A m a z i n g.
Becoming a huge Steve Jablonsky fan
I was on a connecting flight from San Francisco to Austin just this wednesday. Its a 3 and a half hour flight, and after getting almost 5 hours of sleep on the previous flight, I was looking forward to reading or otherwise getting some work done on the long last leg back home.
I had a window seat, and this smaller (about 5”6/7) gentleman was seated next to me in the aisle seat. He had a Jacket on, clean cut, and some wired spectacles … he was’t particularly stylish (jacket was a bit too big, tweedy, pants were too baggy and had no break in them) but you could tell that he had put the effort in, and he carried an air of self-importance that you see in say a bouncer at a very nice club or something, so I assumed he was some low level associate at a Venture capital firm or something like that (coming from SF and all that). I usually don’t fuck with people on planes, but because I was in such a god mood from my vacation I was actually looking forward to chatting him up to see if he’d give me a connect to some VC cash for some ideas I’ve been want to try out for a minute.
Anyway, I got settled in and immediately pulled out my ipad and started reading an ebook. I leaned into the window armrest with my body somewhat shielding the book so that nobody could accidentally get a peek at what I was reading (I was a little ashamed about the subject matter of the book (a story for another day), but about 10 minutes into the flight, I realized that I was feeling sleepy, so I stuck the ipad away in the seat pocket in front of me and proceeded to recline my seat and fall asleep … in so doing I put my arm on the armrest that was supposed to be shared by me and my seat row-mate.
Right when this occurred, the guy had gotten up to tend to something in his luggage, and when he returned, even though I wasn’t looking at him, I could tell something was wrong … he paused, and let out a breath before finally seating back down beside me.
Almost immediately, it began …
He started jostling my elbow with his elbow, putting it in front, behind and even on top of my elbow and letting it just sit there. I kid you not.
Now … most of you know the delicate art of negotiating the arm rest, women will usually just let you have it, guys kinda negotiate non-verbally by figuring out position, or size (the bigger meaner guy will sometimes call it, and you just have adjust to that). but the rule is, you can’t take up the entire arm rest, because that’s what a dick does, and usually nobody wants to be a dick … even on a flight where nobody knows who you are. But the even bigger unspoken rule is that you don’t touch the other person, for whatever reason …
So you can imagine my shock at what wannabe-VC-guy was doing.
At first I thought … “okay, maybe hes just figuring out what to do”.
So I scoot my elbow back on the arm rest so he has tons of space in front to lean in and read the BBC News on this Microsoft Tablet PC. But this doesn’t make things better for him, he keeps on with the fidgeting and jostling … and after about 5 minutes of this crap, I want to turn to him and say something. But if you know me, you know how fed up I’m becoming with people in Austin. I decide I’m going to see how long he’s going to keep this up before some shit goes down.
I’m about twice his size so its going to take an act of god for him to knock my arm off that rest once I set my mind to it. and thats what I do. I pretend to fall asleep but jam my arm as far back into the seat as it will go on the armrest and keep an eye on dude to make sure he can’t surprise me.
Do you believe he keeps this up for 3 hours?!?!?
Not only that … but he tries different strategies. First he tries to slowly nudge my arm off the arm rest when he thinks I’m asleep (I’m only half asleep, because I’m the special kind of guy who will help you prove a point if thats what needs doing).
Next he pretends to get up to rummage in his luggage and on dropping down into his seat, he aims soft but firm blows at my arm using his momentum dropping into his seat. The plan being that he can exert more force dropping from standing to sitting (remember your physics, potential energy … kinetic energy … gravitational acceleration … all that jazz), to knock my arm off the arm rest when he thinks I’m asleep than he can just sitting next to me. He does this 2-3 times, and the last couple of times, I smile broadly even in my fake-sleep.
I want him to know that I *know* what he’s doing.
Finally, he makes another trip to his luggage in the overhead compartment (trip number 4-5), and pulls out an ipad or something like it. He then wedges it in his seat right up against my elbow and proceeds to jam his elbow up against the ipad and use it as some sort of force multiplier to push my elbow off the rest. He does this a couple of times, then drops all pretenses and starts repeatedly jamming his elbow into the pad, like the way an MMA fighter would elbow an opponents head. I turn to him and smile, then I turn back to “sleep” again.
This is apparently the last straw for our hero, because now he leans forward to make sure I see his face and says
"Excuse me … do you need the armrest?"
to which I immediately wake from my mock slumber, turn to him and respond with a smile.
"Not at all. Do YOU need the armrest?"
he fumbles a little bit, like he’s not sure what to say, then he goes
"No? … I’m sorry … I don’t want to be rude bu …"
I cut him off, staring him dead in his eyes
"but you were … being rude, that is"
"I’m sorry? wha …"
"You’ve been trying to knock my arm off this arm rest for 3 hours"
He doesn’t deny or apologize, and says
"Well I don’t need the armrest, I just need space to move my arms back there", he motions to the space around where my elbow resides at the junction where the armrest meets the seat.
again I cut him off, still staring at him intently with a bit of a smile/snarl, because I honestly want to slap him.
"Thats perfectly fine … but you could have told me that … 3 Hours ago"
he falls silent but is still glaring at me.
I glare back, then finally smile and say
"you can have it. I didn’t need it"
then I pull my ipad back out and continue reading my book.
I can feel him boring holes in the back of my head for five minutes after that.
Its been 3 hours and 10 minutes of this nonsense, and its had put me in a foul mood and ruined the end of my vacation a little bit.
About 15 minutes later we touch down. He storms off the plane without a word.
I step off the plane and come to the realization that I’m completely over this city.
I had a Tesla. I was one of the first cats with a Tesla. I think I was, like, number five on the list. But I’m telling you, I’ve been on the side of the road a while in that thing. And I said to them, ‘Look, guys, why am I always stuck on the side of the fucking road? Make it work, one way or another.’
Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Give a man religion and he will starve to death while praying for fish.
Pessimists are more often right, but optimists are more often successful.
But that can make it seem like segregation now is all about poverty rather than race, and it’s not. The average African-American household making $75,000 a year or more, that family lives in a poorer neighborhood than the average white family making less than $40,000 a year. That is, a black family making twice as much money as a white family probably still lives in a poorer neighborhood. That’s according to a study from Brown University. Racial segregation and not just people’s income is key to understanding where people live and why, though I’m not sure we’re facing the reality of that today.
Even if I should become convinced, and I don’t think it would be possible to convince me -
that forced integration of education and housing was in the best interests of blacks and not too detrimental to whites I could not possible support it in good conscience”
“I realize that this position will lead us to a situation where in which blacks will continue to live, for the most part, in black neighborhoods, and where there will predominantly blacks schools and predominantly white schools