Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bag Salmon

By now, I've gotten pretty good at gauging whether a bag being brought on board by a passenger is going to fit in the overhead bins. Even if a bag is right at the threshold, you can still usually work it in depending on your technique. But some of them are just way too ridiculous, amounting to trying to plug a Scottish caber into an electrical socket. And the passengers with these refrigerator-sized bags always say the same thing: "It's all right, it'll fit."
I explain that no, it totally won't fit.
"It fit on the last plane," they nod knowingly, as if there were absolutely no possibility that there is more than one make of plane out there.
"OK," I say, knowing what's going to happen. "Try it and see." What's going to happen is that they're going to become a Bag Salmon.
I can't explain the transformation process, because I'm always stuck in the front and have never seen it occur. Perhaps if I saw the passenger's facial expressions, I could hazard a guess as to what's going on in their head. I always imagine that they get there, try to stuff the bag in unsuccessfully, then say aloud, "Well, I'll be. I'm wrong as all hell. That incredibly handsome boy with the keen new blazer was right!" Well, whatever happens back there, up where I am, it's always the same... the line of passengers entering the plane slowly grinds to a halt. They begin to shift uncomfortably. One clever wit says, "REVERSE!" And after a few moments of watching the passengers backpedal all over the galley trying to find a space in which to exist, I see the cause; it's the knowing passenger with the refrigerator, clawing his way past and over everyone in the aisle to bring me his bag, right then and there. He has now fully become a Bag Salmon.
"Uh, this bag won't fit," he says, in a tone of voice that suggests we have never spoken before. I try vainly to grab the bag, which is difficult, because both my elbows have been forced together next to my chin by the guy stuffed on top of me. And then he calmly and obliviously marches back to his seat, having no idea that he has just made intimate friends out of between seven and ten total strangers.
Like I said, I'm not sure what happens during the Bag Salmon transformation. I'm not sure what makes someone think that, instead of sitting down and holding on to your oversized bag for three minutes until everyone's on board, it would be better to halt all forward progress and make a spectacle of yourself by plunging against traffic and all common sense to get your individual bag issue taken care of right now. I can only surmise that it's not caused only by bags. There are such things as Trash Salmon, who bludgeon their way forward to announce that there was a cookie wrapper in their seat and would I throw it away for them. There are also Seat Switch Salmon, who need my help to figure out that if there is someone in their seat, and an empty seat in the next row, that they should carpe the diem. And there are also I Forgot My Inconsequential Item Salmon, who throw a monkey into the wrench getting up to me to exclaim that they left their OK! Magazine in the bag they just left outside, and can they go get it.
It's always wonderful to have to opportunity to see how different people behave when they believe they are behaving normally.


Blogger AkuTyger said...

I have been this person! Sort of. Actually, I was the person with the back breaking too heavy carry on that no one bothered to weigh and find that it was well over 40 pounds, who then consequentially missed the announcement that my section was boarding and had to board later and then didn't find any space for my overly heavy back to fit and had to tow it back up to the front to figure out what to do with it. To my credit, there was no space for me to go with my heavy bag and it sat there in the aisle until two (yes, it took two) FAs were able to find an empty spot halfway up they plane and cram it in. Ahhhhh, such memories of my move down here.

11:03 AM  
Blogger nicardo1 said...

Ah, yes. Another one of the many, many joys of the profession. The majority will behave normally, but it only takes the one with the Abby Normal brain to muck things up for at least a dozen or more innocent victims at a time, without a clue. (Equally enjoyable is the challenge of satisfactorily answering the question of a person who does not know what they're talking about.) I don't think salmon are known for their high IQs. We all encounter such folk in our workdays. I commend you sir, on your patience under the added stress of the high-speed travel environment.

8:04 PM  

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