Five ways a Jackass can stress us out while travelling, and what we can do about it.
We could write an entire library about travel and the Jackasses you meet (or become) along the way. We travel for a living, so we find ourselves in planes, trains and rented automobiles more days than not.
Getting from A to B is a Jackass minefield. We’re all just trying to get where we’re going on time, without losing our cool. Air travel is particularly stressful, bringing together an expensive purchase, long lines, a ton of strangers, each with their own agenda, close quarters and being faced with our own mortality. It’s basically a Jackass stew.
How we react to the frustrations of travelling shape the way we interact, and most importantly whether we pay the Jackassery of our seatmate Carol with the emotional support squirrel, forward. We all need to be Jackass Whisperers – snuffing out the purveyors of pet peeves, before their attitudes spread.
So, after years of research with no arrests, here is our Travel Survival Guide, AKA our top five ways Jackasses stress us out while travelling, and what we can do about it. For each, there will be a Jackass Reaction – that pays the attitude forward, and the Whisperer Reaction – that stops the spread.
- The Jackass thinks children should be seen and not heard
No one likes to travel beside a crying baby. Not even another crying baby. You’re going somewhere important enough to defy gravity to do it. You’ve awoken, driven in traffic, dragged your belongings through security. There were lines and waiting and an unexplainable anxiety, even though you don’t have any drugs, weapons or fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ve removed your shoes in public. All you want to do is watch a movie on a tiny screen and eat bad food off tiny cutlery, in peace. So when they find themselves sitting beside a crying baby and their apologetic parent, this Jackass just can’t keep their angry eyes to themselves.
Jackass Reaction: You threaten a baby.
Whisperer Reaction: You smile, pick up fallen toys and try your best to help out the worn-looking parent. We were all crying babies once. Besides, you packed your noise cancelling headphones in your carry on.
- The Jackass never gives up their seat
This Jackass never gets out of their own head to look around them. Usually we support this kind of keep-it-to-yourself personality, but this is our exception. If someone could use that seat a little more than you, get up, buttercup.
Jackass Reaction: You walk over and sit in their lap. Clearly they’ve voided all rules of common decency, so you may as well teach them a lesson. Grab their hands and try to clip them together around you like a seat belt. After all, safety first.
Whisperer Reaction: You give up your seat, offering it loudly enough for others to see and hear. “Good example” is your middle name.
- The Jackass boards a plane
Now boarding group Jackass! They stand up half an hour before boarding and crowd the entryway. They show no concern for others, for airport staff, or for the fact that they’re actually boarding group C. Once on board, they commit every overhead-bin crime against humanity. They squish a giant bag into the overhead bin, which we assume they believe has a tiny Houdini inside it, ready to magically transform their duffle bag into a tote. Without concern for others, they flail madly, hitting fellow passengers with their bag, elbows and belly, as their shirt rides up.
Jackass Reaction: You take a photo of that bare, hairy midriff, tag it #PlaneMoron with your flight info and seat number and hope the internet finds him.
Whisperer Reaction: You smile because you’re sitting in first class. Can’t swing a first class seat? Your preparedness, excellent packing skills and latte make every seat feel luxurious.
- The Jackass makes out in the elevator
This Jackass treats hotel hallways, elevators and the check-in desk as their own personal space. Even with the plutonium-grade insulation we assume they think is in the walls, we can see and hear them fighting (or, shall we say, the opposite of fighting) with their significant other in any of these places.
Jackass Reaction: You do what Scott did recently. You open the hotel room door while standing in your robe and stare quietly at them until they notice you.
Whisperer Reaction: You invest in some ear plugs, and if it gets out of hand, you contact hotel security. They’re used to it, and you don’t need to get into an altercation in your bathrobe. Again.
- The Jackass has arrived
Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the flight is over! This Jackass takes that seat belt off as soon as they hit the tarmac and stand up. They muscle ahead of everyone and pull their giant carry-on out of the overhead bin, elbowing and bumping along the way. Deplaning is about survival of the fittest, patience be damned!
Jackass Reaction: You stand up and do your best Roadblock from G.I. Joe impression, running into the prematurely standing passenger with the force of an offensive lineman on gameday.
Whisperer Reaction: You stay in your seat and let the stewards deal with this guy. Some people are just the worst.
Whether on the road, in the air or at a hotel, travel brings out the colicky baby in all of us. So take your seat, adjust your mirrors and for the love of tiny bags of peanuts, remember to pack your sense of humor. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
For more Jackasses and reactions, at work, at home and on the road, check out The Jackass Whisperer by Scott and Alison Stratten. You can also submit your favourite (or not so favourite) Jackasses at http://www.JackassWhisperer.com or email them to email@example.com.