing one armrest, so there is only one per person. And those should be clearly marked, to indicate the seat with which they belong.

The current system, or lack thereof, just isn’t fair. It favours the greedy and inconsiderate, the people who will go ahead and claim space for their elbows, without a second’s thought for their neighbours. If you’re unlucky enough to be sat in the middle of a row, and happen to be someone who a) is aware that other people exist, and b) care about them, or fairness, or at least the appearance of fairness — then you are fucked.

Of course, there are solutions. A normal person would say something. Even a weirdo like my wife would jut her pointy elbows into the other person until they relinquish some room. But that takes a lot of arm-hair-on-arm-hair contact.

I’m so scared of confrontation, that I’ll avoid any kind of not-even-confrontational awkwardness. Also, my thoughts get trapped in a loop where I hate people’s lack of acknowledgement so much that I’ll refuse to force them into acknowledging me. If you’ll only recognise that I exist if I say “HEY, I EXIST”, well that’s not consideration; that’s worthless.

Also, my reading and listening has been leading me down some weird paths, to where I’m wondering what it means for me and for others to even exists, both as individuals and collectively.

I know that my reality is entirely of my brain’s construction, and that it’s placed me at the centre of that “reality”. And the same is true for everyone else, whether they recognise it or not. So my ego thinks of itself as considerate to a fault, overly concerned with my impact on others. And those others seem so very different, because I don’t have a window into their brains, their thoughts and feelings.

Chances are, the guy next to me just put his elbows on the armrests because, hey, that’s what they are there for. I still think he’s a dick, but given that reality isn’t real, what does that even matter?

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