There you are at the airport all checked in and waiting to board, looking forward to a few hours of anonymity and solitude. Time to read a book, watch a movie, switch off that horrendous mobile phone, have no intrusions, actually ease off and savour the flight. Might as well start the book now.

Suddenly you see this familiar face and you pretend you haven’t noticed and he is waving at you, his face a mask of delight. You groan inwardly. Hey, says the new entrant, fancy seeing you on the flight? 

Why, don’t people take planes, what’s so special about it?

What a pleasant surprise, he says, as your heart sinks. Then he parks himself next to you. Puts his bags down, then pulls out his mobile and calls his wife and says guess who is on the flight, you’ll never guess, come on guess and you could strangle him now. Then he passes the flipping phone to you to speak to his flipping wife and you flipping don’t want to and now you and she are making idiot conversation and nice, you both have each other for company.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah, I don’t want him for company.

So, what is your seat number, he says, full of energy and ready to chat.

Reluctantly you say 8C.

I am 12, he says, we can change on the plane. And it is always one of those pompous, yappy, full of of themselves types who impose on you.

So then you get on the plane and now he’s badgering the steward to change seats and turning to the passenger next to you and requesting him to please change places, if you don’t mind, we’re friends, lots of catching up to do.

And that poor stranger of a passenger, he is kind of agreeing to swap and there goes the book, the movie and the solitude.

It happened to me and I turned to the passenger next to me and said, please, if that man there ask you to change places with him, don’t, say no.

Why, you don’t like him.

I don’t dislike him, I don’t want to spend four hours with him.

And sure enough, along comes my so called good friend and asks the guy, can you please shift.



No, this is my seat, I am not shifting.

I look all sad and shrug, what can you do, some people are idiots.

Thanks I say after ‘good friend’ recedes to his row, I owe you for that.

I’ll give you a tip, says my co-passenger, next time this happens, tell him you have a severe flu and it is infectious and you don’t want to give it to him, that is what I do.

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