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The Art of Elbow Wars

Category: , Posted:23 Mar 2013 | 06:00 am

The world is full of stupid people. I'm not quite sure if the surging global population is resulting in a larger base of less than- zero IQs, but seemingly there are more idiots in the world today that at any other time in the history of mankind (note this is sexist and should be 'peoplekind', but that just sounds all too utilitarian).
In fact, at the moment my own personal journey into the land of Dumb and Dumber has me on an airplane headed to Singapore with roughly 170 lost souls.
Granted, this is a low-cost airline carrier, hence the odds that the ratio of idiots to available seats is higher are higher than usual. Case in point try visiting a McDonalds or a Walmart and check out how smart you feel.
Hacking out this article is not easy as my elbows are tucked in like some arcane yoga pose. Shall we call it the "armless crouching cat" or "fearless angry penguin"? I love those screwball holistic names, it beats the sheer boredom of numbers or letters.
A trip to the airport these days is not unlike a visit to Willy Wonka's idiot factory. Lines dominate any traveller's visit to Phuket International Airport and every visit now seems serendipitous in look and feel, like a line up from The Usual Suspects.
High on the list of annoyances are couples and groups of people who take on the 'divide and conquer' strategy. Each one heads to a different line and just when you see light at the end of the tunnel, the single person in front of you multiplies. My raw anger and antagonism towards these idiots who bend the rules of human decency shows no sympathy. If only I had a well concealed stun gun, this would sort out the riffraff immediately.
From rage to vent, the journey continues down with Alice into the rabbit hole of madness.
Being the punctual type, I'm often on board in the early stages and left to fend with all manner of stupidity, which goes from bad to worse. The family who have somehow managed to misplace their boarding passes during the perilous 100 meter journey from the boarding gate to the aircraft and now have to unpack all their belongings, hence holding up the entire line.
Or people with backpacks.
This is a great mystery to me.
Most of those who carry these heavy loads have far too much makeup, high heels or are just too damned old to be roughing it. I have nothing against wilderness types but these folks have just spent their holiday at an air conditioned mall. Please go out and buy a carry on suitcase and spare us those whiplash straps to the face, or damaged ears by the really big backpacks.
We can go on to those who carry on all their belonging in six plastic bags and insist on unpacking before being seated, resulting again in an angry line.
Or those who try to wheel on a suitcase, which anybody else understands is wider than the aisle. But, they try to bang their way down the chute, oblivious to the consequences.
Once seated, that's when things get interesting. Buckle up and let the elbow wars begin. Strategy plays keen on establishing territory but it's so easy to go from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat.
Reach down to tie your shoelace and you find an alien elbow has invaded your space. Or else those ignominious souls who immediately upon reaching cruising altitude slam back their seats into your face, rendering your reading or computer space useless. Again, give me a stun gun and I'll sort out this endless array of stupid people.
I may even take a moment to rant about the airlines' lack of a decent cup of coffee. We have landed on the moon, and created a monster with the Internet so why can't we get a decent cafe latte at 10,000 meters? Or that other great moment when the airline staff announce that you can get your immigration cards upon landing, all the time not mentioning that some stupid person forgot to put them on board. That's where the real thrill begins: trying to manage your carry-on bag while trying to fill out a landing card all at a medium trot.
So yes, there you have it, the sorry state of mankind in the new age of low-cost air travel.
Millions of idiots flying from country to country, or city to city oblivious to the world around them. My take is that not everyone should fly, and I'd be glad if somehow most of them stayed home. But how to cull the herd or qualify the worthy from the damned? Maybe it starts with the flashpackers or profiling people with confused looks on their faces that enter the airport.
The captain has just turned on the seat belt sign and I suddenly regress by giving the reclined seat in front of me a quick short jack kick, waking up my inglorious flying-mate. The small act of violence somehow manages to soothe the savage beast, at least for the next ten minutes.

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