What to do about loud stinky people

August 8, 2006

OK, this post is a little off topic for my blog but I figure we’re all allowed a lighter look at life every now and then.

I took my last trip out from Austin to California yesterday for my “old job” before starting seminary.

I didn’t want to– I’ve been up all weekend with a stomach flu and fever, and getting up to get on a plane yesterday was about the last thing on my list of “things I really want to do right now.”

But I laid in bed until the last possible moment, weighing the pros and cons of skipping out on the trip, hoping that somehow I would magically feel better by procrastinating and making myself rush around at the last minute frantically getting ready for my flight, and eventually got myself pulled together (is it just me, or is it some kind of human genetic requirement to always get up at the last possible minute when leaving on a morning flight so that you’re always nervously looking at the clock on the way to the airport?).

Anyway, I finally got there and was so relieved to get on the plane.  I had a change of planes in Dallas, the airport from hell, so the first leg was very short– but I was looking forward to getting on the plane and napping a little because I was still a little queasy.

I settled in my seat, and was immediately overcome by an overwhelming stench of unbathed human body odor.  Not one to be visibly shaken by much of anything, I calmly checked all around me– because of course it was really important to know who was emitting the foul stench so I could secretly wish them clean and be angry with them in my head during the remainder of the trip (as if that were to do any good).

I couldn’t find them.  At first.  My neighbors were clean enough- I knew this after nonchalantly leaning one way and then another and doing a “sniff test” to see if the odor was coming from either of them.  Nope.  That left me one conclusion.  It had to be a row in front of or behind me, and since they were further away it had to be REALLY bad.  And this stink wasn’t helping my stomach.  But at least my quest was giving me something to do since I couldn’t sleep.

I finally located a suspect- the person in front of me.  I can’t say why exactly- I just had a feeling that she hadn’t bathed in a while.  But I needed confirmation.  Problem was, I couldn’t get close enough for my sniff test to do its work, and if I did and my guess was right, that concentration of the stink was liable to set my stomach off and who knows what would have happened.  I was going to have to wait for just the right opportunity.

I settled down and finally napped for a while, forgetting about my little private investigation for a while, and we finally unboarded.  Who knew fresh air could smell so good!

I got on my next plane- the long leg of my trip- and finally was able to get some real sleep.

But then I woke to this strange cackling sound.  Once I was fully awake I couldn’t figure out where it had come from.  Then I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I waited patiently.  Had I imagined that noise?  Had I dreamt it?  Was it a plane malfunction indicating an impending crash?  I had just about assumed I had imagined it, and there it was again– a REALLY loud cackle- cackle isn’t the right word.  A really loud hysterical laugh, echoing from one end of the cabin to the other.

AHA.  Right in front of me.  Right here on the same flight- new plane, new destination.  The stinky lady.  One seat over, but only one row up.  She has headphones on and is laughing outrageously at the scenes from David Letterman on the video monitor.

Apparently she likes late night TV.

She continues laughing so loud that I notice one of my neighbors trying to peek over the seat to see if she is watching some other program.  The three of us look at each other and shrug.  I’m actually laughing myself– not at the program but because she’s funny.

It actually makes me happy.  I don’t care if she stinks anymore- anybody who can enjoy themselves that much deserves a little leeway (although I wish she hadn’t woken me up).

I never did get confirmation that she was the stinky lady, but I’m pretty sure I got a whiff as we were deplaning in California.

So what to do about stinky loud people?  I dunno.  It was just a shorter title than “My experience on the plane with a lady I think may have been stinky and laughed inappropriately loud at the David Letterman show”.



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