To lean back or not to lean back

We recently look at trip as a family. It was a splendid time, complete with sandy beach days to kayaking in the open ocean. More on that later. But first, to get there, we had to take a plane. And thankfully, the plane ride was very smooth considering we have two children who like to be up and doing things. Oliver was very happy with a gift that grandma gave him before the flight: ABC stencils (who knew a child could be entertained by a set of stencils for over 6 hours? Plus, he is still using them as I am typing this very post). And Ansel slept a good bit and was entertained by toys fairly easily. We had nothing to complain about.

But this very trip prompted a conversation between Jess and me. A conversation about leaning chairs back in airplanes. There are two types of people in this situation: (1) those who lean their chairs back and (2) those who do not.

I am in the second camp. I never lean my chair back. I feel bad about doing so and therefore never do it. The place is pretty small anyway, and if I lean my chair back that lessens the space for the person behind me by about, what is it? Like 10 millimeters? And if the person behind me is a person who does not lean their chair back, then they are really going to be feeling it like I have, on numerous flights, because, like I said before, I never lean my chair back.

Then there are those who lean their chair back. They bought the ticket. They have the right to 10 more millimeters of comfort and they are going to take it. In fact, there are those who really can't wait to get that space. They lean that chair back the very minute the captain comes on and says, "We have reached so-many-thousand feet." They do it quick and settle right in, adjusting their bodies into the most comfortable position that the extra millimeters has allowed them and continue to snooze throughout the flight. Then there are others who try to lean their chair back slowly and as kindly as possible, as if to say, "Hey you back there, I'm sorry about this but I kind of want to be comfortable. And you know, you can lean back too if you want to. Again, I apologize." They may even lean that chair back in seemingly unnoticeable increments of 3 millimeters each. And then there are those who are not apologetic at all. In fact, they kind of tease you with the lean back. They decide to lean their seat way back, trying to push it beyond the 10 millimeters, to will it beyond the 10 millimeters. But no matter how far the chair goes back, they refuse to lean their body back and settle in. No, they eat a snack or play a game or type on their computers or talk all while sitting straight up. Leaving a void in that 10 millimeters. A void of suffering for the person behind them. A void of mockery for them.

This leads me to the two types of responses a person can have when a person has pushed their chair back. But I will leave that for another time.


ash said...

No comments on this? I hope I didn't upset anyone. No judgement on whether you are a person who leans back or not. Just fun banter, that's all.

Chap said...

I was laughing all the way through that. If there weren't comments it's because people haven't read it yet! I am in your camp (probably why I was repressidly (is that word and if so did I spell it right?) giggling all the way through! You nailed it!

ash said...

Thanks Chap for the comment!

Jess said...

Because I have common decency and respect my fellow sardine can passengers, I am a no leaner.

Heather DeWitt said...

On the flight home, Andrew was seated behind the unapologetic leaner. It was a straight flight from Hawaii to DC. I wonder if the person enjoyed Andrew's knees in their back. His knees might have acted like a massage chair when we hit turbulence.

I am not a leaner. I view, not pushing my chair back as a small public service.

This post is spot on. I love how you were able to capture many of the thoughts I have had at the beginning of a flight.