Creatures of the Air – No.1: The Armrest Hog

7 07 2008

Warthog

“I think you dropped something” (Samburu, Kenya)

 

Identifiable as that most reprehensible of airborne creatures, the Armrest Hog monopolises the padded divide between two airline seats.

 

Etiquette dictates that the armrest is common territory to be shared equally between two travellers. This is done without spoken word or acknowledgement. The general approach is for one person to rest their elbow on the aft of the armrest whilst the other places their arm on the fore, furthest away. This enables both parties to rest their appendages without impeding the other.

 

If either traveller has a physical necessity to occupy more than their allotted seat, there will be an imperceptible negotiation that may result in one – or both – individuals shifting towards the armrest on the opposite side thereby relinquishing the common divide altogether. If experienced, the armrest can be shared equally down the centre – although this engenders the considerable risk of physical contact. Should this happen, it is imperative that the offending arms be promptly yet subtly slid apart – so as to avoid bringing attention to the intimacy.

 

If contact is made, under no circumstances should eye contact ever occur.

 

The Armrest Hog, however, seizes the entire armrest either from the onset, or worse yet, as soon as their neighbour’s attention is diverted elsewhere. Once dug-in, not only does their arm occupy the entire median but in many cases their elbow also abuts into their neighbour’s personal domain. These invasive beasts have been known to employ devious tactics in their conquest, such as suggesting that their neighbour has dropped something on the floor. Once relinquished, the armrest is immediately and irrevocably seized.

 

Historically, if encountered in their natural domain, the Armrest Hog could be repelled by subtly poking with the sharp blade of a Swiss Army knife, pinching with nail-clippers or administering an electric shock with two large batteries and a length of copper wire. However, these effective measures have recently been curtailed due to increased airport security.

 

Today, the removal of an Armrest Hog takes greater imagination. If distraction does not work, it is now considered de rigeur to introduce laxatives to the offender’s beverage when they are not looking. Once they have removed themselves to the facilities, the entitled portion of the armrest may once again be occupied by the co-tenant

Photo and post by: Simon Vaughan © 2008

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