An Order To Things

Sometimes, things are meant to happen in a certain order. Traffic lights go from green to amber to red, and the cars come to a stop. The train makes stops at this station, then that station, then the other station. On a plane, the people in the first row of seats deboards, then the second, then the third. It's too bad some people aren't aware of this.

This article is inspired by something that happened the second time I went to Austin, Texas. It's also the event that triggered my desire to make this website, and it just might be the single best example of rude, inconsiderate selfishness I've ever personally witnessed. ...except for what happened on the train this week.

So I'm sitting in row 9 or so of an airplane bound for Cincinnati with my girlfriend. From there we get to wander around the airport and loiter like vagrants for a couple hours, then board another plane for the second leg of our flight to Austin. As I mentioned in the opening of this article, when a plane deboards it happens from front to back. That means we're supposed to get off after rows 1-8 have deboarded.

Rather than stand up in the aisle for that time (I had the aisle seat), we decide to remain sitting. Imagine our surprise when a black woman carrying three bags and forty extra pounds comes charging up beside me from somewhere further back in the plane. My girlfriend and I looked up at her, then at each other, then at the backs of the seats in front of us. Then I did the most reasonable thing I could do: I said to my girlfriend in a voice loud enough for the rhino next to me to hear clearly "It's a shame they don't have some kind of order you're supposed to deboard the plane in or something."

Her reply was predictable self-defense: "I have a connection to make." So I said matter-of-factly, looking her dead in the face "So do we." To this she said "I'm sorry" in a much more timid voice, then she turned back to face forward. Since we ended up right behind her while deboarding, we followed her to see where she went. Her destination was two gates to the left, for a flight leaving for Cleveland in roughly 50 minutes.

Now, I'm no flying expert, having only flown on three trips in my life, but there are a number of things wrong with this situation. First of all, Cincinnati Airport isn't that big. That means either this woman didn't know what her itinerary was and thought she had no time, or she failed to bring a watch with her. Both these things are important to do when flying! I guarantee you she felt like a moron's retarded child with syphilis when she realized she had made all that ruckus with almost a full hour between planes.

Secondly, let's suppose her next flight really was close enough that deboarding early would have made a difference. If she's a little late off the plane, she could end up stranded in a strange place: Cincinnati. The obvious question, the question we should all be asking ourselves if this is the case, is what the fuck is she thinking if she arranges a transfer with no time between planes!? You have to assume it'll take at least half an hour to get from one plane to the next one, whether it ends up taking that long or not.

If you set a flight itinerary that you know is impossible to make, you have absolutely nobody to blame but yourself. The best case scenario is you make a bee-line across the airport, arrive just in time, and spend the duration of the next flight stinking up the plane and making people want to kill you because of your embarrassing amount of BO. The more likely outcome is that you run screaming across the airport, probably knocking at least one person off-balance or to the ground, miss your next plane anyway, and stink up the entire fucking terminal with your terrible smell, vile language and vitriolic personality. You'd rather make everyone else suffer because you're bad at scheduling flights? Fuck you.

All of that is mostly personal stupidity though. The real problem isn't with the schedule, but with the actions she took in an effort to meet it. She rudely jumped ahead, making everyone on the plane wish her harm and making herself out to be a bonafide jackass, and inconvenienced everyone between where she started and where she got to, and for what? To save at most three minutes? And there's an even chance someone else on the plane is making the same connection she is. Someone who may be unstable and violent, and extremely pissed off at how rude she is. Someone who may very well be sitting next to her on the next plane.

The point behind all this is simple: common courtesy. Every plane everywhere deboards from front to back. Why the hell should she get special treatment just because she has somewhere to go? Everyone on the plane has somewhere to go, and there's no telling whose destination and purpose is more important. So you have a connection, and maybe it's even close. Big deal. You made your bed when you reserved the seats in the back of the plane, now you get to lie in it (sit in it?) by following the standard deboarding procedure. It's not right for you to inconvenience and piss off everyone else on the plane just because you have a tight schedule. After all, how would you feel if someone else did it to you?

The bottom line is that we live in a world populated by more people than just ourselves, and we have a duty to be considerate to those people. If we're nice to them, they'll be nice to someone else, and eventually it will come back as someone else being nice to us. If you treat other people like they don't matter, sooner or later one of them's going to prove that you really don't.

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