Sunday, August 24, 2014

Silence Is Golden...For Some

A few years ago I took a plane flight across the Tasman Sea. The young lady who sat next to me never acknowledged me or made eye contact at any stage of the journey. At the end of the flight, we all stood up and took our bags out of the storage compartments above. However, there seemed to be some delay and we all stood waiting by our seats, unable to move into the aisle. There was a bit of talking between people travelling together but it was overall quite subdued.

The young lady next to me still uttered no word. She was not particularly attractive and young enough to be my daughter so no reason to think anything if I said anything to her. So I decided to test her stoicism, and made a comment about the long wait. Her eyes flashed at me and she had a look of offence that I would dare say anything to a stranger, even one who had shared a three hour flight with and now a small footwell space between seats. She said nothing and turned her back on me.

I looked around and there were all these people standing patiently, saying nothing. Looks on faces indicated impatience, but resigned acceptance. Most of all, they wanted silence. Fellow humans, who would never see each other again once having disembarked. Nothing to be lost in being civil, even making a comment to lighten the occasion.

The problem sorted, the travelers started filing out. Some courteously letting others go first, others just looking straight ahead. A short pause in life to observe human reaction in a confined space. There was no need to interact with someone you were forced to spend a journey with, so they didn't. I view that as a shame. It is the way things are.

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