Friday, October 7, 2011

On the road again: I can't tell you, day 3

I didn't kill anyone during today's travels. I didn't even hit anyone.

But, man, I had some close calls.

On the first flight, a regional commuter prop plane, I had the aisle seat. Next to me was a small guy, maybe 5'3" and a buck thirty. I was in place when he arrived, so I got up and let him in. He put his bag on my seat and kept it there while he got comfortable--leaving me blocking all the other people trying to board. When I asked him to move it, he said he would when he was ready.

That should have been my cue to toss him off the plane headfirst onto the tarmac.

Eventually, he put the bag under the seat in front of him, and I sat. He immediately put his arm on the armrest and elbowed me in the side.

I shot him a dirty look.

He pulled back the elbow until I faced front. Then, he elbowed me again.

This continued for two hours. When I couldn't take it, I'd put my arm on the armrest and push back until I shoved his out of the way. I'd then look at him, look at the armrest, and pull my arm to my side.

He'd immediately elbow me again.

After fifteen minutes of this, I honestly did not trust myself to speak. I was so angry that I was afraid of what I would do if I opened the gates to my rage even the tiniest bit. If you don't have PTSD, maybe this level of anger doesn't make sense to you, but it's completely normal in my world.

On the way off the plane, a blond woman blocked the doorway to the airport terminal as she brushed her hair.

I asked her to move. Many of the people behind me murmured assent.

She said she'd move when she was done, which she did.

As I entered the terminal, I stepped to the side and over to a wall so I could regain self-control.

A brunette woman shoved her rolling bag into my shins and said, "Move back so I have room."

I don't know what expression crossed my face, but I do know that when she glanced up at me, she turned white and almost ran away.

On the way up some stairs, a thickset blond woman stopped short, causing me to have to do the same, then looked over her shoulders and swung her hard-shell bag into my legs. "Don't crowd me!" she said.

I walked to the nearest stretch of open wall, stood, and worked to control my breathing.

Many people live in a different world than I do. They live in a world where they can hit others without consequence, where their rudeness goes unpunished. I'm glad that's their world, because it means they haven't experienced the violence I have.

Sometimes, though, times like today, I wish they could for a moment understand that there is another world, that some of us live in that world, and that in this far darker world they pick the wrong person to abuse and that person hits back, probably harder than is necessary.

I'm glad I didn't expose them to that world today, but maintaining self-control was both a higher cost than I wish I'd had to pay and a greater risk for them than they knew they were taking.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

There is only one word for people that feel the world revolves around them. Assholes. Sorry for your lousy travel.

Anonymous said...

In hindsight it was probably a very good idea to practice the self control that you did. Those self centered "ASSHOLES" would not have been worth the trouble of lashing out or the misery you would have felt afterwards. Rest assured, their day will come and they will get theirs. Hopefully today is better.....All the best......Chris.....

Mark said...

Thanks, Michelle.

Chris, of course you're right, and I'm glad I stayed under control, but it made for a very unpleasant day.

John Lambshead said...

I recommend sertraline. Great for showing the absurdity of life. It's not what happens but how you feel about it. Don't get angry get amused. I also have PTSS.

J. Griffin Barber said...

I can hardly respond to this without profanity, though I now suspect you were in California.

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