When I get on an airplane, I hope that my over-the-ear headphones will send the same message to strangers beside me that I hope they send to strangers on the subways or streets of New York City: I don’t want to chitchat. This isn’t meant to be taken personally — it’s a decision I make before I ever lay eyes on the passengers seated beside me. Plane rides have always been meditative for me. I prefer to zone out with the help of a good album or, if the screen before me is working (which it wasn’t on one of my most recent flights), pass the time with a movie. While I’ve never had a bad conversation with strangers that manage to strike up conversation with me during the no-electronics portions of a ride, I would have always chosen to not have any conversation at all, had I been given a choice. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
A recent Velvet Escape piece discussed the declining social nature of planes. Perhaps the in-flight media available is satiating enough for us. Perhaps the internet has us feeling so intertwined with the rest of the globe that we aren’t as interested in strangers. Perhaps our lives are becoming so saturated with talk and work and we relish time alone more than ever before. The Velvet Escape piece asks this question and I ask it, too: when was the last time you had a memorable conversation (good or bad) with someone beside you on a plane?
In order to promote the new show The Walking Dead on AMC, swarms of zombies invaded 26 cities worldwide (including my city of Istanbul, pictured above and filmed here) earlier this week, lurching around major tourist landmarks and generally freaking out passerby. The undead began their sightseeing in Taipei and Hong Kong, then hit European capitols including London, Rome, and Athens. More arose in Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, and Johannesburg, before going after American brains coast to coast from New York to the show’s premiere in Los Angeles. Check out more photos and video on the show’s blog and Facebook page.
Zombies would make ideal travelers: they can walk through airport security slowly and with no complaints, pack lightly, and don’t need to be fed or entertained on planes. If you can evade the attempts to gnaw on your flesh, they’d make better seatmates than a screaming baby or an armrest hoarder on a long flight. When there’s no more room in coach, we will all walk the earth.
See any zombies on your commutes or travels this week? Leave a comment below if you escaped unbitten. Want more Halloween dead-eyed fun? Our favorite British bear does his take on the zombie genre with Dawn of the Ted.
[Photo Courtesy of Fox International Channels]
My problem with flying stems from having really bad seatmates — the kind that read over your arm, nudge and kick you endlessly, and take eons to mess around with their luggage. And I’d sit and grit my teeth in silence.
The solution is shockingly simple: about a year ago, I accidentally wore my sunglasses the entire time we were on the plane, and I noticed my seatmate was courteous, but left me alone. One more flight confirmed it: no more eye contact means my bad neighbors leave me alone unless absolutely necessary. I can finally fly in peace.
[Photo: Flickr | Robert Thomson]