I sometimes think about how I come off to those of you who really don't know me when you read about some of my adventures. Let me assure you that I am not as impatient, grumpy, or snarky as I probably sound in these posts. I usually let it go on the surface and seethe on the inside until I can unload on Mike (and/or the blog).
Part of the problem is that I have no idea *how* to tell someone that I need some alone time on the plane. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind talking some, but I really like to read, write, listen to music, watch movies, and even sleep if I'm on a long plane ride. The thing that bothered me the most about Blabbing Betty was that she kept interrupting me when it was obvious that I was doing something.
It's one thing if you have to use the restroom. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
"I have to pee," the husband announced to BB, and he started to climb over her. I got up immediately so he didn't try to climb over me. "Thank you, Honey," he said to me as he got into the aisle. "You're a real sweetheart."
I sat down to wait for him to come back, and BB tapped me on the arm. "I should probably go tinkle," she whispered to me. I got up again. "You don't have to get up," she told me. "I can climb over you."
"I'd rather stand," I answered. Yikes.
We played the musical chairs game each of the five or six times they used the rest room during the flight. He'd decide to go, and we'd let him out. We'd sit back down, and she'd decide to go. The last few times I just stood in the aisle and stretched because I knew she was going to get up again.
"Can I ask you something?" she asked. I nodded because I had no other answer. "Why do you spend so much time in Italy?"
Now, excuse me again for being a little snarky, but why the hell did she need to bother me to ask me that when I was working peacefully. I sighed again and told her a brief version of the story.
"How can you live there if you're American?" she wanted to know. I started to explain about renting apartments, but she stopped me. "No. I mean how can you understand them if they don't speak American? Did you learn Italian?" You would all be proud that I didn't pull every hair out of my head at those two questions. Instead, I told her I spoke Spanish, had taken Italian classes, and was getting to be pretty proficient in the language.
"I can understand about 65-75% of what they say," I added.
"I don't speak anything else," she told me. "I didn't have to take a language."
Languages are a hot button with me because I think with the globalization of the world, we need to make sure our kids can compete. While
"I think that most people like to talk their own language," she told me.
"Well, of course they do," I replied. "They're more comfortable speaking their own language in social situations and such. However, in business settings and in business-related social settings, it's a big benefit to speak one or two other languages so we can communicate with people in their own language."
"I don't know," she said. "I think they like to speak in their own language about things like politics and religion."
"That's what I just said," I retorted. I'll spare you the rest of the conversation—most notably the portion when she wanted to tell me about the "JW" convention from which they were returning. "I don't talk religion," I told her.
"I should let you get back to your work," she replied.
Amen, Betty. Amen.
I thought she got the hint at that point, but as is often the case, I was wrong. After another of their restroom runs, she started talking to me before I could reopen my computer: She felt like a sardine. She was hungry. She was thirsty. She was so tired. She didn't bring up religion again, though.
"I smell pizza," she said to me. She was right. It was time for our late snack. Everyone had the same meal this time, so it was easy for the flight attendants to hand out the rectangular boxes filled with a rectangular vegetarian pizza. It smelled pretty good.
The good smell did nothing for the horrible taste. The crust was too hard and tasted like the proverbial cardboard. The toppings, tomatoes and peppers, were all salt and no taste. The cheese was a tasteless rubber chew. Mike and I took two bites each and put most of the "pizza" back in the box.
"This is awful," BB said to no one in particular.
"I'm not eating it," I said as the flight attendants arrived at our row with the beverage cart.
"I know you aren't in charge of choosing the food," Mike said to one of the gals, "but this pizza was horrible."
"You didn't like it?" the flight attendant asked.
"No one liked it," Mike replied. "Ask anyone around here."
"We didn't like it," BB agreed.
"I don't really have anything to do with the choices," the flight attendant said.
"We know that," Mike snapped, "but you can pass along that the pizza was a big loser."
"I'll do that," the gal said.
I started laughing. "My husband takes no prisoners," I said.
"That man's your husband?" BB asked me. I nodded. "I wondered why you were holding his hand at take-off," she continued. I rolled my eyes so she couldn't see me.
"You're welcome, Honey."