Tuesday 1 May 2007

She's harmless and innocent, so why do I want to kill her?

Ryanair cutbacks
It's just as well that security is so tight at airports these days. The bloke at the baggage X-ray machine told me my Olbas Oil and Anti-Snoring spray had to go.
I shrugged and didn't bother to ask how eucalyptus oil in two differing forms might constitute a threat to mankind, while my snoring might well do just that.
Anyway, in retrospect, I am pleased that he was on the case, and I am delighted that I do not at this moment have a gun in my possession.
Because if I did I would most certainly use it. A pistol would do, but ideally a nice Uzi would be more pleasing. Seeing her shplattered with bullets and riddled with holes.
Then again, probably not such a good idea to shoot too many rounds when you're 33,000 feet up in a pressurised metal box.
One good shot to the head. A deadly blow delivered with cold-blooded venom. That'd do it.
The worst thing is, I'm sure she's a really lovely woman. She absolutely does not deserve to be ruthlessly murdered for anything she has done in the last hour. But I can't help it. I want her dead, gone out of the Universe.
I was the first person to board this Ryanair flight. As a passenger carrying only hand luggage, I had scored the right to check-in online, when I booked my ticket, and printed my own boarding pass at home.
This meant that not only could I go straight through to security and my departure gate, avoiding long queues in the main Departures Hall, but also I was able to join the Priority Boarding queue for the plane.
Mind you, as you might imagine, I didn't feel too great when a young woman with three tiny kids was told she could not join the Priority Boarding queue. She protested that people with small children could always board early.
The sad, embarrassed and harassed ServisAir worker explained that it was not up to her; it was Ryanair's choice; there was nothing she could do; contact the airline; sorry.
Ryanair changed everything about flying.
What was once an expensive and special treat has now become a cheap and dehumanising chore.
Last week on the radio I listened to a mother giving out about how Ryanair had taken her off a flight because she refused to pay ¤75.00 for a wheelchair and helper for her son to board the plane.
Despite explaining to ground crew that she had her own wheelchair, and that she could carry her six year-old cerebral palsied son herself, they told her neither was possible.
Ryanair owner Michael O'Leary has performed miracles. This year his airline will carry over 50 million passengers (more than British Airways) on 454 routes over 24 countries. In tandem, his airline regularly scores humanitarian own-goals, and often makes its passengers feel like miserable cattle.
O'Leary takes the stand declaring that you get what you pay for. On this particular occasion, I have secured a return flight to London for only 85 quid all-in, and now, because my only bag is on my shoulder, I fit Ryanair's' Perfect Passenger profile, and get to board early.
So there I am, sitting smug and sound at my window seat when she comes along, tapping me on the shoulder, asking if there is anyone sitting in the other two seats.
An innocent and perfectly reasonable request, but her tone and style make me want to throw my hands up in the air and declare
"Ja! Ich bin Jude! Ich bin Jude! Point me to your death camp! I'll come quietly!"
As to exactly why she elicits this reaction I cannot tell you. She's in her fifties, of medium height and build, with grey hair, a white blouse and brown trousers. She's a completely typical west of Ireland farmer's wife. Abrupt she was, but nasty, no. Not a bone of her body was evil, and yet, a hour later, I wanted to kill her.
Having secured permission to sit, she brought along her slightly larger friend, who sat next to me, and placed herself on the aisle seat.
She could have been one of those souls you see on RTE when the Angelus sounds, hesitating whilst doing some kind of inane task to look contemplative and heavenward as the bells rang out over the Haemorrhoid Isle.
From the moment the plane's wheels left the ground her mouth did not stop farting words.
When she talked, every single sentence was prefixed with that stalwart of Joe Duffy listeners
'Wayll ennyweh...'
and when I say every sentence I mean every single sentence.
'Wayll ennyweh...''Wayll ennyweh...''Wayll ennyweh...''Wayll ennyweh...''Wayll ennyweh...'
Thankfully she was polite and respectful enough to allow her friend to do most of the talking, but even then she managed to turn your friendly neighbourhood colyoomist from an accepting and liberal human into a nascent insane killer.
Every two words, not three, not five, but every two words spoken by her companion were accompanied by
'Yes yes yes.'
Sometimes she gave in to the rebellious nonconformist nutter insider her, and varied her song to sing
'Yes yes yeh.'
Hence the soundtrack ran something like this: 'So Bridget-'
'Yes yes yes.'
'-told Tom-'
'Yes yes yeh.'
'-that she-'
'Yes yes yes.'
'-was cooking-'
'Yes yes yeh.'
And so it went. The two harmless women chatted away in easy patter, of topics jam and Am-Dram, while the bloke to their right went silently and seriously apoplectic.
Was she like this all the time? Did she not realise how annoying, and indeed rude it was?
Had not one person in her life admonished her, or ever pointed out that it really kind of helps to be able to get at least half a sentence out of your mouth without the person you are speaking to doubling your words for theirs.
Or maybe it's just me. Maybe somebody should accuse me of being an intolerant grumpy old bastard from wayback, who has lost the ability to enjoy the company of his fellow human.
'Yes yes yeh.'


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