Friday, August 13, 2010

It's a Parallel Universe

Who doesn't love a nice long plane trip in cozily intimate quarters with strangers intent on exhibiting all of their nasty habits? I do admit to enjoying a loud talker or two on a plane or train, and I have been happily entertained by subway performers. It's all grist for the mill. Right?

Saturday, I returned from a day-long plane trip from California, and I realized how much those passengers on the airplane mirrored the behavior of my first grade class.

First of all, there's the lining up thing. We're all going to the same place. The front of the plane is going to get there at the same time as the back of the airplane, so why do we have to push and shove each other with our giant, should-have-been-checked carry-on? Next time someone pushes me while they're frantically trying to get ahead, I'm going to get out out my teacher voice and say, "We keep our hands and feet to ourselves."

The following directions thing is almost identical on the plane and in first grade. As soon as the flight attendant starts giving the emergency directions, the passengers start talking. Next time, I might have to speak up with my teacher voice and say, "can anyone repeat what she just said?".

Then there's the snack thing. My first graders live for snack time. Have you ever seen the frantic eyes of the airplane crowd when the flight attendant is going down the aisle with the cracker box? People are practically standing on their seats, thinking he will run out or (gasp) skip them. And when he does arrive at their row, they desperately forget their first grade manners and grab as many as they possible can, as if they'll never eat again. (Okay, I'll give them that one. Who knows if you will get to eat at all on the airplane?)

And, of course, there's the bathroom thing...Just like in first grade, as soon as one person gets up to go, everyone gets the idea in their head.

And then, we have the Diva. If she's going to complain, why not just fly first class or a private jet?

My final observation has more to do with the staff room at school which, as I've pointed out before, people will eat a two month old tuna casserole brought from the back of someone's refrigerator and placed up for grabs on the staff room table. On the first leg of my flight, the plane already had passengers on it from a previous stop. The flight attendant held up a half a sandwich left by someone. A man (with absolutely no shame on his face) raised his hand and placed dibs on it. True story. I couldn't bring myself to turn around and actually watch him take a bite.

Maybe when I retire from teaching, I can start offering training at the gate.

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