Monday, August 24, 2009

AIR LUDDITE

When was the last time you saw one of these babies? An entire airplane of travelers outfitted with an iPod or other mp3 player each and this fella brings his portable CD player.


When walking onto the plane, I was balancing my laptop in one paw, finishing an email, via hunt-and-peck, with the free hand. Once on the plane, typing all the while, I found and dropped into my aisle seat, a chair adjacent to the gentleman pictured above and his traveling companion, a woman with whom I could not figure out their connection. She wore a wedding band. He did not. I generously thought that perhaps he lost his and hadn't yet purchased a new one. However, they didn't speak as familiarly as spouses do. Perhaps a new affair? Perhaps coworkers? Perhaps siblings? Just good friends? He held her hand. None of the above, I don't think. They started talking about association with people that sounded like they could have been grandkids. Maybe just a weird marriage . . . After all, in the corner of the photo you can see that the fifty-something woman is reading a graphic novel, and in my inherent snobbery I think graphic novels are bizarre and would be embarrassed to be seen reading one (so if ever I do start reading them, know that I'm doing in the closet and won't be confessing that little tidbit to you).

Anyhow, when I sat down and balanced my computer on my knees to respond to just one more email before I lost the WiFi signal, I overheard the woman say, There's technology all around you, Frank. You going to survive?

He grumbled something I didn't understand, and I thought, What a loon. It can't be that for the first time in my life I'm in proximity of my first small scale, authentic luddite can it? I must be mistaken. I thought they were a myth. (I would like that you not think me patronizing for linking you to the definition of luddite; it's not the most common of words and I thought if you weren't already in the loop, perhaps you'd like to be.)

But then, an hour or so into the 5-hour flight, the dude rummaged through his bag and produced a very stinky sandwich and a Discman. So I suppose technological opponents aren't modern-day unicorns; they're just an odd endangered species.

Pity the folks traveling long distances near me. For I will eavesdrop on their conversations, mentally critique their person and choices, and when I reach true hapless boredom I will break out my phone and secretly snap their picture to mock on my blog.

11 comments:

rookie cookie said...

Of course his name is Frank. Would it be anything else?

rabidrunner said...

I'm interested in the bracelet. Is it for decoration or function? I'm also bent over in agony because I don't know what he's listening to. Deary, deary. Any guesses? Bread is prolly too hip for this guy. Maybe Captain and Tennille? Oh no. I got it. It's his "Fly" mix. Prolly has "Top of The World" by the Carpenters (which incidentally is one of the best songs to listen to when I'm in a bad mood.)

rabidrunner said...

I'm on the... top of the world
Lookin'... down on creation
And the only explanation that I find.
Is the love that Ive found
ever since you've been around

Your loves put me at the top of the world!

Jessica said...

i always wonder if people think similar things about me and my husband because i wear a wedding band, but no diamond, and he doesn't wear a band (he fidgets with it until he irritates the hell out of his finger). maybe they think we are having an affair and that i am some terrible woman cheating on my husband? we love technology though, so i suppose that makes us somewhat "normal"..

theincrediblejulk said...

i don't care what kind of technology people use on the plane, as long as they shut their damn mouths. And that they don't stink. There is nothing I hate worse than bad smells (ESPECIALLY food smells) in confined spaces. Last time we flew into Denver there was this overwhelming smell of hot dog, just in DIA (thank god it wasn't on the airplane itself) and it took everything I had to reign in the insides.

I think it started on a flight to hawaii when I was 14. This rather girthy woman was sitting next to me, and somewhere over the Pacific she busted out like nine different types of generic ration-looking food. One of these was a very strong faux-cheese whose scent still haunts me. Ever since then, i can't really be in close proximity to the food smells of strangers. Neuroses!

lindsey v said...

1998. (Is the last time I saw someone listening to a portable CD player.)

tom lindsey said...

Hilarious. How do you suppress the shutter noise?

You raise an interesting point about the wedding ring. I lost mine on day two of our marriage so I understand eschewing jewelry-- but this guy is wearing a bracelet. On the other hand, if I were in my 50's and cheating on my wife I would hope that I could attract/afford someone MUCH younger, and literate.

RR: He is listening to a self-help book. Guaranteed.

meg said...

Oh Tom, if your ringer is off, the delightful little mePhone (as I understand you and The Rabid call it) makes no shutter sound when stealing a photo.

You make an excellent point about finding a hot mistress. If you're going to cheat, make it worth your while. If ya know what I mean.

And a self-help book? Tom! Oh Tom! Where has this hilarity been all my life?

Weezie said...

When I was in grad school, I had to share a studio space with the undergrads. So to keep them from sitting near me (I am waaay too cool for them...obvi), I'd bring my old Walk-Man and listen to the radio (the horror!). I loved the weird looks they gave me when they realized I was so old (26!) that I couldn't keep up with technology. Of course, I would then jump in my car where my ipod was plugged in and ready to go!

it'sliketheweather said...

Is he looking at a Verizon training manual? Or just a mag with a double page spread? What a couple of mysteries. How many women first of all, and over 50, read comic books? At least they provided additional entertainment during your flight.

meg said...

Actually, Weather, the Verizon thing is just an ad that is pasted on the tray table. Planes with longer flights sell their tray tables as ad space. Poor man probably felt it was an assault.