The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Etiquette of Things: Things You Didn’t Know Were Things. It is based on my annoyance with society as a whole and my Angry Professor persona (catch up on all Angry Professor posts here).
Here are other excerpts:
- Sitting in the Middle When Aisle Is Available?
- Playing Your Music in Public
- Elevator Etiquette, Pushing Your Floor Number
- Seat Etiquette: Prisoner’s Dilemma
You’ve all seen it by now. A woman is sitting on an airplane with her seat reclined and the person behind her is not very happy about it. Being the gentlemen that he is, he decides to incessantly punch on her seat. The question that everyone has, including those in the XFL, is who is right?
First, Anthony is wrong. Second, if Anthony had more skills (I’m not talking people skills), he would be in the NFL and this issue would be inapplicable.
Each time I get on a plane and fly peasant, there’s a brief moment of anxiousness as I slowly recline my seat. This anxiety comes from an incident when I was a child. On a flight to Hawaii, I had found an empty row to lie across. I raised the armrest and right before I could get comfortable, a British old man yelled, “Ow! You hurt my bloody knee!” I ended up sleeping with the armrest halfway down for the duration of the flight. I still can’t understand how I hurt his knee.
Childhood trauma aside, I have yet to be told by anyone that I should not recline. It is my right to recline as much as it is the person in front of me and the person behind me. In fact, even when I’m seated in the last row and I can’t recline my seat, I do not begrudge the person in front of me who reclines. The only person I have to blame for being in the last row is myself.
In the present case, the man has no case. On the contrary, he is actually guilty of having no etiquette. He has no right to punch her chair one time let alone repeatedly. He is also a coward for doing so knowing that she could do nothing to him. If she confronted him by getting out of her seat and berating him, she would probably be blamed. The only thing she could do was stand her ground i.e., recline her chair. Likewise, I doubt he would’ve acted so tough if it was someone besides a school teacher.
The other culpable party is the flight attendant. Surely, the flight attendant must have seen the incessant punching. Why didn’t she say anything?
What would TPOL do? Anywhere but an airplane, there would be a confrontation. It’s not because I want drama, it’s because people have to learn the Etiquette of Things.
And here’s the speech I would give: