How to Cope with a Talkative Seat Mate

dude  won't shut up Up in the Air — June 5, 2010 We’ve all been saddled with that guy who just won’t shut up. We smile pleasantly and nod our head and keep glancing back to our magazine – but he doesn’t get the hint.

Blab blab blab blab blab

dude won’t shut up

You can always try a revulsion tactic — something disgusting like picking you nose. But really, do we want to become that revolting person just to silence another revolting person? 2 revolting people is not a net gain.

Although one loathsome tactic did shut me the hell up once. I was sitting next to a dude on a plane and casually looked over his shoulder to see what he was reading. It was a smut novel – complete with highlighted passages.

Ewwwwwwww!  Perverse, yet effective.

I mean, who wants to engage with anyone that slimey? I emitted not a peep the rest of the trip. (Although I did keep spying over his shoulder to see how fast he read – someone needed to keep tabs on him).

Gross  girl

So really, what do you do when you’ve got nowhere to run?

Well, there are the usual suspects:

  • The Classic Earphones Maneuver – Tuning out literally
  • Engrossed in a Book – I’m sooo smart , version 1
  • Concentrating on Sudoku – I’m sooo smart, version 2
  • Feigning sleep – This is Sensei-level tactic,
      not to be attempted by rookies


the  original una bomber

the original una bomber

But the granddaddy of them all is a little move I call “Make like the Una-Bomber.”

Here’s how you “Make like the Una-bomber”:  

*Note: It is advisable to wait until you’re seated in the plane and well past security before you get on the get-up:

  • Put on your biggest pair of sunglasses
  • Grab your hoodie and put up your hood, pulling it forward so it hides most of your face
  • Never smile

I used this tactic recently on a flight from Miami to SFO. It was so effective that a casual acquaintance, who I weirdly keep running into every year or two in NYC and SF, saw me but decided not to approach.

He told me this during another random meeting at a pub featuring an impromptu Morris dance performance.

Morris Dance is another oddity in its own right.

These  people are freaks

These people are freaks
Me as una bomber
Me as una bomber

Honestly, it’s my favorite diversionary tactic. Works every time. Even the air hostesses will leave you alone, not to mention that pervert with the dog-eared porn.

Ahhhhh…silence in the friendly skies.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 7th, 2010 and is filed under How to Cope.

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