Sunday, September 8, 2013
Elbow Wars and Writing on Airplanes
Posted by Jeffe Kennedy
Before I go anywhere with this week's theme, I need to say something about *next* week's topic: Flash Fiction Ad Libs. Using three words provided by you, our readers, we will each write a piece of flash fiction. I think we should all use the same three words. So suggest your word or set of words throughout the week and I'll throw them all into a randomizer and choose three for next week.
This ought to be entertaining.
This week, the Topic-Meister asks, What's the Worst Place You've Written?
Now I'm sure that our intrepid Whores, like James and Allison, will have tales of writing from gutters outside nightclubs, hospital beds, underneath the counter at Starbucks, etc.
This is not me.
I know. I'm kind of a princess this way.
I don't write well away from my desk. While I'm pretty consistently productive in the quiet of my home, I don't hit nearly the same levels anywhere else. Coffee shops irritate me, as much as I love Starbucks otherwise. While I can write in the car (if someone else is driving), it's harder to concentrate. Don't get me started on the gutters outside nightclubs.
Really, the only place I can productively write besides at home, is hotel rooms and airplanes.
Guess which gets my vote for worst place?
Oh my god - save me from the elbow wars.
See, I'm a fairly petite woman. I'm 5'4", reasonably svelte, so I don't take up all the room in my airplane seat, even as narrow as they are these days. I also have traveled enough for the day job that I have decent enough status on my fave airlines to get primo seat-selection.
I love me a nice window seat.
But those folks relegated to the admittedly cramped hell of the middle seat? They see me and salivate. Yes, guys, especially you big guys, I'm looking at you. And no, you're not eyeing me with delight because I'm so damn cute. You want my airspace. I can smell it on you. You're a Space Invader.
I read a long time back - and I believe it's fair - that the middle seat gets both armrests. I'm fine with that. Have the armreest. But you don't get to hang your elbow on my side of the armrest. Or lean over, so your shoulder is on my chair. This situation is exacerbated when I'm trying to type on my little netbook.
Thus the elbow wars.
I've thought about creating a little card, maybe with a piece of candy attached, that says:
I'll be your window-seat companion for this flight. The armrest between us is all yours. However, I would appreciate if you otherwise keep to your seat and don't overlap into my space.
I suspect this is too passive/aggressive. Alas.
Once a Twitter friend offhandedly said something along the lines of "since I can't use my laptop on the airplane." I asked why she couldn't and she said because she thinks it's rude - not enough space.
It made me wonder, am I rude to try to write using my netbook on an airplane? The Space Invaders overlap my seat, even if I'm just reading, though I can better lean away. Still, I think - why is this my problem? Shouldn't my seat be my seat and if I can stay inside my invisible borders, I can do as I like?
What do you all think - what ARE the rules of politeness here? And remember to suggest you Random Words for Flash Fiction Frolics next week!