I have travelled alone a lot. And I don't mind it. Actually, I've loved it. I've experienced high maintenance my-way-or-the-highway travel companions, and all they do is piss me off, so I'd really rather travel with J, alone, or on occasions with my homies [can people really say that and take themselves seriously? I can't.] like Denise, Fadzlin and Jeremy.
I've travelled so much alone that things become automatic. When I get to the check in counter [dressed nicely], I smile, be extremely polite and then shamelessly ask for an upgrade. If I don't get one, then emergency exit, if not, then I ask for a seat in an empty row. If my luck is just screwed, then I'll settle for an aisle seat. I would have already asked for a special meal days before I fly.
After I've passed security, if I'm going on long haul, I'll change into my comfiest clothes - usually, an oversized sweater, leggings, granny underpanties, socks and Uggs. They're so ugly, but so comfortable. I'll wipe any trace of makeup off.
Finally, I'll head to the nearest 7-11, buy a 1.5 litre bottle [I like water by my side at all times when I'm sleeping] and then head to the gate.
You know when you're at the gate, and you're scanning around the place for a hot guy and pray to God that he sits next to you. Well, the Hot Guy never sits next to me. I get old women who are interested in talking all 16 hours of the trip [if she's not snoring], families with babies [I love kids, but I get placed next to Spawn of Satan a lot of times. Sometimes I think parents need to drug their kids on flights] or weird-smelling dodgy men who try and chat me up [Seriously. Never going to happen, honey.].
Here's the problem - my phone is switched off and I can't use a spoofing app to get my phone to ring to avoid conversation. The headsets haven't been passed yet so I can't plug things into my ear. We're still on the freakin' runway. Here are some strategies to deal with an annoying seatmate:
Avoid Eye Contact From the start, avoid eye contact. Looking someone in the eye is a great way to foster communication, bonding—even flirting. And that's exactly why you should steer clear of it if you want to be left alone. Don't smile, don't muster a 'hey'. Just don't. Let them think whatever they want, let them think they got a weird seatmate. Chances are, you'll never see them again. So why bother?
Start Writing I've started scribbling on the back of my boarding pass in desperation once. Yes, I'm a horrible seatmate, but it's only because I've dealt with enough close-to-choking-the-bitch situations on long haul journeys that I prefer not to start a 16-hour relationship with someone. A book used to help, but since I have my Kindle, there is a technology lull period during taxiing and take-off, the few minutes which could make or break your journey.
Give Curt Answers I've actually thought of telling my seatmate that I don't speak English, in Spanish, but later figured it wasn't a good idea in case I had to ask the flight attendant for pillows, cos' I don't know what the word for pillow is in Spanish. I have, however, figured out that if your previous signals fail and your seatmate insists on talking, just be sure to give very curt, short answers. Hopefully, he/ she will get it.
If All Else Fails, Pretend to Fall Asleep. And wake up as soon as the headsets are passed out. Wahoo!
What are your pet peeves when in transit?